Biggest takeaways, top storylines of Atlanta Falcons 2024 schedule

NFL: NOV 26 Saints at Falcons

The Falcons’ 2024 schedule was released last week. Here is the entire Falcons 2024 schedule as well as some takeaways and storylines that I noticed.

Falcons 2024 schedule

Week 1: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 2: @ Philadelphia Eagles, Monday Night Football
Week 3: vs. Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday Night Football
Week 4: vs. New Orleans Saints
Week 5: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Thursday Night Football
Week 6: @ Carolina Panthers
Week 7: vs. Seattle Seahawks
Week 8: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 9: vs. Dallas Cowboys
Week 10: @ New Orleans Saints
Week 11: @ Denver Broncos
Week 12: BYE WEEK
Week 13: vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Week 14: @ Minnesota Vikings
Week 15: @ Las Vegas Raiders, Monday Night Football
Week 16: vs. New York Giants
Week 17: @ Washington Commanders
Week 18: vs. Carolina Panthers

Arthur Smith’s Return to Atlanta

Less than a calendar year after the Falcons fired Arthur Smith, he will return to Atlanta to face his former team as the Steelers offensive coordinator in the season opener. Some Falcons fans are just writing this one off as a victory, and they shouldn’t be.

No Mike Tomlin team is ever going to be a ‘gimme’ win, especially with Steelers players wanting to get their new offensive coordinator a victory against his former team. Pittsburgh fans travel as well as any, so there will be a lot of black and gold in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

A difficult defense also awaits Kirk Cousins, Zac Robinson and the Falcons offense. There’s a lot to be excited about this season, but it doesn’t start off easy with the Steelers or the next two games.

Battle Tested Early; Potential Quarterback Controversy

Not only are the Steelers a difficult matchup, but the Falcons will face the Eagles and Chiefs in the following two weeks. Three playoff teams, including the reigning Super Bowl champions in the first three weeks of the season, is one hell of a battle test for a Falcons team that has a new quarterback and new head coach with postseason aspirations, which makes way for the second part of this one.

If the Falcons, god forbid, lose their first three games, which is certainly possible, there will be noise surrounding Atlanta’s quarterback duo of Kirk Cousins and Michael Penix Jr, and a potential change. Raheem Morris and Terry Fontenot can stand at the podium and say that Cousins has nothing to worry about after a losing streak and/or a couple of stinkers, but that won’t stop the outside noise from the media and fans clamoring to see Penix.

Primetime Primetime Primetime Primetime

After having one primetime game each season under Arthur Smith, Raheem Morris and the Falcons get four primetime games in 2024. So, here’s the breakdown, which includes two Monday Night Football matchups, one Thursday night and a Sunday night against Taylor Swift:

  • Monday, Sept. 16: Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles, 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • Sunday, Sept. 22: Atlanta Falcons vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC
  • Thursday, Oct. 3: Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8:15 p.m. ET on Prime Video
  • Monday, Dec. 16: Atlanta Falcons at Las Vegas Raiders, 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

The last time the Falcons played on MNF was in 2020 when they lost to the Packers. It’s been a long time coming, and Kirk Cousins has a lot to do with that.  The veteran quarterback is bringing the Falcons back to the light, but his record (12-19) in primetime games isn’t great.

NFC South Decided Before Bye Week?

Unlike in years past, the Falcons will play most of their division games in the first half of the season; in fact, the NFC South could be decided before the Falcons’ Week 12 Bye. They’ll face division foes three consecutive weeks starting in Week 4, as well as a Thursday Night Football date with the Buccaneers. The Falcons will finish the season against the Panthers at home, but if it comes down to that game, something would’ve gone very wrong for Atlanta.

Rookie Quarterbacks

The Falcons are going to get to face three of the 2024 NFL Draft’s rookie class’ six quarterbacks. Morris’ team will have road games against the Commanders (Jayden Daniels), Broncos (Bo Nix) and Vikings (J.J. McCarthy).

Postseason Tune-Up Games

While the Falcons start with a gauntlet against the Steelers, Eagles, and Chiefs, they end with a few tune-up games against lesser competition before the postseason against the Raiders, Giants, Commanders, and Panthers. In the NFL, it’s not about how you play in September but rather how you’re playing in December and January before the playoffs.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots were the perfect example of that, and the Chiefs were a more recent example. Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid‘s team played average football for 75% of the season until it mattered most. The Falcons are expected to make the playoffs this year and playing your best ball at the end of the season is the most important thing, and lesser competition will certainly help in that department.

What are your biggest takeaways from the Falcons 2024 schedule release?

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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