Initial reaction to the Falcons schedule


In case you missed it, the Falcons schedule was released last night.

The Falcons open with the Eagles, which I believe is a nice break. Jalen Hurts will be making his first start in a brand new offensive system. That’s never easy, and it’s also only Hurts’ third start of his career. Dean Pees should be able to scheme up plenty of looks to stop Philadelphia’s offense.

Week 2 features a matchup with the defending Super Bowl champions on the road. That will be a tough one to pull out, but the following stretch of games are very winnable. The Giants and Redskins aren’t exactly world-beaters. The Falcons then travel to London for a “home” game against the Jets. I hate how Atlanta has to play a “home” game across the pond, but at least it is against one of the worst teams in football — another break for the Falcons. The Falcons then have a bye week and play at Miami. The Dolphins have a lot of talent, but we still don’t know if Tua has what it takes to lead a franchise. Their last game of this winnable stretch comes against the Panthers at home. However, Carolina could be a much-improved team with Sam Darnold under center.

The Falcons’ first game against their arch-rivals comes in Week 9 in New Orleans. They also end the season with the Saints at home in a game that could have significant playoff implications.

The second half of the season is littered with tough matchups. Besides New Orleans, Atlanta has to play Dallas, New England, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, and Buffalo. That last one is especially interesting. The Falcons will travel to Buffalo on the day after New Year’s. I expect that to be a game played well below freezing, and Bills Mafia will be in full force following a holiday — definitely not a good break for the Falcons.

Atlanta’s only primetime game is against the Patriots on Thursday Night Football. For the first time since 2008, they do not have a Sunday or Monday Night Football game. I guess that’s what happens when you go 4-12.

On paper, the Falcons have a pretty manageable schedule, but things rarely turn out the way people expect in the NFL. By Week 9, we could be looking at teams like Carolina and Miami as powerhouses, while San Francisco is 2-7. Several teams make monumental jumps every year, and injuries always play a critical factor. So it’s best not to put too much weight into the schedule now because everything we think we know is going to change in five months.

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