The Falcons open the 2018 regular season at the Eagles with the NFL’s first game of the year - a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship. The other schedule highlight is a Thanksgiving Day game at the Saints, the Falcons’ first appearance on the holiday in 11 years.
In all, the Falcons play three prime-time games, including hosting the Giants on Monday Night Football. All other games are scheduled to be 1 p.m. Sunday contests.
The NFL released schedules on Thursday.
“I really like it even though you already know who you are playing,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “I like to see the flow of it. It sets it in action so to speak.”
The schedule also features a Dec. 9 trip to Green Bay to play the Packers.
“Then you get the schedule and see that Green Bay is in December,” Quinn said. “OK, that’s going to be cold. You just laugh at it.”
The schedule closes with two road games against NFC South foes, at the Panthers on Dec. 23 and at the Buccaneers on Dec. 30.
“There is no strategy involved,” Quinn said. “It puts the seasons into motion with where the byes are, where the division games are,” Quinn.
The Lions and Cowboys traditionally play on Thanksgiving. The NFL added a third game in 2006, which appears to be the Falcons at Saints this year on Nov. 22.
The Falcons last played on Thanksgiving in 2007 when they hosted and lost to the Colts, 31-13. The Falcons only other Thanksgiving appearance came in 2005, a 27-7 win at the Lions.
Here is the complete schedule:
Friday, Aug. 10 at Jets, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 17 vs. Chiefs, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 26 at Jaguars, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 30 vs. Dolphins, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 6 at Eagles, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Sunday, Sept. 16 vs. Panthers, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Sunday, Sept. 23 vs. Saints, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Sunday, Sept. 30 vs. Bengals, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Oct. 7 at Steelers, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Sunday, Oct. 14 vs. Buccaneers, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Monday, Oct. 22 vs. Giants, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Sunday, Nov. 4 at Redskins, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Sunday, Nov. 11 at Browns, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Sunday, Nov. 18 vs. Cowboys, 1 p.m. (Fox)*
Thursday, Nov. 22 at Saints, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Sunday, Dec. 2 vs. Ravens, 1 p.m. (CBS)*
Sunday, Dec. 9 at Packers, 1 p.m. (Fox)*
Sunday, Dec. 16 vs. Cardinals, 1 p.m. (Fox)*
Sunday, Dec. 23 at Panthers, 1 p.m. (Fox)*
Sunday, Dec. 30 at Buccaneers, 1 p.m. (Fox)*
*- Flexible scheduling
Countdown to the NFL Draft: Starting Sunday the Atlanta Journal-Constitution will begin a five-part series taking an in-depth look at the Falcons’ needs at defensive tackle, fullback, wide receiver, linebacker and offensive line and the players who might be available to them on each of the three days.