Falcons’ Arthur Smith given second-best odds of first-year coaches

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The Falcons were among seven NFL teams to change head coaches after the 2020 season. After Atlanta’s 0-5 start, team owner Arthur Blank dismissed Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, naming Raheem Morris as interim coach.

Morris would go 4-7 over the final 11 games of the year, which wasn’t enough to secure the job long term. Instead, the Falcons hired former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. Of the seven teams to hire new coaches, the Chargers and Jets were the only two teams to not hire an offensive-minded candidate.

Here are the current betting odds for each of the new head coaches in 2021. All numbers are courtesy of BetMGM.

Team

Projected Wins

O/U Win Projection

Playoff projection

Chargers

10

Over: 9, -115

No, -185

Falcons

8

Over: 7.5, -145

No, -250

Eagles

7

Over: 6.5, -150

No, -300

Jaguars

7

Over: 6.5, -120

No, -350

Jets

6

Push: 6, -/+110

No, -700

Lions

5

Push: 5, -/+110

No, -700

Texans

4

Push: 4, -/+110

No, -650

As those numbers show, the Falcons have the second-most favorable odds in win total and playoff projection. Atlanta is given a 59.1 percent chance of getting eight or more wins in 2021.

Since the 2018 season concluded, there have been 20 head-coaching changes. Over that span, the Giants, Cardinals and Browns have chanced coaches twice. Of the 20 coaching changes, eight of the teams saw a regression or no change in win total the following season.

Year

AVG Wins Prior

AVG Wins Season Of

Difference

2018

6.29

7.00

0.71

2019

5.50

6.25

0.75

2020

5.20

7.00

1.80

2021

3.86

6.71 (projection)

2.86 (projection)

There is an incremental uptick in seasonal performance, but this also comes with outliers on the high and low ends. In 2018, the Packers’ 13-win season was countered by the Bengals’ two-win season. In 2019, we saw double-digit wins by the Colts and Bears, while the Cardinals and Raiders won three and four games respectively. The 2020 season only really had one outlier, but the Browns’ 11-win season was nearly double the average of the other four teams.

So what should we expect from Smith’s team this year? Atlanta will face off against four of the seven teams with new head coaches in 2021 and all four times, the Falcons are likely to be favored.

Make sure to check out our game-by-game score predictions for the 2021 season.

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