A year ago nobody expected the Atlanta Falcons to be relevant in the 2016 season, never mind make it to the Super Bowl. With that being said, the NFL did not grant them many primetime games and the average fan was unable to watch the Falcons unless they got them on their local channel. This happened simply because the NFL bases their primetime games based on how the team performs the season before and their average viewership.
This year, however, the NFL has granted the Falcons five primetime games, meaning people from all over will be able to watch their electrifying offense more often. And who doesn’t like watching a team put up 30-40 points a game?
Here is a look at the Falcons upcoming schedule for the 2017 season:
Week 1: at Chicago Bears
Week 2: Green Bay Packers – Sunday Night Football
Week 3: at Detroit Lions
Week 4: Buffalo Bills
Week 5: BYE
Week 6: Miami Dolphins
Week 7: at New England Patriots – Sunday Night Football
Week 8: at New York Jets
Week 9: at Carolina Panthers
Week 10: Dallas Cowboys
Week 11: at Seattle Seahawks – Monday Night Football
Week 12: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 13: Minnesota Vikings
Week 14: New Orleans Saints – Thursday Night Football
Week 15: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Monday Night Football
Week 16: at New Orleans Saints
Week 17: Carolina Panthers
Breaking Down the Atlanta Falcons 2017 Primetime Games
Week 2: Green Bay Packers
The Falcons are 4-4 against the Green Bay Packers since 2008 and three of those wins have come at home. Two of those wins came last season, including when the Falcons beat the Packers 44-21 in the NFC Championship game (the final game ever played in the Georgia Dome). The Packers got to play the final game in the Georgia Dome and now get to play the first regular season game ever played at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Falcons can put up a lot of points on the Packers, and they averaged 38.5 PPG against them last season. However, in both games neither team had a player rush for 50 or more yards.
In the NFC Championship game, Matt Ryan proved to the naysayers that he, indeed, was the MVP, finishing with a QBR of 98.4 while throwing for 392 yards and four touchdowns. As opposed to Aaron Rodgers, who finished the game with an 86.8 QBR while throwing for 287 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Week 7: at New England Patriots
Ahhh, the Super Bowl rematch Atlanta fans have been waiting for since February. The Falcons have a chance here to give their fans a sense of mild redemption following their ugly meltdown in the Super Bowl where they blew a 25-point lead with just over 17 minutes left in regulation.
Ryan had himself a game in the Super Bowl, setting career-postseason-highs in completion percentage (73.9), average yard per pass attempt (12.35) and rating (144.1). Nonetheless, his career-numbers were not enough to fend off Tom Brady and the surging New England Patriots.
Week 11: at Seattle Seahawks
The Falcons got their revenge on the Seattle Seahawks in the second round of the playoffs. But the loss the Falcons took in Week six still echoes in the back of everybody’s mind where there was missed call on Julio Jones in the final minutes of regulation.
Once again, the Falcons will hit the road to take on the Seahawks, only this time the world will get to watch them on Monday Night Football. The Russell Wilson-led Seahawks have never lost on MNF.
As a matter of fact, the last time the Seahawks lost on MNF was December 6, 2004 against the Dallas Cowboys. Plus, the Falcons have won five of the last seven games against the Seahawks.
Week 14: New Orleans Saints
For the last four seasons the Falcons and New Orleans Saints have been trading season sweeps. The Falcons swept the series in 2014 and 2016, while the Saints swept the series in 2013 and 2015. If that trend keeps up, it won’t be in favor of the Falcons this year.
Last season Atlanta put up a combined 83 points on their division foes from New Orleans. In the Falcons home opener last season, Ryan put up 331 yards and four touchdowns, including 96 yards and a touchdown pass to Julio Jones. The running back duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman put up a combined 140 yards and one touchdown.
This game also marked the beginning of Vic Beasley’s sack-filled season, when the former Clemson standout got his first of his 15.5 sacks.
Week 15: at Tampa bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the only NFC South team to have an above .500 all-time head-to-head record against the Falcons (23-24).
After falling to the Buccaneers 31-24 in the home opener last season the Falcons found themselves on a three-game losing streak to the Buccaneers. It wasn’t until Week nine of last season that the Falcons picked up their first victory against the Jameis Winston-led Buccaneers.