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.
Here’s a game-by-game breakdown of the Falcons’ 2021 opponents:
2021 home games
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 – 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.
(One home game will be at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London)
2021 away games
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Bow Tie Chronicles