Falcons’ poor record vs. AFC could get tested early in 2020 schedule

The Falcons' opponents in 2020

Happy 2020 NFL schedule day!

The teams will announce their schedule on their websites at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and on league-owned NFL Network at 8 p.m.

Of course, with the coronavirus pandemic, the schedule could become a moot point in the coming weeks and greatly rearranged. But the NFL is trudging onward like the pandemic is going to just blow away in the wind.

The NFL has set protocols for reopening team facilities and has told the 32 teams to have them in place by May 15.

In a memo sent by commissioner Roger Goodell and obtained Wednesday night by The Associated Press, several phases of the protocols were laid out. The first phase to deal with the coronavirus pandemic would involve a limited number of non-player personnel, initially 50% of the non-player employees (up to a total of 75) on any single day, being approved to be at the facility. But state or local regulations could require a lower number.

Back to the schedule.

One of the best tidbits out there is that they schedule will feature NFC vs. AFC for the first four weeks starting Sept. 10, according to Seattle radio show host and Washington Post NFL columnist John Clayton.

That would not be good news for the Falcons, who have struggled (.333) against the AFC under coach Dan Quinn.

If the Falcons play the first four weeks against the AFC, they would open – in no particular order -- against Kansas City (away), Las Vegas (home), Los Angeles Chargers (away), and Denver (home).

The Falcons snapped a 1-10 streak against the AFC, since the Super Bowl collapse, with a win over Jacksonville last season.

They were 1-3 versus the AFC South last season. They had losses at the Colts and Texans and at home against the Titans.

They were 0-4 against the AFC North (at Cleveland and Pittsburgh and at home against Cincinnati and Baltimore) in 2018.

They were 1-3 against the AFC East in 2017. The Falcons had home losses to the Bills and Dolphins and a loss at the Patriots before beating the Jets on the road.

When asked about the record against the AFC last season before the Jacksonville game, Quinn called them “old wounds.”

For the record, the Falcons were 2-3 in 2016 against AFC teams, including in the Super Bowl. They won at Oakland (now Las Vegas), at Denver and lost to San Diego (now the Los Angeles Chargers) and Kansas City at home.

In 2015, the Falcons were 3-1 against the AFC South. The Falcons won against Houston, won at Tennessee, loss to the Colts and won at Jacksonville.

Overall, the Falcons are 7-14 (.333) against the AFC under Quinn.

The NFL plans to release a normal 17-week schedule, with a start date of Sept. 10 and an end date of Feb. 7 for the Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla., according to the league.

Here’s are the Falcons’ opponents for the 2020 season:

The away games will be at Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Carolina, Kansas City, the Los Angeles Chargers, Green Bay, Minnesota and Dallas.

In the home games, the Falcons will face the Buccaneers, Saints, Panthers, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Las Vegas and Seattle.

The Falcons, who have posted consecutive 7-9 seasons, will play teams from the NFC North and AFC West next season.

So, bring on the Super Bowl-champion Chiefs in the season opener.


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