Falcons release regular season schedule

Jimmy Cribb/AtlantaFalcons.com

The National Football League today released the 2014 regular season schedule. This year, Atlanta’s schedule includes two nationally televised games, including an appearance on Thursday Night Football against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 3) and a Monday Night matchup at Green Bay (Week 14). Along with a pair of primetime games, Atlanta will also host the Detroit Lions at Wembley Stadium (Week 13) in London, England.

In 2014, 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 North in intra-conference play as well as the AFC North in inter-conference play. The Birds will travel to New York to face the NFC East’s New York Giants and host the Arizona Cardinals. Atlanta’s 2014 opponents posted a combined 103-103-2 (.500) record last season and since the NFL realigned its divisions in 2002, the Falcons are 34-38 (.472) against the NFC South. Under Head Coach Mike Smith, the Falcons have posted a 60-36 (.625) overall record, which is tied for the sixth-best record in the NFL over the last six seasons. Since 2008, Atlanta owns a 33-24 (.579) record against its 2014 opponents.

The Falcons will face four playoff teams from 2013, including two games against both Carolina (Week 11 & Week 17) and New Orleans (Week 1 & Week 16). The Falcons will also travel to Green Bay (Week 14) and Cincinnati (Week 2).

The Falcons play two teams featuring first time head coaches, Cleveland (Week 12) under new coach Mike Pettine and Minnesota (Week 4) under first-time head coach Mike Zimmer. Head Coach Mike Smith has compiled a 12-1 record against first-time head coaches in his six seasons in Atlanta.

The Falcons open the season at home for the first time since 2009 when they host the New Orleans Saints in Week 1. Atlanta owns a 46-43 advantage in the all-time series against the Saints, including a 24-20 record at home. The two rival clubs played on Thursday Night Football at the Georgia Dome in each of the last two seasons, including a 17-13 Saints win last season. RB Steven Jackson scored his first rushing touchdown as a Falcon in the loss while K Matt Bryant became the third player in franchise history to record 500 points. Bryant joined Morten Andersen (806) and Mick Luckhurst (558) as the only players in club history to accomplish that feat.

Atlanta travels to Cincinnati for the first time since 2006 in Week 2. The trip marks the 13th meeting between the Falcons and Bengals and the first since a 39-32 Falcons win at the Georgia Dome in 2010. Cincinnati leads the all-time series 7-5, but Atlanta has won each of the last three matchups. The last time the two teams met, WR Roddy White posted one of the best games of his career, catching 11 passes for 201 yards with two touchdowns.

The Falcons make their first primetime appearance in Week 3, hosting a division contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Falcons topped the Bucs 31-23 at the Georgia Dome snapping a three-game losing streak in 2013. The Falcons improved to 5-1 following the bye week under Head Coach Mike Smith with the win. QB Matt Ryan finished the game completing 20 of 26 passes for 273 with three touchdowns and a career-high 148.4 passer rating. He has led the Falcons to an 18-1 record when he throws three-or-more touchdown passes. The win also marked a breakout game for WR Harry Douglas as he caught seven passes for a career-high 149 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown strike.

Atlanta’s Week 4 trip to Minnesota will be the club’s first since 2008. With the Vikings new stadium under construction, the two teams will square off at TCF Bank Stadium, the home of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Falcons have won each of their last two games against the Vikings, including a 24-14 victory at the Georgia Dome in 2011. Ryan completed 27 of 34 passes for 262 yards with three touchdowns and a 128.2 passer rating, while White caught 10 passes for 120 yards and one touchdown. Atlanta’s defense stopped the Vikings on four straight plays, including a fourth down stop by LB Sean Weatherspoon to seal the win in the fourth quarter

The Falcons play back-to-back road games twice in 2014, beginning with a Week 5 trip to MetLife Stadium to face the New York Giants. Atlanta owns an 11-10 advantage in the all-time series between the two clubs, including a 34-0 win over New York at the Georgia Dome in 2012. Ryan tossed three touchdowns in the win while completing 82.1 percent of his passes (23 of 28) and notched a 142.6 passer rating in the win.

Atlanta returns to the Georgia Dome in Week 6 to host the Chicago Bears. The matchup marks the 26th meeting between the two NFC clubs and the first since 2011. The Bears own a 13-12 advantage in the all-time series, including a 30-12 win over the Falcons in the 2011 season opener at Soldier Field. DE Kroy Biermann scored his third career touchdown when he intercepted a QB Jay Cutler pass and returned it 50 yards for a score. Additionally, the matchup with the Bears will mark the first time newly minted Falcons WR Devin Hester will face off against his old team. Hester appeared in 123 games, including 46 starts in eight seasons in Chicago where he tied the NFL record for return touchdowns (19).

The Falcons and Ravens will meet for the fifth time when the Falcons travel to Baltimore in Week 7. The two teams have split the all-time series at two games each with the Falcons winning the last meeting 26-21 in 2010. Trailing 21-20, the Falcons drove 80 yards on seven plays in the final 65 seconds of the game with Ryan finding White for a 33-yard touchdown to snatch the win. The Birds have only played one regular season game at M&T Bank Stadium, a 24-10 loss to the Ravens in 2006.

The Falcons will host the Detroit Lions at Wembley Stadium in London, England on Sunday, October 26 during Week 8 as part of the NFL’s 2014 International Series. Atlanta’s trip to the UK will mark the first time in the club’s 47-year history that it has played in London. The Falcons played a pre-season game in Tokyo, Japan in 2000 and 2005, defeating the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts, respectively, at the Tokyo Dome. The Lions own a 23-12 advantage in the all-time series between the two clubs, but the Falcons have won each of the last three meetings dating back to 2008. Atlanta picked up a 31-18 win at Ford Field in 2012 and Head Coach Mike Smith picked up his first career win in his coaching debut against the Lions in the 2008 season opener at the Georgia Dome.

Following a Week 9 bye, the Falcons head south to Tampa Bay to battle the division rival Buccaneers in Week 10. Atlanta has won two of its last three games at Raymond James Stadium, with the Buccaneers capturing a 41-28 win in Tampa in 2013. WR Harry Douglas posted his third 100-yard game of the season after catching six passes for 134 yards, including a career-long 80-yard touchdown pass. LB Paul Worrilow continued his breakout rookie campaign notching 16 tackles (13 solo) with one tackle for loss giving him three straight games with double digit stops.

Atlanta heads up interstate 85 to Charlotte to battle the Carolina Panthers in Week 11 marking the Birds second straight division game. The Falcons and Panthers will meet for the 20th time at Bank of America Stadium with Carolina holding a 10-9 lead in the all-time series. Despite a 34-10 loss in Charlotte in 2013, Ryan broke QB Steve Bartkowski’s franchise record for career completions with his 1,872nd career completion on a 32-yard pass to WR Harry Douglas.

After back-to-back road games, Atlanta returns to the Georgia Dome in Week 12 to host Cleveland for the first time since 2006. The Browns own a 10-3 advantage in the all-time series with the Falcons winning the last meeting between the two clubs, 20-10, in 2010. Biermann scored his second career touchdown after returning an interception 31 yards for a score to give the Falcons their 10-point winning margin while White caught five passes for 101 yards with one touchdown in the victory.

In their only back-to-back home contests, the Falcons square off against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13, marking the fourth time in the last five seasons the two clubs will meet. The Cardinals lead the all-time series 15-12, but the Falcons have won six of the last nine meetings, including a 23-19 win at the Georgia Dome in 2012. Despite throwing five interceptions, Ryan led the Falcons offense on a seven-play, 70-yard drive to set up the game winning touchdown.

A Monday Night Football matchup in Week 14 has the Falcons traveling to Lambeau Field for the second straight season to battle the Green Bay Packers. The Packers prevailed, 22-21, in a tightly contested matchup last season that saw LB Sean Weatherspoon score his first career touchdown, returning an interception 71 yards inside the final two minutes of the first half. He intercepted a pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage by DT Peria Jerry and then careened off of Worrilow’s foot and into Weatherspoon’s waiting arms. WR Drew Davis posted the longest reception of his career catching a 36-yard touchdown from Ryan. With that score, Ryan eclipsed the 20 touchdown mark for the fifth straight season.

Atlanta hosts the Pittsburgh Steelers for the first time since 2006 in Week 15. Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 12-2-1 and the two teams last met in the 2010 season opener when the Steelers captured a 15-9 win in overtime. White set a career high, catching 13 passes for 111 yards. White has hauled in double digit receptions 11 times during his nine-year career. Under Head Coach Mike Smith, the Falcons have posted a 3-1 record against the AFC North.

The Falcons travel to New Orleans to battle their NFC South Division rival Saints in Week 16. New Orleans owns a 23-22 edge over Atlanta in New Orleans, including a 20-17 advantage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints handed the Falcons a 23-17 season-opening loss at the Superdome in 2013. Trailing by six with 3:12 remaining in the game, Ryan drove the offense 77 yards on 10 plays, but his bid for another fourth-quarter comeback win fell short after his fourth-down pass was intercepted in the endzone. He tossed a pair of touchdowns while completing 25 of 38 pass attempts for 304 yards and a 96.8 QB rating in the loss.

For the second straight year, the Falcons will host the Carolina Panthers in the season finale. Atlanta has tackled a division opponent in the final week of the season in each of the last five years. The Falcons own a 23-15 all-time record against the Panthers, including a 14-5 mark at the Dome. The Falcons closed out the 2013 season with a 21-20 loss to the Panthers pushing Head Coach Mike Smith’s record against Carolina to 7-5 dating back to 2008. Ryan became the Falcons all-time leading passer in the 2013 season finale after completing 28 of 40 passes for 280 yards. He broke Bartkowski’s club record 23,470 yards and enters the 2014 season with 23,472 career passing yards.


2014 Preseason Schedule

Date Opponent Time Network

Friday, August 8 MIAMI 7:00 p.m. WUPA-TV (CW69)

Saturday, August 16 at Houston 8:00 p.m. WUPA-TV (CW69)

Saturday, August 23 TENNESSEE 7:00 p.m. WUPA-TV (CW69)

Thursday, August 28 at Jacksonville 6:00 p.m. WUPA-TV (CW69)


2014 Regular Season Schedule

Date Opponent Time Network

Sunday, September 7 NEW ORLEANS 1:00 p.m. FOX

Sunday, September 14 at Cincinnati 1:00 p.m. CBS

Thursday, September 18 TAMPA BAY 8:25 p.m. CBS/NFL Network

Sunday, September 28 at Minnesota 4:25 p.m. FOX

Sunday, October 5 at New York Giants 1:00 p.m.* FOX

Sunday, October 12 CHICAGO 1:00 p.m.* FOX

Sunday, October 19 at Baltimore 1:00 p.m.* FOX

Sunday, October 26 DETROIT (London) 9:30 a.m. FOX

Sunday, November 2 BYE

Sunday, November 9 at Tampa Bay 1:00 p.m.* FOX

Sunday, November 16 at Carolina 1:00 p.m.* FOX

Sunday, November 23 CLEVELAND 1:00 p.m.* CBS

Sunday, November 30 ARIZONA 4:05 p.m.* FOX

Monday, December 8 at Green Bay 8:30 p.m.* ESPN

Sunday, December 14 PITTSBURGH 1:00 p.m.* CBS

Sunday, December 21 at New Orleans 1:00 p.m.* FOX

Sunday, December 28 CAROLINA 1:00 p.m.* FOX


Home games in bold caps; all kickoffs are Eastern Standard Time.

* Denotes Flexible Scheduling


Flexible Scheduling

For the first time, flexible scheduling may be applied in Weeks 5-10. During that period, flexible scheduling can be used in no more than two weeks by shifting a Sunday afternoon game into primetime and moving the Sunday night game to an afternoon start time.


Also, for the first time, a select number of games are being “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences.


“Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 11-17 as it has been in recent years. In Weeks 11-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game.

-Atlanta Falcons press release


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