The NFL released the 2011 regular season schedule today, which could be considered somewhat tentative given the current labor crisis, at least during the early portion of the season.
But the Falcons will be prominently featured in 2011, with four prime-time matchups. Their first game will be at Sunday Night on NBC for the home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2. In Week 5, they will get a rematch on Sunday Night against the Green Bay Packers, also a home game. The Falcons will host the Jacksonville Jaguars on a Thursday night game on the NFL Network on December 15. And the Falcons will close out ESPN’s Monday Night schedule with a road game against their divisional rival New Orleans Saints on December 26.
The Falcons begin the 2011 season on the road, facing the Chicago Bears on September 11. They will get their first taste of NFC South competition in Week 3 in another road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That will be followed up by another road game against the Seattle Seahawks. They will follow that up with two home dates against the previous mentioned Packers in primetime and then the Carolina Panthers in Week 6. A road game against the Detroit Lions will precede their Week 8 bye week.
Coming out of the bye the Falcons won’t have it easy since they will travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts. They follow that tough road test with three home dates against the Saints, Titans, and Vikings. In Week 13, they will travel to Houston to face the Texans and then follow that up with another road game against the Panthers. The Falcons will close out the season at home against the Bucs.
Their three divisional games in the final four weeks will likely play heavily in their ability to repeat as NFC South champions. The Falcons don’t start the season easy, with four of their first five opponents being 2010 playoff teams, and the fifth, the Bucs, sporting a winning record.