Falcons have five prime-time games coming off Super Bowl

Matt Ryan and the Falcons are focused on making another trip to the Super Bowl. AP Photo/Eric Gay

The NFL has released its 2017 regular-season schedule. Here’s a look at what’s in store for the Atlanta Falcons.

Breakdown: The Falcons, coming off an 11-5 season, have five prime-time games, including a Week 2 NFC Championship rematch with Green Bay on Sunday Night Football (Sept. 17) inside the brand new, $1.53 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium and, of course, a Super Bowl LI rematch at the New England Patriots in Week 7 Sunday Night Football (Oct. 22). Last season, the Falcons had just two prime-time games, so their Super Bowl run, having the MVP in Matt Ryan, and having a new stadium certainly made them more appealing to the schedule makers. The other prime-time matchups are at Seattle (Nov. 20, ESPN), at home against New Orleans (Dec. 7, NBC, NFL Network, Amazon), and at Tampa Bay (Dec. 18, ESPN).

Back to Back: The Falcons are in for a challenge when they host the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10, then turn around for a long road trip and Monday Night Football matchup with the Seattle Seahawks in Week 11. A lot of folks wanted to see the Falcons and Cowboys battle in last year's NFC Championship Game, while a Falcons-Seahawks battle is sure to be a storyline just based on Falcons coach Dan Quinn being the former defensive coordinator for the Seahawks. The Falcons could get worn down on defense against a physical Cowboys offensive line, then face the challenge of having to contend with Russell Wilson's mobility the very next week. Not to mention the back-to-back occurs immediately after three consecutive road games against the Patriots, Jets, and Panthers. But, the Falcons also have a three-game home stretch against Buccaneers, Vikings, and Saints.

Down South: Way down the schedule -- the eighth game of the season -- the Falcons will face their first NFC South opponent in the Carolina Panthers on the road (Nov. 5). It's a stark contrast from last season, when the Falcons faced a division foe in three of its first four games, including opening against Tampa Bay. The Falcons actually close the season with four consecutive NFC South games, including two matchups with the rival New Orleans Saints over the course of three weeks. It's an interesting twist, but one the Falcons simply have to adjust to. Quinn's primary focus with his team is taking care of business in the division. The Falcons did so last year in walking away with the NFC South title. It will be interesting to see just how meaningful those final four games will be.

Strength of schedule: 13th, .521

Falcons Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

  • Week 1: Sunday, Sep. 10, at Chicago, 1 p.m.

  • Week 2: Sunday, Sep. 17, Green Bay, 8:30 p.m.

  • Week 3: Sunday, Sep. 24, at Detroit, 1 p.m.

  • Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 1, Buffalo, 1 p.m.

  • Week 5: BYE/li>

  • Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 15, Miami, 1 p.m.

  • Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 22, at New England, 8:30 p.m.

  • Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 29, at NY Jets, 1 p.m.

  • Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 5, at Carolina, 1 p.m.

  • Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 12, Dallas, 4:25 p.m.

  • Week 11: Monday, Nov. 20, at Seattle, 8:30 p.m.

  • Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 26, Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

  • Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 3, Minnesota, 1 p.m.

  • Week 14: Thursday, Dec. 7, New Orleans, 8:25 p.m.

  • Week 15: Monday, Dec. 18, at Tampa Bay, 8:30 p.m.

  • Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 24, at New Orleans, 1 p.m.

  • Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 31, Carolina, 1 p.m.