2021 NFL Schedule Breakdown: Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have been making big changes to their organization and roster in the offseason. Atlanta fired head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. The Falcons hired former Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith to become their new head coach. Atlanta hired Terry Fontenot as their new general manager.
Smith is a great addition to Atlanta because he oversaw the highest-scoring Titans team last year. Smith could help usher a high-scoring offense for the Falcons. Smith brought with him defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who was the defensive coordinator for the Titans.
Atlanta traded away Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones to the Titans for a second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and a fourth-round pick in 2023. This move was a long time coming, but it also means that the Falcons are moving towards a full rebuild now.
Atlanta Falcons Schedule:
- Week 1: Sun 09/12 vs Philadelphia Eagles
- Week 2: Sun 09/19 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Week 3: Sun 09/26 at New York Giants
- Week 4: Sun 10/03 vs Washington Football Team
- Week 5: Sun 10/10 vs New York Jets
- Week 6: BYE
- Week 7: Sun 10/24 at Miami Dolphins
- Week 8: Sun 10/31 vs Carolina Panthers
- Week 9: Sun 11/07 at New Orleans Saints
- Week 10: Sun 11/14 at Dallas Cowboys
- Week 11: Thu 11/18 vs New England Patriots
- Week 12: Sun 11/28 at Jacksonville Jaguars
- Week 13: Sun 12/05 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Week 14: Sun 12/12 at Carolina Panthers
- Week 15: Sun 12/19 at San Francisco 49ers
- Week 16: Sun 12/26 vs Detroit Lions
- Week 17: Sun 1/02 at Buffalo Bills
- Week 18: Sun 01/09 vs New Orleans Saints
NFC South: The Buccaneers are the favorites to win the division after Saints quarterback Drew Brees announced his retirement in the offseason. It is still possible that the Saints could remain competitive, but they would need a solid quarterback to do so. The Falcons are a long shot if they want to win the division crown.
Matchups: The Falcons’ toughest stretch of games will be from Week 10 to Week 15. The toughest opponents on their schedule are the Cowboys, Buccaneers, Bills and Saints. Overall, Atlanta actually has a pretty favorable schedule with games against the Eagles, Giants, Jets, Panthers, Patriots, Jaguars and Lions.
Overall: The Falcons traded away one of their biggest offensive players, hired a new coach and new general manager. Without Jones, the Falcons only have one true playmaker on offense in Calvin Ridley. This could be a very long season for Matt Ryan and the Falcons.
Prediction: Atlanta will finish with a 5-12, good for last place in the division.