Falcons to host champion Chiefs on Sunday night; full 2024 schedule released

Team has four prime-time games
Atlanta Falcons head coach Raheem Morris watches players run drills during an NFL football mini training camp practice on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Atlanta Falcons head coach Raheem Morris watches players run drills during an NFL football mini training camp practice on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

FLOWERY BRANCH -- In addition to a potential visit from Kansas City Chiefs super-fan Taylor Swift, the Falcons are set to have four prime-time games after not having one last season.

The Falcons’ full 2024 schedule, which features key dates for NFC South matchups and two appearances on Monday Night Football, was released by the NFL on Wednesday.

The Falcons, who do not have an international game this season, will play the Eagles and Raiders on “Monday Night Football” at Lincoln Financial Field and at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

The Falcons’ most recent prime-time game was at Carolina in 2022. Their most recent nationally televised game was against the Jaguars in London last season.

The Falcons four regular-season prime-time games mark their most in a season since 2017 when the club had five.

The Falcons have posted six consecutive losing seasons, but are considered favorites to win the NFC South Division after signing veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins in free agency.

Falcons coach Raheem Morris is fascinated with the uproar over the schedule release. “It’s always exciting just for the National Football League in general,” Morris said. “We’ve found a way to make another event.”

Cousins noted the Falcons will play both of his former teams on the road, Washington and Minnesota.

Cousins will make a return to Minnesota to face his old team on Dec. 8 in Week 14. He’ll also face his original team, Washington, in Week 17.

He’s ready for the homecoming games.

“It doesn’t change a whole lot for me whether I am playing them in late September, mid-October or early-November,” Cousins said. “It’s OK, let’s go play them.”

Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Kirk Cousins spoke to media after OTA practices Tuesday.

At the Cousins household, the schedule release is a big day. “To my wife (Julie) it’s a big deal,” Cousins said. “Church times. Babysitter times and travel and all of that. She’s planning on taking the boys to all of the away games this year. Which I said, ‘good luck.’ She wants to use it as an educational experience.

“So, she is going to take them everywhere. She can’t wait. She’s a planner. She can’t wait to get the schedule.”

“She keeps wondering if I’ve got any insight or details, and I’ve said no, I’ve got nothing,” Cousins said. “I said you’ll find out when everybody else finds out.”

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The Falcons will open the season at home against the Steelers on Sunday, Sept. 8 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Former Falcons coach Arthur Smith is the Steelers’ offensive coordinator.

After facing the Eagles, the Falcons will host the Chiefs on Week 3 in a Sunday night game and the Bucs in Week 5 for a Thursday night game. The Falcons are also set to play at the Saints on Nov. 10 (Week 10) and play at Washington in Week 17.

After playing four seasons in Chicago, Falcons wide receiver Darnell Mooney was watching for cold-weather games. “Denver late in the year, or Philly late in the year,” Mooney said. “We have those games. I’m definitely excited to see how the schedule pops out for sure.”

The league flexible scheduling rules will determine the dates and times of the Falcons’ games in Week 17 at Washington and Week 18 at home against the Panthers.

Here’s a look at the Falcons’ 2024 schedule:

Exhibition games

1 -- Aug. 9 at Dolphins, 7 p.m. Fox

2 -- Aug. 17 at Ravens, 12 p.m. Fox

3 --- Aug. 23 vs. Jaguars, 7 p.m. Fox

Regular season

> Week 1 – Sunday, Sept. 8, vs. Steelers, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: The Steelers have a new offensive coordinator by the name of Arthur Smith, the Falcons former head coach. The Steelers picked up quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Justin Fields over the offseason. The Steelers went 10-7 last season, but were knocked out in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Series record: The Steelers lead 15-2-1.

> Week 2 – Monday, Sept. 16 at Eagles, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

The skinny: The Eagles went 11-6 last season, but were vanquished in the playoffs by the Bucs. The coaching staff was re-tooled with Vic Fangio being named defensive coordinator and Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator. Running back Saquon Barkley was signed in free agency to help provide a solid rushing attack to help quarterback Jalen Hurts. Series record: Eagles lead 18-14-1.

> Week 3 – Sunday, Sept. 22 vs. Chiefs, 8:20 p.m., NBC

The skinny: The Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champions, drafted speedster wide receiver Xavier Worthy to attempt to fulfill the Tyreek Hill role in their offense. The Chiefs re-signed all-world defensive tackle Chris Jones to anchor the defense. The dynamic passing combination of quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce will make its Mercedes-Benz Stadium debut. Series record: The Chiefs lead 7-3.

> Week 4 – Sunday, Sept. 29 vs. Saints, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: The Saints finished last season as co-champs with the Bucs at 9-8, but lost the playoff bid on the tiebreakers. The Saints signed defensive end Chase Young and linebacker Willie Gay in free agency. The Saints attempted to solidify the offensive line by drafting Oregon State tackle Taliese Fuaga with the 14th overall pick, and they added former Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry. Series record: The Saints lead 55-54 in the regular season. Falcons lead 1-0 in the playoffs.

> Week 5 – Thursday, Oct. 3 vs. Bucs, 8:15 p.m., Prime Video

The skinny: After winning their third consecutive NFC South title, the Bucs signed quarterback Baker Mayfield to a three-year deal worth up to $115 million. The Bucs also signed safety Jordan Whitehead after he spent the past two seasons with the Jets. The Bucs won the division with a 9-8 mark, beat the Eagles in the playoffs and battled Detroit in the divisional round of the playoffs. Series record: The Bucs lead 31-30 in the regular season.

> Week 6 – Sunday, Oct. 13 at Panthers, 4:25 p.m., Fox

The skinny: Not sure if the owner took the advice of a local restaurant that wanted him to let the coach and general manager make the pick this year, but the Panthers traded into the first round and selected former South Carolina wide receiver Xavier Legette and added former Texas running back Jonathan Brooks in the second round. The Panthers spent over $153 million on guards to attempt to solidify the interior of the passing pocket for quarterback Bryce Young. The Panthers finished in last place at 2-15 last season. Series record: The Falcons lead 36-22.

> Week 7 – Sunday, Oct. 20 vs. Seahawks, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: The Pete Carroll era came to an end, and the Seahawks hired former Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald as the head coach. He started his coaching career at Cedar Shoals High in Athens while he was as student at Georgia. He was a two-sport athlete at Centennial High. His first order of business was to fix the run defense that gave up 138.4 yards per game (31st of 32) last season. Series record: The Seahawks lead 12-7.

> Week 8 – Sunday, Oct. 27 vs. at Buccaneers 1 p.m., Fox

The second meeting of the season between the NFC South foes.

> Week 9 – Sunday, Nov. 3 vs. Cowboys, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: The Cowboys have gone 12-5 in each of the past three seasons before exiting the playoffs. Owner Jerry Jones has quarterback Dak Prescott and coach Mike McCarthy working on the last year of their contracts in a clear message that a deep playoff run is needed. Running back Ezekiel Elliott is back with the team. Series record: The Cowboys lead 17-11.

> Week 10 – Sunday, Nov. 10 at Saints, 1 p.m., Fox

The second meeting of the season between the NFC South foes.

> Week 11 – Sunday, Nov. 17 at Broncos, 4:05 p.m., Fox

The skinny: Sean Payton is set to enter his second year in the Mile High City. The Broncos dumped Russell Wilson and drafted Bo Nix, the former Auburn and Oregon signal-caller, in the first-round. The Broncos finished 8-9 last season. Series record: The Broncos lead 8-7.

> Week 12 – BYE WEEK

> Week 13 – Sunday, Dec. 1 at Chargers, 1 p.m., CBS

The skinny: After winning the national championship at Michigan, Jim Harbaugh, who interviewed for the Falcons’ head coach position, returned to the NFL with the Chargers. Harbaugh will cobble together a rushing attack to help quarterback Justin Herbert. The Chargers drafted former Alabama defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe, who played at Forest Park High, in the fourth round. Series record: The Falcons lead 8-4.

> Week 14 – Sunday, Dec. 8 at Vikings, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: The Vikings drafted quarterback J.J. McCarthy to replace Kirk Cousins, who signed with the Falcons in free agency. Wide receivers Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison will help McCarthy with the transition. The scoring defense improved from 27th to 18th last season under defensive coordinator Brian Flores. Series record: The Vikings lead 20-11.

> Week 15 – Monday, Dec. 16, at Raiders, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

The skinny: Antonio Pierce had the interim tag removed over the offseason and became the head coach. The Raiders lost running back Josh Jacobs in free agency and signed quarterback Gardner Minshew II. They also have quarterback Aiden O’Connell and drafted former Georgia All-American tight end Brock Bowers in the first round of the draft. Three-time Pro Bowler Maxx Crosby leads the defense and the Raiders picked up defensive tackle Christian Wilkins in free agency. Series record: The Falcons lead 8-7.

> Week 16 – Sunday, Dec. 22 vs. Giants, 1 p.m. Fox

The skinny: After going to the playoffs in 2022, the Giants went 6-11 last season and lost running back Saquon Barkley in free agency. The Giants picked up linebacker Brian Burns in a trade with the Panthers and are hoping to pair him with Kayvon Thibodeaux to create a dynamic pass rush. Wide receiver Malik Nabers was selected sixth overall in the draft. Quarterback Daniel Jones is expected back after tearing the ACL in his right knee and missing most of last season. The Giants also signed quarterback Drew Lock in free agency. Series record: The Falcons lead 14-11.

> Week 17 – Saturday/Sunday, Dec. 28/29 at Commanders, TBD, TBD

The skinny: Former Falcons coach Dan Quinn is the new Commanders coach. The teams have met in each of the past three seasons with the Commanders winning each time. Washington drafted LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels with the second overall pick in the draft with the hopes that he could turn around the franchise’s fortunes. Series record: Commanders lead 17-10-1.

> Week 18 – TBD, Panthers, TBD, TBD

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