The Falcons have a perfectly placed bye week, but will play three important NFC South games over 12 days, including a game against the arch-rival New Orleans Saints on Thanksgiving, for the second consecutive season.
The Falcons open the season at 1 p.m. Sept. 8 at Minnesota.
The Falcons face the Eagles in their home opener at 8:20 p.m. Sept. 15 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The team’s bye week comes after eight games, but when they return from the bye week, they play five consecutive games against NFC South teams, the middle three in a period of 11 days.
The Falcons, after a 7-9 record last season, don’t have a “Monday Night Football” appearance.
The Falcons will play five exhibition games, beginning with the Hall of Fame game (home games in bold):
Thursday, Aug. 1: Denver Broncos 14, Falcons 10 (at Canton, Ohio)
Thursday, Aug. 9: Miami Dolphins 34, Falcons 27
Thursday, Aug. 16: New York Jets 22, Falcons 10
Thursday, Aug. 22: Washington Redskins 19, Falcons 7
Thursday, Aug. 29: Falcons 31, Jacksonville Jaguars 12
REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 8 at Vikings, 1 p.m. (Fox)
> Minnesota Vikings: A year after playing in the NFC title game, the Vikings were 8-7-1 with new quarterback Kirk Cousins at the controls. Coach Mike Zimmer wants to lean more heavily on running back Dalvin Cook and the rushing attack. Wide receiver Adam Thielen has blossomed into one of the NFL’s top receivers and route-runners. After initially deciding to join the Jets, linebacker Anthony Barr came to his senses and returned to the Vikings. He leads a stout defensive unit.
Last meeting: Vikings won 14-9 on Dec. 3, 2017, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Overall series: Vikings lead 18-10.
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 15 vs. Eagles, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
> Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles are coming off a 9-7 season. They earned a wild-card berth and advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs before losing to the Saints. Nick Foles, who guided them to their Super Bowl LII victory over the Patriots, signed a lucrative deal with Jacksonville. Carson Wentz is firmly entrenched as the franchise quarterback. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson re-signed with his old team and gives them a deep threat. Defensive end Brandon Graham was retained, and the Eagles signed defensive tackle Malik Jackson and defensive end Vinny Curry to buttress the defensive line.
Last meeting: Eagles won 18-12 on Sept. 6, 2018, at Lincoln Financial Field. Overall series: Eagles lead 17-13-1.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 22 at Colts, 1 p.m. (CBS)
> Indianapolis Colts: With his return to good health, quarterback Andrew Luck guided the Colts to a 10-6 record and back to the playoffs. They beat the Texans in the AFC wild-card round before losing to the Chiefs in the divisional round. Luck’s top targets include wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight end Eric Ebron. The Colts added former Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess and former Chiefs sackmaster Justin Houston in free agency.
Last meeting: Colts won 24-21 on Nov. 22, 2015, at the Georgia Dome. Overall series: Colts lead 14-2.
Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 29 vs. Titans, 1 p.m. (CBS)
> Tennessee Titans: The Titans have posted three consecutive 9-7 seasons and plan to continue to lean heavily on running back Derrick Henry. Two of those 9-7 seasons came under Mike Mularkey, who now is the Falcons’ tight ends coach. Quarterback Marcus Mariota is 27-28 after four seasons as the starter. The Titans added wide receiver Adam Humphries, defensive end Cameron Wake and guard Rodger Saffold in free agency.
Last meeting: Falcons won 10-7 on Oct. 25, 2015, at Nissan Stadium. Overall series: Tied 7-7.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 6 at Texans, 1 p.m. (Fox)
> Houston Texans: With Deshaun Watson at the controls, the Texans were 11-5 and returned to the playoffs last season. He completed 68.5 percent of his passes and threw 26 touchdowns passes. Dynamic wide receiver D’Andre Hopkins is his top target. The Texans placed the franchise tag on defensive end/linebacker Jadeveon Clowney. The Texans are looking to add more weapons to the offense for Watson in the draft.
Last meeting: Falcons won 48-21 on Dec. 4, 2015, at the Georgia Dome. Overall series: Tied 2-2.
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 13 at Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. (Fox)
> Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals elected to fire Steve Wilks after one season and go with a college coach who had a losing record (35-40) in Kliff Kingsbury. The Cardinals signed Falcons castoffs Robert Alford (cornerback) and Brooks Reed (defensive end) in free agency. Also, former Ravens defensive end/outside linebacker Tyrell Suggs landed with the Cardinals.
Last meeting: Falcons won 40-14 on Dec. 16, 2018, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Overall series: Tied 15-15.
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 20 vs. Rams, 1 p.m. (Fox)
> Los Angeles Rams: The Rams were 13-3 last season and lost in Super Bowl LIII. The Rams are counting on running back Todd Gurley’s left knee returning to good health. The defense is led by defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The Rams added former Packers linebacker Clay Matthews and six-time Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle.
Last meeting: Falcons won 26-13 on Jan. 6, 2018 in the playoffs, at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Overall series: Rams lead 47-28-2.
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 27 vs. Seahawks, 1 p.m. (Fox)
> Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks were 10-6 last season and lost in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs. Linebacker K.J. Wright and guard D.J. Fluker were re-signed, while the team met its April 15 deadline to work out a long-term deal with quarterback Russell Wilson. He signed a four-year, $140 million deal to remain in Seattle.
Last meeting: Falcons won 34-31 on Nov. 20, 2017, at CenturyLink Field.
Overall series: Seahawks lead 10-6.
Week 9: Bye week
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 10 at Saints, 1 p.m. (Fox)
> New Orleans Saints: In 2019, the Saints will seek to rebound from their horrific loss to the Rams in the NFC Championship game. The missed defensive pass-interference call led to a rule change. Quarterback Drew Brees returns for his 14th season with the Saints and 19th in the NFL. He passed for 3,992 yards in 2018, his lowest total since joining the Saints. Running back Mark Ingram signed with Baltimore in free agency. Also, defensive end Alex Okafor left in free agency. Center Max Unger and tight end Ben Watson elected to retire. Former Saints starting defensive tackle Tyeler Davison signed with the Falcons. The Saints signed tight end Jared Cook, running back Latavious Murray, returner Marcus Sherels and guard Nick Easton.
Last meeting: Saints won 31-17 on Nov. 22, 2018, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Overall series: Falcons lead 51-48. The Falcons have lost the past three meetings, and coach Dan Quinn is 3-5 against the Saints.
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 17 at Panthers, 1 p.m. (Fox)
> Carolina Panthers: The Panthers, who are looking to rebound from a 7-9 season, will be without former linebacker Thomas Davis, the former Georgia star, for the first time since 2005. He signed with the Chargers in free agency. The Panthers also moved on from wide receiver Devin Funchess. The Panthers added former Falcons linebacker Bruce Irvin and former Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan in free agency. Quarterback Cam Newton is coming off shoulder surgery.
Last meeting: Falcons won 24-10 on Dec. 23, 2018, at Bank of America Stadium.
Overall series: Falcons lead 30-18.
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 24 vs. Buccaneers, 1 p.m. (Fox)
> Tampa Bay Bucs: Former Arizona coach Bruce Arians was hired to replace Dirk Koetter and has assembled a fine coaching staff. Arians, who has a fine reputation for developing quarterbacks, will get a chance to help salvage Jameis Winston’s career. Koetter returned to his old job as offensive coordinator for the Falcons. The Bucs lost wide receiver Adam Humphries (Tennessee) and linebacker Kwon Alexander (San Francisco) in free agency. They added former Cardinals safety/linebacker Deone Bucannon. The biggest news has been the awkward good-bye to defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. “We’re going to win, and we’re going to win now,” Arians said. “I mean, don’t be afraid of it. Everybody is always riding the fence. Jump in the pool. It’s going to be all right.”
Last meeting: Falcons won 34-32 on Dec. 30, 2018, at Raymond James Stadium.
Overall series: Falcons lead 27-24 and have won the past five games.
Week 13: Thursday, Nov. 28 vs. Saints, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
> New Orleans Saints
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 8 vs. Panthers, 1 p.m. (Fox)
> Carolina Panthers
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 15 at 49ers, 4:25 p.m. (Fox)
> San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers are coming off a disappointing 4-12 season under coach Kyle Shanahan. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will try to make it back from season-ending ACL knee surgery. The 49ers have a rising star in tight end George Kittle, who caught 88 passes for 1,377 yards last season and was named to the Pro Bowl. The 49ers signed former Falcons running back Tevin Coleman and linebackers Kwon Alexander and Dee Ford in free agency.
Last meeting: Falcons won 41-13 on Dec. 18, 2016, at the Georgia Dome. Overall series: 49ers lead 46-30-1.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 22 vs. Jaguars, 1 p.m. (Fox)
> Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars, after reaching the AFC Championship game the season before, had a disappointing 5-11 record last season. They finally parted ways with Blake Bortles and signed Foles. With just some solid quarterback play, this talented roster could forge a quick turnaround.
Last meeting: Falcons won 23-17 on Dec. 20, 2015, at EverBank Field. Overall series: Tied at 3-3.
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 29 at Buccaneers, 1 p.m. (Fox)
> Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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