The NFL is set to release the 2019 schedule at 8 p.m. Wednesday on the NFL Network.
Here’s a look at the Falcons’ opponents for next season:
The Falcons will play five exhibition games, beginning with the Hall of Fame game (home games in bold):
Thursday, Aug. 1: Falcons 10, Denver Broncos 14 (at Canton, Ohio)
Thursday, Aug. 9: Falcons 27, Miami Dolphins 34
Thursday, Aug. 16: Falcons 10, New York Jets 22
Thursday, Aug. 22: vs. Washington Redskins
Thursday, Aug. 29, TBA: at Jacksonville Jaguars
> New Orleans Saints: In 2019, the Saints will seek to rebound from their horrific loss in the NFC championship game to the Rams. 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 the series, 51-48. The Falcons have dropped the last three meetings and Falcons coach Dan Quinn is 3-5 against the Saints.
> 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 the series 27-24. The Falcons have won the last five games.
> Carolina Panthers: The Panthers, who be 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 led the series 30-18.
> Los Angeles Rams: The Rams went 13-3 and lost in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Rams are counting on running back Todd Gurley’s left knee to get healthy. 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.
> Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks went 10-6 last season and lost in the wildcard 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 workout 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.
Overall series: Seahawks lead the series 10-6.
> Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles are coming off a 9-7 season. They earned a wildcard berth and advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs before losing to the Saints. The Eagles parted ways with Nick Foles, who guided them to their Super Bowl LII victory over the Patriots. With Foles gone, 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.
Overall series: Eagle lead the series 17-13-1.
> Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars, after reaching the AFC championship game, had a disappointing 5-11 season. The finally parted ways with quarterback Blake Bortles and signed Nick 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.
Overall series: Tied at 3-3.
> 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’s now the Falcons’ tight ends coach. Quarterback Marcus Mariota is 27-28 after four years as the starter. The Titans added Humphries, defensive end Cameron Wake and guard Rodger Saffold in free agency.
Last meeting: Falcons won 10-7 on Oct. 25, 2015.
Overall series: Tied 7-7.
> Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals elected to fire head coach 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 in cornerback Robert Alford and defensive end Brooks Reed 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.
Overall series: Tied 15-15.
> San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers are coming off a disappointing 4-12 season under head 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 a Pro Bowler. The 49ers signed former Falcons running back Tevin Coleman, linebackers Kwon Alexander and Dee Ford in free agency.
Last meeting: Falcons won 41-13 on Dec. 18, 2016.
Overall series: 49ers lead the series 46-30-1.
> Minnesota Vikings: A year after playing in the NFC title game, the Vikings went 8-7-1 with new quarterback Kirk Cousins at the controls. Head 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 league’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 the series 18-10.
> Indianapolis Colts: With the return to good health, quarterback Andrew Luck guided the Colts to a 10-6 record and back into the playoffs. The Colts beat the Texans in the wildcard round before losing to the Chiefs in the AFC divisional round. Luck’s top targets include wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight end Eric Ebron. The Colts also 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.
Overall series: Colts lead the series 14-2.
> Houston Texans: With Deshaun Watson at the controls, the Texans went 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 DeAndre 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.
Overall series: Tied 2-2.
> New Orleans Saints: NFC South foe.
> Tampa Bay Buccaneers: NFC South foe.
> Carolina Panthers: NFC South foe.
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