Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder (4) works in the pocket against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The release of the NFL schedule each spring has turned into a moment in which fans establish their travel plans for the games they’ll attend. What also happens is everyone will predict which games would be won or lost, followed by the tried and true cliche, “the games aren’t played on paper.” Well, the Atlanta Falcons will play eight of their seventeen games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and nine more will be played on the road. One of those nine games will take place at Wembley Stadium against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Moreover, thirteen of the Falcons’ 17 games will be played at 1:00PM, a coach’s dream because of the consistency in scheduling but horrible for fans that are begging for respect from national media outlets and talking heads.

However, after a free agency period headlined by the signings of safety Jessie Bates and defensive tackle Calais Campbell plus the selection of running back Bijan Robinson, we will find out if the Falcons will be flexed into the national spotlight as they hopefully print up NFC South Champions t-shirts in January. Or will the Dirty Birds miss the playoffs for what would be the sixth straight season.

The Falcons will have the easiest schedule, on paper, this season based on last year’s combined winning percentages of their opponents.

Atlanta will open the season at home against Bryce Young and the Carolina Panthers for week one on September 10th at 1:00 PM. Week two, quarterback Jordan Love and the Green Bay Packers will pay a visit to Atlanta on Sept. 17th. Week three will see the Dirty Birds travel to the Detroit Lions on Sept. 24th.

The Jacksonville Jaguars will play host to the Falcons at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 1 in Week four at Wembley Stadium, broadcast nationally on ESPN+. The game is expected to be simulcast locally in Metro Atlanta.

Week five will see C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans travel to Atlanta and face the Falcons on Oct. 8. Notably, the Falcons will not have a bye week after playing in London. On October 15th, the Washington Commanders will pay a visit to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Four of the Falcons first six games will be played at home.

Weeks seven and eight will see the Falcons hit the road to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 22nd and the Tennessee Titans on October 29th, respectively.

November 5th the Atlanta Falcons will face Justin Jefferson and the Minnesota Vikings for Week Nine. The Falcons will then fly to the desert to face Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 12 for Week Ten.

After the bye week in Week Eleven, the Falcons will return home and host heated rivals, the New Orleans Saints, on November 26th in Week Twelve action. Hopefully, all of the Thanksgiving holiday leftovers will be thrown out by then… for the Falcons’ sake, they hope their playoff hopes won’t be spoiled as well.

December is always the most pivotal time of the season and the Falcons will take on Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets at the Meadowlands in Week 13 on December 3rd. Week 14 (Dec. 10) will see the Falcons take on the Buccaneers and the Panthers on Week 15 (Dec. 17).

Anthony Richardson and the Indianapolis Colts will visit Atlanta on Christmas Eve for Week 16, followed by a visit to Chicago to face Justin Fields and the Bears.

The Falcons will end the season against Derek Carr and the New Orleans Saints on January 7th in Week 18. By then, we will know if Atlanta would be in playoff contention, be printing up division championship t-shirts and hats, or would miss the playoffs for the sixth straight year.

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Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...