The Falcons 2017 regular-season schedule is out. Not surprisingly for a Super Bowl participant, it features five primetime games, including three Sunday Night Football appearances.
More interestingly, it's a schedule of streaks.
At various points, the Falcons 2017 slate features three consecutive games against NFC North opponents, four straight AFC East matchups, three in-a-row on the road beginning in October, followed by three-in-row at home beginning in November and finally a closing run against four consecutive division foes. In fact, the Falcons close out the season with nine consecutive NFC clashes.
The NFC Champions will open the season with three games against NFC North foes, including the opener in Chicago against the Bears on September 10.
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Week 2 will mark the regular season debut of Mercedes-Benz stadium in a rematch of the NFC Championship when the Green Bay Packers travel to Atlanta for a Sunday Night Football game. As previously announced, the Falcons will officially open the building during an August 26 preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Atlanta will play their third straight NFC North team in Week 3 when the Falcons travel to Detroit to take on the Lions.
The Falcons then begin a run of four consecutive AFC East matchups that includes two-in-a row at home against the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins followed by the highly anticipated Super Bowl rematch against the New England Patriots in Foxborough. That one will be carried on Sunday Night Football.
In recent years, the NFL has valued divisional games later in the season to help avoid meaningless late season games. But this schedule takes that further than previous years. The Falcons won't face an NFC South foe until Week 9 when they travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers.
In fact, the Falcons will close out the season with nine consecutive NFC games. Matchups against the Cowboys (in Atlanta) and the Seahawks (in Seattle) are part of that run. That showdown in Seattle will be the first of two Monday Night games for the Falcons.
But perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the Falcons 2017 schedule is the way it ends. Five of the Falcons final six games are divisional clashes. In fact, Atlanta closes out with four consecutive NFC South clashes, two of which are against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team many are picking to contend against the Falcons for the division crown.