Posted: 8:01 pm Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

5 things to know about the Falcons’ 2014 schedule 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

Matt Ryan is sacked by Akiem Hicks, one of three New Orleans sacks in last season's opener at the Superdome. (Bill Haber / Associated Press)

Matt Ryan is sacked by Akiem Hicks, one of three New Orleans sacks in last season’s opener at the Superdome. (Bill Haber / Associated Press)

FLOWERY BRANCH — The NFL released the Falcons’ 2014 schedule on Wednesday.

Here’s our quickie analysis. Check back later for more in depth coverage of the schedule.

1. Falcons open against Saints in rematch of Vaccaro-Gate game.

2. Only two nationally televised games. (Thurs vs. Tampa Bay and MNF at Packers)

3. Falcons play outdoors in Minnesota in September.

4. Bye Week is exactly at the halfway point.

5. Last quarter of the season is pretty rugged with games against Green Bay, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Carolina.

EXHIBITION SEASON

7 p.m., Aug. 8, Friday — vs. Miami

8 p.m., Aug. 16, Saturday — at Houston

7 p.m., Aug. 23, Saturday – vs. Tennessee

6 p.m., Aug. 28, Thursday – at Jacksonville

REGULAR SEASON 

1 p.m., Sept. 7, Sunday — New Orleans

1 p.m., Sept. 14, Sunday – at Cincinnati

8:25 p.m., Sept. 18, Thursday – vs. Tampa Bay (CBS)

4:25 p.m., Sept. 28, Sunday – at Minnesota

1 p.m., Oct. 5, Sunday – at New York Giants  

1 p.m., Oct. 12, Sunday – vs. Chicago

1 p.m., Oct. 19, Sunday — at Baltimore

9:30 a.m., Oct. 26, Sunday  — vs. Detroit at London

Sunday Nov. 2 – BYE WEEK

1 p.m., Nov. 9, Sunday – at Tampa Bay

1 p.m., Nov. 16, Sunday – at Carolina

1 p.m., Nov. 23, Sunday — vs. Cleveland

4:05 p.m., Nov. 30, Sunday – vs. Arizona

8:30 p.m., Dec. 8, Monday – at Green Bay (MNF – ESPN)

1 p.m., Dec. 14, Sunday – vs. Pittsburgh

1 p.m., Dec. 21, Sunday – at New Orleans Saints

1 p.m., Dec. 28, Sunday– vs. Carolina

FALCONS’ DRAFT BOARD

–A look at Louisville LB Preston Brown

–A look at Iowa TE C.J. Fiedorowicz

–A look at Texas OLB/DE Jackson Jeffcoat

–A look at West Virginia RB Charles Sims

–A look at Auburn DE Dee Ford

–A look at Brigham Young OLB Kyle Van Noy

–A look at Arizona State OLB/DE Carl Bradford

--A look at Missouri DE Kony Ealy

–A look at Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro

–A look at Alabama S Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix

–A look at Minnesota DT Ra’Shede Hageman

–A look at Buffalo LB Khalil Mack

–BLOG: A list of the confirmed players at LOCALS DAY on Tuesday

–BLOG: FSU linebacker Telvin Smith visited the Falcons on Monday

–Falcons check out Towson State RB Terrance West, CB Jordan Love (UGA transfer)

–MyAJC ($): Eye-test vs. Tape-measure test: Falcons must trust their eyes during draft prep. 

FALCONS REWIND

–Blog: Falcons are not switching to a 3-4 defense front, they’ve been using it for past 2 seasons

–Blog: New jersey numbers picked; Devin Hester to wear No. 17

–Blog: Falcons awarded three compensatory picks

–Blog: Lamar Holmes was a performance-pay leader in 2014

–Blog: Umenyiora will return in 2014, no restructured deal

–Blog: Falcons release FB Bradie Ewing

–Blog: Falcons WR Roddy White owes Mercer fan some prime tickets

–Blog: Falcons owner Arthur Blank engaged to be married.  

–Blog: Former Falcons WR Kevin Cone to work out for Carolina

–Blog: Falcons re-sign defensive tackle Peria Jerry

–Blog: NFL to move forward on cleaning up ‘on-field’ language

MEET THE FREE AGENT SIGNEES

–MyAJC ($): Falcons spend $80 million in free agency to buy toughness

–Las Vegas doesn’t like Falcons’ free agency moves

–Falcons Free Agency Tracker — Falcons have committed $107.36 million to salaries 

–Q&A with PR/KR/WR Devin Hester

–Q&A with Falcons right guard Jon Asamoah

–Q&A with Falcons defensive end Tyson Jackson

–Q&A with Falcons defensive tackle Paul Soliai

2014 NFL DRAFT CENTRAL

–Mock Draft 1.0: Falcons trade out of sixth spot to land Pryor and Ebron

–12 teams who could draft UGA star Aaron Murray

–Louisville LB Preston Brown to work out for the Falcons

–Louisville DE Marcus Smith to work out for the Falcons

–MyAJC ($): OT Greg Robinson, DE Dee Ford shine at Auburn’s Pro Day

–VIDEO: Tackle Greg Robinson on Auburn’s Pro Day

–VIDEO: Running back Tra Mason on Auburn’s Pro Day

–Blog & VIDEO: Clemson QB Tajh Boyd has stellar Pro Day showing

–VIDEO: Clemson WR Sammy Watkins on his Pro Day

16 comments
DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

If they keep Steven Jackson he's gone to have to stay healthy the entire season. Julio Jones is another guy that can't afford to lose games. Now with a good safety another linebacker who is can bring the wood plus  a defensive end who can generate ten sacks--- that defense should be much improved. Mike Smith and crew better bring their A game and some luck.......

slydawg
slydawg

This is the most balanced but unfair schedule I have ever seen. You effectively will not have a home game for 5 weeks. Yet, broken down in two parts, the schedule is balanced in a weird sort way....hhhhhmmmm..... However, it is manageable and if the Falcons are lucky enough to make the playoffs, they'll at least be hardened some.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Darrell.....As always thanks for the hard work.

I love it!!....Next year starts exactly like last year. This time the Falcons open @ their Dome. Same as last year, the winner takes off -- the loser is headed for trouble.

--

I think Cincy & Cle have more talent in the AFC North than Balt or Pitt. A good Falcons team can easily go 3&1 against that division.

NFC North is a cake-walk. Gotta beat Minn, Chi & Det.

--

10&6 gets the Falcons in the Real Season.

There's 10 wins on that schedule. :)

JSSN
JSSN

While they gave them a huge break (again) on Winter weather; they made up for it with the last 5 week stretch. Arizona (H), Green Bay (A - night prime time in Dec. outdoors), Steelers (H), Saints (A), and close with Carolina (H). It's gonna be interesting.

ATLFan
ATLFan

Can't wait 'til Sept 7th at the Dome! Time for some serious payback against the Saints and to set the tone for a great resurgent FALCON season.

Section 322
Section 322

5 week stretch without a home game...that sucks


DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

Not a bad schedule. But this is the NFL, it's never going to be "easy". Loving the Saints game week 1 in the Georgia Dome though. Gonna be rocking in the Dome ! This time we will come away with the win! We're going to be a lot tougher this season!

Rory_Bellows
Rory_Bellows

The "We don't get respect because we only get 2 prime time games" whine starts in.........

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

JSS......Who's running the rock for Pitt!? Their Lb's & D-Linemen aren't up to traditional LaBeau standards either.

You love those Cards! I like their HC & their D. Don't like their QB! We'll take that one.

GB & NO are QB driven teams. Not much else. A beleaguered Falcons squad last year shoulda/woulda/coulda went 3&0 against those two last year.

Car takes a step back this year.

notPlanB
notPlanB

We had that win last year if S Jax hadn't dropped the TD pass with seconds to go.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@Rory_Bellows  Wrong. I actually like 1:00 games. We had 5 prime time games last season and look how that turned out. Stay under the radar

JSSN
JSSN

@BigCrimson75  

Crimson, Pittsburgh is going back to power football, Between (LeGarrette) Blount and and a 2nd year (La'Von) Bell they've got olenty of horses in their barn. After Week 9, the Steelers defense stabilized. They don't have to be the 2007 Steelers Blitzburg D, it's the Falcons, even with a 2009 Gonzlalez, the Falcons can't do what you need to do to hurt the Steelers, exploit them between the hashes. We'll agree to disagree. 

I love Bruce Arians, always have (said it last year). Unlike that fool who always comes in here trying to tie me to the hip with (Carson) Palmer, I know his limitations. But as long as they have that defense and Arians calling plays against Smith and Nolan, I'll take that against the book any day!

Seriously, if GB and the Saints are QB driven, what in the heck are the Smith Falcons? Since the day Aaron Rodgers lit them up like Rich's Christmas tree, it's been all about that QB! Better question is who is gonna carry the load in the backfield where no one is gonna respect the middle of the field? In Green Bay, Eddie Lacy ain't going any where. They'll be healthy for the first time in their offensive line for the first time since the Super Bowl year. The only question is center play, Thompson choice is finally going to be hiking it to Rodgers. Matt Flynn is not Aaron Rodgers, Slow Hand is back, you haven't stopped him since 2008 really. SF and Seattle have, Atlanta no! He beat himself in the first meeting of 2010, the 2nd and 3rd ones, well, just don't put in those tapes!

Even if Carolina takes a step back, they still have that running game that regardless of the DC in Atlanta has never posted less than 107 yards in a game during the Smith era! Even when they were bad (post Jimmy Clausen), they've given the Falcons fits! 

JSSN
JSSN

@notPlanB  

And Bills and Redskins fans had win(s) too,  I guess they to be crying over that spilled milk too!

Rory_Bellows
Rory_Bellows

@DawgGoneIt @Rory_Bellows  As do I, but there is always some pin head that seems to think the lack of prime time games is a slap in the face of the Falcons fans......Those who don't have to go to work the next day fans.