Falcons vs. Buccaneers, Sept. 11:Atlanta's Week 1 contest is intriguing on several fronts. In addition to being the first meaningful game since January, the Falcons will take on a division rival that features two ex-coaches in Mike Smith and Dirk Koetter. And, now that Jameis Winston is no longer a rookie and Doug Martin has revived his career, the Buccaneers should present some unique challenges.
Falcons vs. Panthers, Oct. 2: Atlanta's Week 16 victory over Carolina was, without a doubt, the most exciting contest of 2015. The Falcons spoiled the Panthers' quest for an undefeated season, and did so in thrilling fashion. The fact that Carolina beat Atlanta 38-0 several weeks earlier made that rematch all the more rewarding. Their first battle of 2016 will come at an important time for the Falcons: After squaring off with the Panthers, Atlanta will head west for a pair of road games against Denver and Seattle—two of the best opponents on the schedule.
Falcons at Broncos, Oct. 9: Going head-to-head with the reigning Super Bowl champions will be a good measuring stick for Atlanta. The Broncos will have a new quarterback under center in 2016, but with Von Miller and Co. still leading that defense, the Falcons will have their hands full when they travel to Sports Authority at Mile High.
Falcons at Seahawks, Oct. 16: For the first time since leaving Seattle for Atlanta, Dan Quinn will coach a game at CenturyLink Field. Many Seahawks whom Quinn mentored will be on the other sideline, and given how many of his pupils have turned into stars, Atlanta will need to bring its best to come out on top.
Falcons vs. Saints, Jan. 1: The final regular season game at the Georgia Dome will be played against—who else?—the Saints. Atlanta's rivalry with New Orleans makes any game between them a dogfight; facing each other on Week 17 only adds to the drama.