2016 Atlanta Falcons in Review: Top players of the year

There have been quite a few standout players for the Atlanta Falcons this season. Today’s review takes a look at my picks for top players in 2016.

I found this topic to be the most difficult in reviewing the Atlanta Falcons season. It seems to me that every player that has stepped up to get the Falcons 11 wins in 2016. Deciphering who made the bigger and better impacts remains challenging. The Falcons have just been downright in a groove from the outset of the season and it’s been a sight for sore eyes.

After much deliberation, here goes my list of top Atlanta Falcons for 2016.

Matt Ryan

“Matty Ice” is my pick for NFL Most Valuable Player, making him the obvious choice for Falcons top player. His play on the field this season has been incredible. The Boston College alum enjoyed the best season of his career and is in position to lead Atlanta deep into the playoffs.

Ice dished out 38 touchdowns to only seven interceptions

His numbers are ridiculous. Matt Ryan finished the regular season with a league-leading 117.1 QB rating and 4,944 passing yards. In addition to those gaudy numbers, Ice dished out 38 touchdowns to only seven interceptions. He has been in control of his offensive machine all season and shows no signs of him slowing down in the postseason.

Vic Beasley Jr.

Not to be outdone, Vic Beasley has made himself a household name in the NFL this year. He lead the league in sacks with 15.5 and tied Bruce Irvin (6) for most fumbles forced. He has been Atlanta’s best defensive player and provides a pressure dynamic Falcons’ fans haven’t experienced since John Abraham.

If Vic can continue his disruption of opposing quarterbacks, we might have a defensive end win the Super Bowl MVP for the second year in a row.

Alex Mack

What has been criminally understated about this year’s team is the play of the offensive line. Just a few short years ago, this was the Atlanta Falcons’ biggest weakness. Thomas Dimitroff took notice and paid the big bucks to get Alex Mack as offensive line anchor. Mack’s impact has been astounding.

The Falcons’ fortified offensive line has become a legitimate strength of the team. We’ve seen time and again how elite the offense is when Matt Ryan has time to throw and Devonta Freeman has running lanes. Credit Alex Mack for being at the center of it all and serving as nucleus.

Keanu Neal

The final spot on my top players review was the toughest. I waffled between Julio Jones and others, finally deciding on the rookie safety out of Florida. Keanu “The Matrix” Neal, (just made that up), has been the enforcer of a defensive secondary that was in desperate need of one. The Atlanta Falcons’ defense has been so much better since Neal arrived and continues to get better as he get better. It’s this type of immediate impact I feel warrants him a top player nod.

Keanu is second only to Deion Jones with 106 tackles for the season. Most of those tackles were been brutal, bone crushing hits too. Dan Quinn has found his own Kam Chancellor in Neal, and that’s huge for the franchise going forward.

I never would’ve imagined the Falcons would be where they are, not even while publishing my mid-season article that highlighted some best plays and players. The Falcons have been good enough to leave us optimistic, but yet shown enough flaws to keep us grounded. Plenty of haters linger, but Atlanta is well on pace for a trip to Houston.

Join me tomorrow as a I review the Atlanta Falcons best games of 2016.

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