The Atlanta Falcons schedule for 2018 was released Thursday and it is a cracker. We already knew the Falcons opponents but when they faced some of those opponents was always going to be important. A handful of cold weather games could have turned this from a tough schedule into a close to impossible one.
Week 1: Thursday 6th September @ Philadelphia Eagles
It is never easy going to the champions to open the season. The Eagles will come out the gate hard and the Falcons will need to be ready. This game is winnable though as the Chiefs proved last year in New England.
Week 2: Sunday 16th vs. Carolina Panthers
Week 3: Sunday 23rd vs. New Orleans Saints
Two really tough division games to follow the season opener. At least with the 10 days rest before the Panthers game the Falcons should be rested. They need to be at least 2-1 coming out of this run if they want a shot at home field advantage.
Week 4: Sunday 30th vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Three home games in a row is always a nice way to start the season. Need to take advantage though and be 3-1 which will not be easy.
Week 5: Sunday 7th October @ Pittsburgh Steelers
This game in December would have been horrible so this is a nice time to get it. This ends the hardest stretch of the season and a winning record would set the Falcons up nicely.
Week 6: Sunday 14th vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 7: Monday 22nd vs. New York Giants
Week 8: Bye
A nice time to get the bye especially coming off eight days rest, a Monday Night Football game and before two road games. An early bye can really hamper a team down the stretch, as the Falcons found last year.
Week 9: Sunday 4th November @ Washington Redskins
Week 10: Sunday 11th @ Cleveland Browns
Again it is nice to avoid these two in late November or in December when it could be really cold.
Week 11: Sunday 18th vs. Dallas Cowboys
Week 12: Thanksgiving, Thursday 22nd @ New Orleans Saints
This game could be one for the ages. Going into New Orleans on Thanksgiving will never be easy but then again going to New Orleans is never easy anyway. If the Cowboys are good in 2018 then this will be a tough two games in five days stretch.
Week 13: Sunday 2nd December vs. Baltimore Ravens
Week 14: Sunday 9th @ Green Bay Packers
This is the only real cold weather game on the schedule. Going to Lambeau in December will be tough, especially if Rodgers is healthy. This could be a playoff preview and potentially a home field advantage decider.
Week 15: Sunday 16th vs. Arizona Cardinals
Week 16: Sunday 23rd @ Carolina Panthers
Week 17: Sunday 30th @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Two tough division games on the road to end the season. These games will be crucial. They might decide wildcards spots, the division, the byes or home field advantage. However, you look at it these will be big games for all three teams.
If you are setting your calendar for other can’t miss game this season then be sure to check out Mike D’Abate’s article on ten intriguing games in this years schedule. We’ve almost forgiven him for not including any Falcons game.