Falcons’ 2021 opponents: Breaking down schedule

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) celebrates his score against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (Jason Behnken/AP)
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) celebrates his score against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (Jason Behnken/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Here’s a game-by-game breakdown of the Falcons’ 2021 opponents:

ExploreHow to watch, listen, stream Falcons’ 2021 schedule

2021 Home games

WashingtonPatriotsJets (in London) • EaglesLionsBucsSaintsPanthers

Away: 49ersBillsCowboysDolphinsGiantsBucsSaintsPanthersJaguars

Washington Football Team quarterback Kyle Allen (8) looks down fielding before passing the ball against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Landover, Md. (Al Drago/AP)
Washington Football Team quarterback Kyle Allen (8) looks down fielding before passing the ball against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Landover, Md. (Al Drago/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Washington - The skinny: Washington, powered by a strong defense, went 7-9 last season, won the NFC East and went to the playoffs. The Washington Football Team lost to 31-23 to Tampa Bay in the wild-card round. Last meeting: The Falcons won 38-14 on Nov. 4, 2018, at FedEx Field. Series record: The Washington Football Team leads the series 15-10-1, including 1-0 in the playoffs.

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton calls signals at the line of scrimmage against the New York Jets, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. (Charles Krupa/AP)
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton calls signals at the line of scrimmage against the New York Jets, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Patriots - The skinny: The Patriots, who tried to transition away from Tom Brady last season, finished 7-9 and did not make the playoffs. Quarterback Cam Newton was re-signed, and the Patriots drafted former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones. Last meeting: The Patriots won 23-7 on Oct. 22, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots have won the past six meetings, including the Falcons’ historic collapse in Super Bowl LI. The Falcons have not beaten the Patriots since a 41-10 win Nov. 8, 1998. Series record: Patriots lead 8-6 in the regular season and 1-0 in the playoffs.

New York Jets first-round draft pick Zach Wilson works out during  rookie camp, Friday, May 7, 2021, in Florham Park, N.J. (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets first-round draft pick Zach Wilson works out during rookie camp, Friday, May 7, 2021, in Florham Park, N.J. (Bill Kostroun/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Jets - The skinny: The Jets are in perpetual rebuilding mode. They traded quarterback Sam Darnold and drafted Zach Wilson second overall. The Jets went 2-14 last season and finished in last place in the AFC East. Last meeting: The Falcons won 25-20 on Oct. 25, 2017, at MetLife Stadium. Series record: Falcons lead the series 7-5.

ExploreFalcons to face Jets in London
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) runs against the Washington Football Team, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Philadelphia. (Chris Szagola/AP)
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) runs against the Washington Football Team, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Philadelphia. (Chris Szagola/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Eagles – The skinny: The Eagles moved on from quarterback Carson Wentz after finishing 4-11-1 and in last place in the NFC East. Former Oklahoma and Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts is set to take over at quarterback. Last meeting: The Falcons scored on a late screen pass to Julio Jones from 54 yards out to pull off a 24-20 victory on Sept. 15, 2019, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Series record: Eagles lead the series 20-15-1, including 3-1 in the playoffs.

ExploreFalcons open 2021 season at home against Eagles
Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift (32) rushes-behind blocker offensive guard Jonah Jackson (73) in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings Saturday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Detroit. (Rick Osentoski/AP)
Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift (32) rushes-behind blocker offensive guard Jonah Jackson (73) in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings Saturday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Detroit. (Rick Osentoski/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Lions – The skinny: The Lions moved on from former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford after going 5-11 and finishing in last place in the NFC North. He was traded to the Rams for quarterback Jared Goff. New coach Dave “Coach Knee Caps” Campbell promises a new and rugged brand of Lions’ football. Last meeting: The Lions won 23-22 on Oct. 25, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Series record: The Lions lead 25-13.

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady throws under pressure from the Falcons during a fourth quarter Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)
Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady throws under pressure from the Falcons during a fourth quarter Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Bucs – The skinny: The defending Super Bowl champs have a stout defensive front and the greatest quarterback of the NFL’s modern era in Tom Brady. Last meeting: The Bucs plastered the Falcons 44-27 on Jan. 3, 2021, at Raymond James Stadium in a tune-up game for the playoffs. Series record: The Falcons lead the series 28-27.

New Orleans Saints defenders defend a Hail Mary pass to Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones in the end zone as time expires Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)
New Orleans Saints defenders defend a Hail Mary pass to Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones in the end zone as time expires Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Saints – The skinny: The Drew Brees era is over as the Saints will try to go for a “5-peat” in the NFC South. They finished 12-4 last season and appear content to go with Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston at quarterback. They lost to the Bucs 30-20 in the divisional round of the playoffs. Last meeting: The Saints won 21-16 on Dec. 6, 2020. Series record: The Falcons lead the series 52-51 in the regular season and 1-0 in the playoffs.

Panthers safety Juston Burris (left) celebrates with teammates cornerback Troy Pride Jr. (25) and safety Tre Boston after intercepting a pass intended for Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage (83, right) in the fourth quarter Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Falcons lost 23-16 to go 0-5 on the season. (Jason Getz/For the AJC)
Panthers safety Juston Burris (left) celebrates with teammates cornerback Troy Pride Jr. (25) and safety Tre Boston after intercepting a pass intended for Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage (83, right) in the fourth quarter Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Falcons lost 23-16 to go 0-5 on the season. (Jason Getz/For the AJC)

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Panthers – The skinny: The Panthers moved on from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater after one season and traded for Sam Darnold, who went 13-25 as a starter for the Jets over three seasons. Running back Christian McCaffrey is expected back from injury after playing only three games in 2020. Last meeting: The Falcons won 25-17 on Oct. 29, 2020, at Bank of America Stadium. Series record: The Falcons lead 33-19.

2021 Away games

49ersBillsCowboysDolphinsGiantsBucsSaintsPanthersJaguars

Home: WashingtonPatriotsJets (in London) • EaglesLionsBucsSaintsPanthers

San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan stands on the sideline during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Seattle. (Scott Eklund/AP)
San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan stands on the sideline during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Seattle. (Scott Eklund/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

49ers - The skinny: San Francisco went from NFC champions to last place in the NFC West last season as they finished 6-10. Their season was marred by injuries to several top players including tight end George Kittles, who only played in eight games. Last meeting: The Falcons won 29-22 on Dec. 15, 2019. Series record: 49ers lead the series 46-31-1 in the regular season. The series is tied 1-1 in the playoffs.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen throws a pass during the second half of the AFC championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs  Jan. 24, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo.  (Charlie Riedel/AP)
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen throws a pass during the second half of the AFC championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs Jan. 24, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Bills - The skinny: After decades of futility, the Bills have returned to superpower status. They went 13-3 last season and reached the AFC Championship game behind quarterback Josh Allen. The last meeting: Tight end Charles Clay got loose for five catches and 112 yards as the Bills won 23-17 on Oct. 1, 2017, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The series: The Falcons lead 7-5.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott reacts to scoring a touchdown on a quarterback keeper past Falcons safety Damontae Kazee for a 12-9 lead during the fourth quarter Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Atlanta. Dallas beat the Falcons 22-19.  (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott reacts to scoring a touchdown on a quarterback keeper past Falcons safety Damontae Kazee for a 12-9 lead during the fourth quarter Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Atlanta. Dallas beat the Falcons 22-19. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Cowboys – The skinny: Former Falcons coach Dan Quinn is Dallas’ new defensive coordinator. He has former Falcons Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee on the roster. The last meeting: The Falcons blew a 29-10 lead and lost 40-39 after they stood and watched the Cowboys recover an onside kick Sept. 20, 2020. The series: The Cowboys lead 18-11, including 2-0 in the playoffs.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) runs the ball in the second half against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (Adrian Kraus/AP)
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) runs the ball in the second half against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (Adrian Kraus/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Dolphins – The skinny: The Dolphins went 10-6 last season and have handed the keys to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The last meeting: Miami won 20-17 on Oct. 15, 2017. The series: The Dolphins lead 9-4.

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) signals for protection against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (Adam Hunger/AP)
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) signals for protection against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (Adam Hunger/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Giants – The skinny: The Giants, who feature quarterback Daniel Jones, went 6-10 last season. The last meeting: The Falcons won 23-20 on Oct. 22, 2018. The series: The Falcons lead 13-12 overall. The Giants are 1-0 in the playoffs.

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer addresses the crowd, backed by offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell (left) and assistant head coach Charlie Strong, during an NFL draft party Thursday, April 29, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union)
Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer addresses the crowd, backed by offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell (left) and assistant head coach Charlie Strong, during an NFL draft party Thursday, April 29, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union)

Credit: The Florida Times-Union

Credit: The Florida Times-Union

Jaguars – The skinny: Former college coach Urban Meyer and former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence are hoping to turn things around after a 1-15 season. The last meeting: The Falcons won 24-12 on Dec. 22, 2019. The series: The Falcons lead 4-3.

Bucs – NFC South Divisional foe.

Saints – NFC South Divisional foe.

Panthers --NFC South Divisional foe.

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