The Falcons' 2016 roster is constantly evolving and we've amassed all the players in one gallery that will be updated throughout the year
The National Football League today released the 2015 regular season schedule. This year, Atlanta’s schedule includes two nationally televised games, including an opening weekend appearance on ESPN’s Monday Night Football against the Philadelphia Eagles (Week 1) and a Thursday Night Football matchup at New Orleans (Week 6).
In 2015, the Falcons will face their customary NFC South rivals, Carolina, New Orleans and Tampa Bay both at home and on the road. Atlanta will also battle the NFC East in conference play as well as the AFC South in inter-conference play. The Birds will travel to San Francisco to face the 49ers (Week 8) and host the Minnesota Vikings (Week 12). Atlanta’s 2015 opponents posted a combined 88-119-1 (.425) record last season.
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The Falcons will face three playoff teams from 2014, including two games against Carolina (Week 14 & Week 16), a home contest against Indianapolis (Week 11) and a matchup with Dallas at AT&T Stadium (Week 3).
Atlanta opens the season against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Georgia Dome as the first game of ESPN’s Monday Night Football doubleheader. The last time the Falcons opened season at home on Monday Night Football was in 2005 when they defeated the the Eagles, 14-10. The season opening matchup marks the first time the Falcons have hosted the Eagles since 2011, when Atlanta posted a 35-31 victory in its home opener. The Eagles lead the all-time series between the two clubs 15-12-1, but the Falcons came away with a 30-17 win at Lincoln Financial Field in their last meeting in 2012. QB Matt Ryan completed 22 of 29 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns. One of those touchdowns was thrown to WR Julio Jones, who caught all five passes thrown his way for 123 yards on the day.
The Falcons face the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium for the second straight year during Week 2. The Giants tied up the all-time series at 11 games each with a 30-20 win in Week 5 last season. Despite the loss, WR Roddy White caught his 700th career pass and became one of 11 active players with 700-or-more receptions. RB Antone Smith finished the game with three receptions for 83 yards and one TD. His 74 yard catch-and-run score was the longest touchdown of his career and his third TD of 50-plus yards.
The Falcons will play the Cowboys for the first time since 2012 in Week 3. The Cowboys lead the all-time series 14-9, and won the last game against the Falcons at AT&T Stadium, 37-21, in 2009. Atlanta won its last matchup against the Cowboys, taking a 19-13 win at the Georgia Dome in 2012. With a 26-yard catch on Atlanta’s first possession of the second half, White became the Falcons all-time leading receiver, breaking WR Terance Mathis’ franchise record for career receptions (573).
In Week 4, the Birds will face the Houston Texans for just the fourth time in club history and the second time at the Georgia Dome. The Texans lead the all-time series 2-1, including a 17-10 win at NRG Stadium in 2011. All three games have been decided by 10 points or less and the last meeting between the two teams pitted Ryan against current Atlanta backup QB T.J. Yates, a former Texans starter.
The Falcons welcome the Washington Redskins to the Georgia Dome in Week 5. The Redskins lead the all-time series 14-8-1 with the last meeting between the two clubs being decided on a failed two-point conversion by the Redskins in 2013. The Falcons forced seven turnovers, including interceptions from then rookie CB Desmond Trufant and veteran S William Moore while Ryan threw for 210 yards and one touchdown as the Falcons snuck past the Redskins 27-26 at the Georgia Dome.
The Falcons head south to the Big Easy to face the Saints in a Thursday night clash in Week 6. Atlanta holds a 48-43 advantage in the all-time series, and went 2-0 against the Saints in 2014, which marked its first season sweep against New Orleans since 2005. The last time the Falcons visited the Mercedes Benz Superdome, they knocked the Saints from the NFC playoff race with a 30-14 victory. During that game Ryan completed 30 of 40 pass attempts with one touchdown. Also, Jones had seven receptions for 107 yards, and RB Devonta Freeman recorded his second career touchdown.
The Falcons face the Titans for the first time since 2011, traveling to Tennessee in Week 7. The Titans lead the all-time head-to-head series 7-6. In their last meeting, Ryan completed 22 of 32 passes for 316 yards and one touchdown while White caught seven passes for 147 yards, and K Matt Bryant connected on all three of his field goal attempts to lead the Falcons to a 23-17 win.
The Falcons host the Buccaneers in Week 8. Atlanta rolled to a 56-14 win over Tampa Bay in their meeting at the Georgia Dome last season, which saw WR Devin Hester break former Falcon Deion Sanders’ all-time return touchdown record (20) with a 62-yard punt return score. Hester also recorded his first career rushing touchdown on a 20-yard reverse.
In NFL Week 9, The Falcons head west to face the 49ers for the first time at Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers lead the head-to-head meetings between the two former NFC West rivals, 45-29-1. Atlanta last traveled to San Francisco in 2013, playing in the final game at historic Candlestick Park on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. The Falcons had a four-game regular season winning streak snapped, falling 34-24 despite an impressive effort that saw Ryan throwing for 348 yards and connect on 77.1 percent of his passes. White has enjoyed playing in the Bay Area, posting 20 catches, 351 yards and three touchdowns in two games on the road against the 49ers.
Following a Week 10 bye, the Falcons will face the Indianapolis Colts for the first time since 2011 in Week 11. The matchup will be the first time Atlanta has hosted Indianapolis since 2007 and the 15th overall meeting between the two franchises. The Colts lead the all-time series 13-2, but the Falcons walked away from Lucas Oil Stadium with a 31-7 win in their last meeting in four years ago. Ryan and Jones connected on three big plays for a total of 131 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yard score. Ryan finished the game with 275 yards, three touchdowns, and a 120.7 quarterback rating.
In Week 12, the Falcons battle the Minnesota Vikings for the second time in as many years. This will be the first time the Falcons have hosted the Vikings at the Georgia Dome since 2011, a 24-14 Falcons win. The Vikings lead the all-time series 15-10, and won the 2014 matchup 41-28. White caught his 57th career touchdown and tied Terence Mathis for the franchise lead while Jones finished the game with six receptions for 82 yards.
The Falcons begin a three week stretch of road games with a trip to Florida in Week 13 to take on their NFC South division rival Tampa Bay. The Birds lead the all-time series 22-21, and swept the Bucs in 2014. Atlanta outscored the Tampa Bay 83-31 last year in two head-to-head meetings, including a 27-17 win at Raymond James Stadium. Bryant was four for four on field goals, and became the second player in franchise history to reach 600 career points.
The Falcons kick off December with the second of back-to-back division contests, traveling to Charlotte to face the Carolina Panthers in Week 14. During the Falcons 20th visit to Bank of America Stadium last season, Atlanta tied up the head-to-head series in Charlotte 10-10 with a 19-17 win. White caught eight passes for 75 yards and reached 10,000 career receiving yards in the win. He became one of only eight active players and the 42ndplayer in NFL history to accomplish that feat.
The Falcons return to the Sunshine State for the second time in three weeks for a Week 15 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars hold a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series, but the Falcons won the last matchup 41-14 in 2011 at the Georgia Dome. White caught 10 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns while Ryan finished the game with 224 passing yards, three touchdowns and a 137.3 passer rating.
The Falcons close out the season with another set of division games, first against the Carolina Panthers in Week 16. The Falcons have won four of the past six matchups against the Panthers at home and are looking to get back on track against their division rival after losing the last two at the Georgia Dome against Carolina. White caught eight passes for 104 yards in the Falcons last home contest against the Panthers, improving his franchise record for career 100-yard receiving games to 39.
The season finale features a Falcons-Saints matchup at the Georgia Dome in Week 17. Atlanta and New Orleans opened the 2014 season with a 37-34 overtime thriller at the Dome that resulted in a Falcons win. Atlanta recorded 568 total net yards, which was the highest single game yardage total in franchise history. Ryan threw three touchdowns to become the franchise’s all-time leader in touchdown passes (156), and broke the franchise record for passing yards in a single game with 448.