The 2023 Atlanta Falcons schedule has arrived.
The NFL already revealed each team’s opponents for the 2023 season. But the league released its entire schedule on May 11.
As is customary, Atlanta’s schedule can be dissected and analyzed a number of different ways. Here are five early takeaways for the Falcons’ 2023 slate:
No Primetime Games
The most obvious takeaway is the lack of primetime games for the Falcons. In fact, they will be one of four teams to enter the season without a single primetime contest scheduled.
Of Atlanta’s 17 games, 13 of them are scheduled for 1 pm ET. Of the other four, one of them will be in London and kick off at 9:30 am ET. Another will be on the west coast at Arizona and begin at 4:05 pm ET.
The other two are late-season contests that will be scheduled at a later date.
Other than the Falcons, the Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans are the other three teams without a scheduled primetime game.
Coincidentally, the Falcons will play each of those other three teams.
Up until this year, the NFL was required to schedule every team for a primetime matchup. That could have meant seeing a Falcons-Colts, Falcons-Cardinals or Falcons-Texans showdown on Thursday Night Football.
But the NFL will no longer ensure every team gets a primetime game. The Falcons will have to earn one late in the season through the league’s schedule flexing policy.
Front Loaded Home Slate
In the 17-game format, all NFC teams will play nine road games and only eight home contests in odd-numbered years. That will be the case for the Falcons this fall.
But two of those eight home contests will be in the first two weeks for Atlanta. That means the Falcons will play on the road nine times in their final 15 contests.
Arthur Smith’s team will barely be home in the middle of the season. The Falcons will play three times at Mercedes-Benz Stadium from September 24 to Thanksgiving.
Season Finale at New Orleans Saints
Even with the heavy road schedule in October and November, the Falcons will still end the season with two road matchups. Fortunately, both will be against non-playoff teams from a year ago.
But the season finale will be at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Falcons have experienced more success on the road in this hated rivalry in recent years. However, the Saints have still won six of the last seven in the series.
Atlanta is 5-12 at New Orleans since 2006. To earn a playoff spot, though, the Falcons will very likely have to knock off the Saints on the road in the season finale.
Season Opener Against Carolina
Although the matchup is home, the Falcons will also begin the season with an NFC South opponent. The rivalry isn’t quite as strong as Atlanta-New Orleans, but this Week 1 showdown will have some league-wide intrigue from a national perspective.
Both franchises hope this is the first of many matchups between Desmond Ridder and No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young. Smith has already announced Ridder will be Atlanta’s starter. With Andy Dalton his only competition for the starting job, Young will probably be behind center for the Panthers.
No Bye Week After London Trip
It’s been customary for NFL teams to take a week off to travel back across the Atlantic Ocean after playing in Europe. But it has become more popular for teams to save the bye week for another time.
That’s what Smith’s team will do in 2023.
They will play the Jacksonville Jaguars in London during Week 4. The following weekend, the Falcons return home to face the Houston Texans.
It helps that the Week 5 matchup will be in Atlanta. It is also beneficial that the Falcons’ bye week is Week 11, which is immediately after their lone west coast trip (to Arizona) this season.
But the team could potentially have some jet-lagged players at the beginning of October.