Yesterday, the NFL had some more sports news for us, as the official 2020 schedule was released. We already knew who the Falcons were going to play, and no matter when the league decided to match them up, they were always going to have one of the most challenging paths to the playoffs. Here’s a look:
We're ready for football. pic.twitter.com/UOYRXywiRf
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) May 8, 2020
Let’s begin with the number of primetime games Atlanta will be featured in — two. They play the Packers at Lambeau on Monday Night Football and face the Panthers for the second time on Thursday Night Football in Week 8. It’s a little bit disappointing and almost surprising one of the games against the Buccaneers or Saints wasn’t slated as a primetime contest, but that is what happens when you’re coming off back-to-back 7-9 campaigns.
As far as the actual schedule is concerned, I notice two things: the beginning and the end will decide whether the Falcons return to the playoffs for the first time since 2017. The Seahawks, Cowboys, and Packers all have Super Bowl aspirations, with Seattle being my early favorite to come out of the NFC. Atlanta will have to make the most of Weeks 5-9 because after that, the schedule is brutal.
In Week 11, the Falcons have their first matchup against the Saints, and they play them twice over a three week period, with the Las Vegas Raiders sandwiched in between. Then Atlanta wraps up their season with the Chargers, Bucs, Chiefs, and Bucs again. We will see how good the Chargers end up being (I expect them to be much improved). However, those last three games might decide the Falcons season, as they play two of the early Super Bowl favorites three weeks in a row. Hopefully, the Falcons are in a favorable spot going into that stretch, or the playoffs don’t seem likely.