Atlanta Falcons fans should be optimistic heading into the 2020 season even after a disappointing 2019 season because their core is still in place. In addition to returning Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, the Falcons have added talent to the mix at the skill positions and the multiple first-round picks they spent on the offensive line (2019) are likely to make a leap in year two. The blueprint for a bounceback season for Atlanta involves the offense emerging as an elite unit like the one that paved a path toward the Super Bowl just a few short years ago
The Falcons fans can also gather hope around the fact that Atlanta improved down the stretch last season. After a 3-9 start, the 2019 Falcons finished the year with four consecutive wins. Among the Falcons' wins during that span was an impressive victory over the eventual NFC champion 49ers. This offseason, Atlanta has made several significant moves that include the signing of former All-Pro running back Todd Gurley. The Falcons spent the majority of their 2020 draft picks on defense, as they look to improve a defense that finished 23rd in the NFL in points allowed last season. That unit should also improve by simply being healthier (which is almost impossible not to be) than they have over the past two seasons.
Below, we'll break down the Falcons' 2020 schedule by week and pinpoint all of the primetime games to keep an eye on. We'll also dive into the Falcons' strength of schedule, what we project as their toughest stretch of games, and more. Without further ado, let's dive right into it.
- Week 1, Sept. 13: vs. Seahawks
- Week 2, Sept. 20: at Cowboys
- Week 3, Sept. 27: vs. Bears
- Week 4, Oct. 5: at Packers (Monday Night Football)
- Week 5, Oct. 11: vs. Panthers
- Week 6, Oct. 18: at Vikings
- Week 7, Oct. 25: Lions
- Week 8, Oct. 29: at Panthers (Thursday Night Football)
- Week 9, Nov. 8: vs. Broncos
- Week 10: BYE
- Week 11, Nov. 22: at Saints
- Week 12, Nov. 29: vs. Raiders
- Week 13, Dec. 6: vs. Saints
- Week 14, Dec. 13: at Chargers
- Week 15, Dec. 20: vs. Buccaneers
- Week 16, Dec. 27: at Chiefs
- Week 17, Jan. 3: at Buccaneers
The Falcons will open the home portion of their schedule against the Seahawks in Week 1. The Falcons are 4-1 in home openers under Dan Quinn. Ironically, the only time the Falcons have lost a home opener under Quinn was in 2016, when Atlanta fell to the Buccaneers in Week 1 before rebounding to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LI.
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As noted above in the schedule breakdown, the Falcons will be playing two primetime games in 2020. Both primetime games will be played on the road. In 2019, the Falcons split their two primetime games, defeating visiting Eagles in Week 2 before falling on the road to the Saints in Week 13.
Strength of schedule
Earlier this offseason, John Breech broke down the 2020 strength of schedule for all 32 NFL teams based on combined opponent winning percentage in 2019. The Falcons' 2020 schedule is tied for the fifth-toughest in the NFL. For a complete look at every team's strength of schedule, .
However, when basing strength of schedule on the over/under win totals for each team's opponents during the 2020 season at William Hill, the Falcons go from facing the fifth-toughest schedule in the league to facing the hardest schedule in the entire NFL. For a complete look at every team's strength of schedule using this methodology, check out Jared Dubin's full breakdown here.