1-1, 1st NFC South
Keanu Neal - The Atlanta Falcons seemingly have one of these injuries every year, and Keanu Neal is 2018’s victim. He was headed for his third year, and had surpassed over 100 total tackles in his first two seasons. This is going to be a small hit for Atlanta, as their depth could carry them still. Neal tore his ACL in the second half of Week 1’s game against Philly. Damontae Kazee is the likely fill-in, and Atlanta’s above average corners will help ease this scenario. If any more injuries occur, then things will start to change for the Atlanta Falcons.
It is hard to argue for anyone other than Michael Vick as the face of a franchise for Atlanta, even till this day he is the athlete that pops into our mind. Going back to the early 2000’s, Michael Vick broke his leg in preseason, which set the tone for that year. When you have the most dynamic running quarterback in history, you do not want these things to happen. Vick had battled hamstring and other minor injuries throughout his career, but the big one was the leg break. As mentioned with Neal, these injuries to top studs on the defensive side continue to happen on a yearly basis. Desmond Trufant had a pectoral injury that needed season-ending surgery. This happened in the middle of the season, which hurt Atlanta’s chance. Trufant was and continues to be a big part of that secondary, and he can take away an entire side of the field at times. Sam Baker was a highly paid offensive line, and had been dealing with multiple injuries in his career. The torn patella tendon was the bigger one. He was a first round pick, and had some stellar seasons. Any time you start losing offensive linemen for entire seasons, it can derail an offense. We have seen it time and time again. Atlanta has had a decent line over the last decade or so, but Baker was a hit when it happened. Kroy Biermann tore his Achilles tendon back in 2013, which was a tough blow to the defense. Biermann tried to return and get his career back on track, but failed to do so. The torn Achilles for any athlete is going to be trouble to come back from, especially given you are pushing off over half the time. Biermann tends to be best known for his wife these days, as looking up this injury led to some gossip website letting us know about the injury. Bradie Ewing was drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 draft, and played his ball out of Wisconsin. While fullback isn’t the sexiest position on the board, his time was limited in Atlanta. They were the team who drafted him, but his tore his ACL against the New Orleans Saints. He was later claimed by the Jaguars, but then announced his retirement in 2015. It shows how tough it can be to survive in this league if you go down with an early, especially with all the turnover.