Atlanta Falcons schedule for the 2016 NFL season
Julio Jones scored the first of two touchdowns in last season's opener vs Philadelphia Eagles. (Source: atlantafalcons.com)

It doesn’t feel too long ago that the Atlanta Falcons finished the 2015/16 season at 8-8, after a 5-0 start. With the 2016 NFL schedule now released, it’s time to look ahead to who will be facing Dan Quinn’s team and when they do.

It’s worth noting the Falcons won just once in their division last season, when they spoiled the Carolina Panthers undefeated season. If Atlanta want to make some noise, they’ll first need to improve against NFC South teams.

The Schedule

Date Opponent Location Week
Sep. 11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Georgia Dome 1
Sep. 18 Oakland Raiders Oakland Coliseum 2
Sep. 26 New Orleans Saints Mercedes-Benz Superdome 3
Oct. 2 Carolina Panthers Georgia Dome 4
Oct. 9 Denver Broncos Sports Authority Field 5
Oct. 16 Seattle Seahawks CenturyLink Field 6
Oct. 23 San Diego Chargers Georgia Dome 7
Oct. 30 Green Bay Packers Georgia Dome 8
Nov. 3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Raymond James Stadium 9
Nov. 13 Philadelphia Eagles Lincoln Financial Field 10
- Bye Week - 11
Nov. 27 Arizona Cardinals Georgia Dome 12
Dec. 4 Kansas City Chiefs Georgia Dome 13
Dec. 11 Los Angeles Rams Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 14
Dec. 18 San Francisco 49ers Georgia Dome 15
Dec. 24 Carolina Panthers Bank of America Stadium 16
Jan. 1 New Orleans Saints Georgia Dome 17

Notable Matchups

Week 1

The Atlanta Falcons welcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Georgia Dome in Week 1. Much more than just a division rivalry, former Falcons head-coach Mike Smith, now defensive coordinator in Tampa, returns to Atlanta. Dirk Koetter, who was Smith's offensive coordinator in Atlanta, returns as Tampa Bay's new head coach. Tampa Bay won both meetings last season.

Week 3

The lone Monday Night Football appearance for the Falcons comes in Week 3 as they face their bitter rivals, the New Orleans Saints. New Orleans won both meetings last season, including a dramatic finish in the Georgia Dome. This one is always a heated affair and this matchup should be no different.

Week 4

This game last season was Carolina's lone regular season loss. The highlight of the game was a 70-yard leap and grab on Luke Kuechly by Julio Jones, eventually leading to a huge win for the Falcons. A major rivalry continues in Week 4 as Carolina seeks to recreate last season's magic while Atlanta aim to improve.

Julio Jones leaps over Luke Kuechly for the 70-yard catch and score in Week 16's victory over the Carolina Panthers last season / Jeff Siner - Charlotte Observer)

Week 6

Dan Quinn returns to Seattle for the first time since leaving to become the Falcons head coach. A bitter-sweet meeting for Quinn and his former team as Seattle and Atlanta are two teams that have plenty of questions to answer heading into the season.

Week 14

The Falcons return to Los Angeles to play an NFL game for the first time since 1994. Former Georgia Bulldog Todd Gurley obviously went to school in Georgia, which does have some relevance as Atlanta come to town.

Week 16

The Falcons travel to Bank of America Stadium to search for their first win at the Carolina Panthers since 2011. The game falls on Christmas Eve which means whoever loses this game, may not have a very merry Christmas the next day.

Week 17

The regular season ends with one final home game at the Georgia Dome against the organization's biggest rivals, the New Orleans Saints. The Falcons will want to send the great stadium off with a memorable win while the Saints will aim to spoil the party. This is arguably one of the most enticing matchups on any schedule.

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