The Atlanta Falcons 2014 regular season schedule was announced tonight. The team’s 13 opponents have been known since the end of the regular season, but the order in which they will face the Falcons was unknown until tonight.
One game had been previously announced as the Falcons would face the Detroit Lions in Week 8 in London, England. That game will be considered one of the Falcons’ eight home games, and will be played on Sunday, October 6 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.
The Falcons open the 2014 regular season at home against NFC South division rival, the New Orleans Saints on September 7. The team opened this past season on the road against the Saints, and will have a chance to avenge a close loss.
Their first road game comes the following week against the Cincinnati Bengals. They return home on a short week to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home on Thursday Night Football, which will be simulcast on NFL Network and CBS in their first primetime appearance. It marks the team’s sixth consecutive home game on Thursday night.
The Falcons then catch a few extra days’ rest before traveling to take on the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4. They continue their road trip to start the second quarter of the season against the New York Giants. The team returns home in Week 6 to face the Chicago Bears before going back on the road against the Baltimore Ravens.
That is followed up by the “home” game against the Lions in London. After which, the team receives a bye week before returning to action in Week 10 on the road against the Buccaneers. Their first action of the year against the Carolina Panthers comes the following week on the road.
Week 12 begins a two-game home stint where they host the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals. That is followed by their second primetime action against the Green Bay Packers on the road in Week 14 to be played Monday, December 8 on ESPN.
They return home to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15, followed by a road game against the Saints. They close out the regular season at home against the Panthers on December 28.
News of schedule’s release also came with a new stipulation about flex scheduling. Games can be flexed into primetime on Sunday night as early as Week 5 beginning this season. The league won’t be allowed to flex a game every week as they have a cap of up to two games over the six-week span from Week 5 to Week 10. Thereafter, starting in Week 11, the normal flex rules apply in which the league can flex any Sunday game into primetime if given 12 days notice. Thursday, Saturday, and Monday games are not eligible to be flexed.
There also will be a new “cross flex” procedure in which games can be flexed between networks of CBS and FOX. It will mean that to better balance out broadcasts, it will be possible that two NFC opponents could be aired on CBS and vice-versa for AFC opponents on FOX.