Falcons’ 2020 schedule: Game-by-game breakdown

Here's a game-by-game breakdown of the Atlanta Falcons' 2020 schedule.

The Falcons’ 2020 schedule features nationally televised games on a Monday and a Thursday night and a closing stretch that include the final three games against Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Tampa Bay.

If the Falcons are in position to make the playoffs, they likely will have to beat Tom Brady and/or Patrick Mahomes down the streak.

The NFC South games are spread over the schedule, but the Falcons do face the Saints twice within three weeks in weeks 11 and 13. The Week 11 game will come the week after the bye week.

With the arrival of Brady in the division, the NFC South now boast three quarterbacks in the league’s all-time top 10 passing list in Brady, Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

Teddy Bridgewater, who was Brees’ backup for the past two seasons, takes over for Cam Newton in Charlotte.

“Tom Brady is Tom Brady,” Falcons safety Ricardo Allen said. “Just being able to play against him two times a year, guaranteed, that, just to me, naturally brings up the level of the playing field. You know going into that game that it’s not a walk in the park. To me, I like that. For me, I feed off of that.”

Of course, Brady led the Patriots to a Super Bowl victory after the Falcons held a 28-3 lead. After playing 20 seasons in New England, he signed with the Buccaneers this offseason.

“I think if you believe in who you are and the work that you put in, you know that when the competition comes around, it’s time to stand up,” Allen said. “For me, I look forward to it. I like that kind of stuff.

To be able to play against some of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in our division, at least four games a year, I don’t think that anybody who wants to be a true competitor will every shy away from this.”

Also, the Falcons, who have struggled against AFC teams (2-10) over the past three years, will play the AFC West, including the defending Super Bowl-champion Chiefs.

“It’s not very many pushover in here,” Allen said of the 2020 opponents. “If we have to play six games in our division, and then we’ve already got the Super Bowl champs in there, we’ve got a fight already ahead of ourselves.

“This is not going to be an easy walk-in-the-park of a season at all. I’ve never played down there (in Kansas City). I know Pat. He’s good. He can get it done. We better be ready. We better be working. It’s going to be an exciting season. Another good one, though.”

The Falcons’ opponents for their four exhibition games were released earlier. They will play home games against the Dolphins (Aug. 13-17) and Bengals (Aug. 28) and road games against the Bills (Aug. 20-24) and Jaguars (Sept. 3 or Sept. 4).

Here’s a game-by-game breakdown of the regular season:

 > Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13, vs. Seahawks, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: Seattle, which is led by quarterback Russell Wilson, went 11-5 last season and went to the playoffs. The Seahawks lost to Green Bay in the divisional round. Last meeting: The Seahawks won 27-20 on Oct. 27, 2019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to drop the Falcons to 1-7 on the season. Series record: Seahawks lead the series 11-6. The Falcons lead 2-0 in the playoffs.

> Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 20, at Cowboys, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: Dallas, which fired Jason Garrett and hired former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, have retooled on defense while getting more weapons on offense for quarterback Dak Prescott. The Cowboys, with Jerry Jones drafting from his yacht, selected dynamic wide receiver CeeDee Lamb in the first round. They are trying to rebound from an 8-8 season. Last meeting: The Cowboys won 22-19 on Nov. 18, 2018. Series record: The Cowboys lead 15-11 and are 2-0 in playoff games.

> Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 27, vs. Bears, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: Chicago appears to be moving forward with quarterback Nick Foles after opting not to pick up Mitchell Trubisky's fifth-year option. Foles, a Super Bowl MVP for the Eagles, is a better fit for coach Matt Nagy's offense. The Bears went 8-8 last season. Last meeting: The Falcons needed a goal-line stand to win 23-17 on Sept. 10, 2017. Series record: Chicago leads 14-13. 

> Week 4: Monday, Oct. 5, at Packers, 8:15 p.m., ESPN 

The skinny: Green Bay went 13-3 in coach Matt LaFleur's first season, but lost to the 49ers in the NFC Championship game. They shook up the draft by selecting Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round. Last meeting: The Packers won 34-20 on Dec. 9, 2018 in Green Bay. Series record: The Packers lead 16-14, and the teams are 2-2 in the playoffs.

> Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11, vs. Panthers, 1 p.m., Fox 

The skinny: Carolina has a new head coach in Matt Rhule and have handed the quarterback reins to Bridgewater. Last meeting: The Falcons won 40-20 on Dec. 8, 2019. Series record: The Falcons lead 32-18 and have won the past five meetings and eight of the past nine.

> Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 18, at Vikings, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: Minnesota went 10-6 last season. The Vikings beat the Saints in the wild-card round of the playoffs before losing to the 49ers in the divisional round. The Falcons had a tough time with running back Dalvin Cook in last season's opener. Last meeting: The Vikings won 28-12 on Sept. 8, 2019. Series record: The Vikings lead the series 19-10. The teams are 1-1 in the playoffs.

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25, vs. Lions, 1 p.m., Fox 

The skinny: Detroit is trying to rebound from a 3-12-1 season. Matthew Stafford remains at quarterback. Last meeting: The Falcons won 30-26 on Sept. 24, 2017. Series record: Detroit leads the series 24-13.

Week 8: Thursday, Oct. 29, at Panthers, 8:20 p.m., Fox 

The skinny: This will be their second meeting of the season. 

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8, vs. Broncos, 1 p.m., CBS 

The skinny: Drew Lock is taking over at quarterback after Denver went 7-9 last season. Last meeting: The Falcons won 23-16 on Oct. 9, 2016 to improve to 4-1. Series record: Denver leads 8-6 in the regular season and beat the Falcons 34-19 in Super Bowl XXXIII.

Week 10 – Bye 

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 22, at Saints, 1 p.m., Fox 

The skinny: The Falcons played rival New Orleans after their bye week last season and pulled off the upset shocker on the road. The Saints have won the past three NFC South division titles and will be the favorite entering 2020. Last meeting: The Saints won 26-18 on Nov. 28, 2019. Series record: The Falcons lead 52-49 and 1-0 in the playoffs.

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 29, vs. Raiders, 1 p.m., CBS 

The skinny: Coach Jon Gruden and the Raiders will play their first season in Las Vegas. They went 7-9 last season. Former Georgia Tech tight end Darren Waller caught 90 passes for 1,145 yards and three touchdowns last season. Last meeting: The Falcons won 35-28 in Oakland on Sept. 18. 2016. Series record: Tied 7-7.

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 6, vs. Saints, 1 p.m., Fox 

The skinny: This will be their second meeting of the season.  

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 13, at Chargers, 4:25 p.m., Fox

The skinny: Los Angeles moved on from Philip Rivers and drafted quarterback Justin Herbert. Last meeting: The Chargers won 33-30 on Oct. 23, 2016. Series record: The Falcons lead 8-2.

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 20, vs. Buccaneers, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: Tampa Bay retained all of its key defensive players, including Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh and picked up Brady to get the ball to dynamic wide receivers Michael Evans and Chris Godwin. They also added former New England tight end Rob Gronkowski. Last meeting: The Falcons won 28-22 in overtime Dec. 29, 2019. Series record: The Falcons lead 28-25.

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 27, at Chiefs, 1 p.m., Fox 

The skinny: The defending Super Bowl champs are led by quarterback Mahomes. Last meeting: The Chiefs won 29-28 on Dec. 4, 2016. Series record: Kansas City leads 6-3.

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 3, at Bucs, 1 p.m., Fox  

The skinny: This will be their second meeting of the season.   

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