Who are the Atlanta Falcons’ 2021 NFL opponents as they look to bounce back from a poor performance in the 2020 season? Let’s look at who the Falcons will play in 2021, and what that means in terms of their strength of schedule ranking compared to their rivals.
Who do the Falcons play in 2021?
The Falcons’ list of 2021 opponents will see them play the regular six games against the NFC South: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As is customary, the Falcons will face each of those three teams both at home and on the road during the 2021 season.
In addition, the 2021 season will see the NFC South compete against the NFC East and AFC East for another eight games. Finally, the remaining two games on the traditional 16-game schedule will see the Falcons face the two teams that finished in last place of the NFC North (Detroit Lions) and NFC West (San Francisco 49ers).
What about the Falcons’ 17th game in 2021?
The 2021 season is expected to introduce a 17th regular season game for all NFL teams. Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport reported on NFL.com that plans are in place to expand the regular season, although their report has yet to be officially confirmed by the NFL. Therefore, who would be the opponent for the Falcons’ 17th game in the 2021 season?
Reports suggest that a decision has been made on how the 17th game opponent will be decided. The matchup will be an interconference matchup based on standings on a rotational basis.
Albert Breer reports that the divisional alignments for the 2021 season had already been set. According to Breer, the NFC South will face the AFC South for the 17th game. Therefore, the Falcons’ opponent for their 17th game in 2021 would be the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Atlanta Falcons’ 2021 opponents
Here are the teams that the Atlanta Falcons will play against in the 2021 NFL season:
Home: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Football Team, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Detroit Lions
Road: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers
17th game (location TBD): Jacksonville Jaguars
Atlanta Falcons’ strength of schedule for 2021
As we look ahead towards the 2021 NFL season, how does the Falcons’ strength of schedule for 2021 shape up? The strength of schedule rankings are compiled from the 2020 records of the Falcons’ 2021 opponents.
The Falcons have one of the easiest schedules in 2021
The Falcons’ 2021 strength of schedule ranks 30th in the league. They have the third-easiest schedule in the NFC and the easiest schedule in the NFC South. Only the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys project to have easier schedules within the NFC.
The six games against their own division see the Falcons facing two teams who won a total of 23 of their 32 games; the Panthers won five of their 16 games. The Falcons’ schedule sees them playing a total of six games against teams that made the playoffs last season. Four of those will be within their division against the Saints and Buccaneers. Meanwhile, the other two come against Washington and the Bills.
However, the remaining games see a far easier group of opponents. The Dolphins are the only other team to have won double-digit games. Therefore, the other 10 games will be against teams that won between one and seven games last season.
How does their schedule at home compare to their schedule on the road?
When it comes to their 2021 opponents, the Falcons have an intriguing home and road split. Their home schedule at Mercedes-Benz Stadium ranks as the third easiest in the entire NFL. This is due to home matchups with the Panthers, Jets, Eagles, and Lions.
However, their road schedule ranks as the ninth-toughest in the league. The Falcons will have to travel to face both the Bills and Dolphins, significantly increasing the difficulty.
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