Falcons schedule 2023: Dates & times for all 17 games, strength of schedule, final record prediction
Falcons schedule 2023: Dates & times for all 17 games, strength of schedule, final record prediction
Falcons schedule 2023: Dates & times for all 17 games, strength of schedule, final record prediction

The Falcons finished last in the NFC South for the 2022 season, but given the way the division race unfolded, they were just a game out of first place.

Now, Atlanta will look to move up in the divisional pecking order as the third year of the Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot era commences.

The Falcons are taking a risk coming into 2023, however. They are going to roll with second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder as their starter. Ridder made a handful of starts in place of Marcus Mariota during his first season, and while he avoided turnovers, he wasn't a very productive passer. He led the team to a 2-2 record but threw for just 708 yards and two touchdowns in four starts.

Still, Atlanta saw enough from the 2022 third-round pick to trust him as a starter. Ridder will need to step up and take advantage of the highly drafted weapons around him — Kyle Pitts, Drake London and Bijan Robinson — to allow the Falcons to reach their full potential.

The good news is that Ridder should be aided more by his defense in 2023 than he was last year. The team added players like Calais Campbell, Jessie Bates, David Onyemata and Jeff Okudah to upgrade their stop unit. That could allow them to take advantage of a weak-looking schedule and help them jump to the top of the NFC South.

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Here is a complete breakdown of the Falcons’ 2023 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis for all 17 games.

Atlanta Falcons schedule 2023

Below is a look at the Falcons' full schedule for the 2023 NFL season:

Week Date Opponent Kickoff time (ET)  TV
1 Sept. 10 vs. Panthers 1 p.m. Fox
2 Sept. 17 vs. Packers 1 p.m. Fox
3 Sept. 24 at Lions 1 p.m. Fox
4 Oct. 1 at Jaguars (London) 9:30 a.m. ESPN+
5 Oct. 8 vs. Texans 1 p.m. Fox
6 Oct. 15 vs. Commanders 1 p.m. CBS
7 Oct. 22 at Buccaneers 1 p.m. Fox
8 Oct. 29 at Titans 1 p.m. CBS
9 Nov. 5 vs. Vikings 1 p.m. Fox
10 Nov. 12 at Cardinals 4:05 p.m. CBS
11   BYE    
12 Nov. 26 vs. Saints 1 p.m. Fox
13 Dec. 3 at Jets 1 p.m. Fox
14 Dec. 10 vs. Buccaneers 1 p.m. CBS
15 Dec. 16/17 at Panthers TBD TBD
16 Dec. 24 vs. Colts 1 p.m. Fox
17 Dec. 31 at Bears 1 p.m. CBS
18 Jan 6/7 at Saints TBD TBD

Atlanta was in the playoff race last season, but will actually benefit from finishing last in the logjam that was the NFC South. The Falcons will play a last-place schedule as a result of their 7-10 record and that should aid them in their quest to win a weak division. They will also face the entire NFC North and AFC South as a part of the NFL's yearly rotating schedule.

The Falcons will play just four games against last year's playoff teams in 2023. That will include two games against their divisional rival, the Buccaneers, and contests against the Vikings and Jaguars as well.

Falcons strength of schedule

The Falcons are set to have the second-easiest schedule in the NFL for 2023, per Sharp Football Analysis. This analysis is based on the projected win totals for each of Atlanta's opponents for the upcoming season rather than their record in 2023.

It's not a surprise that the Falcons would have a favorable strength of schedule. The NFC South is arguably the weakest division in the NFL, so facing the Buccaneers, Panthers and Saints twice each should give the Falcons a high floor.

Of course, the Falcons also had an easier-than-average schedule in 2022 and still managed just seven wins. So, they will have to take a step forward to take full advantage of their favorable schedule.

Toughest tests: The Falcons don't have a lot of tough games on their schedule in 2023, but they will have a few tricky road games that could trip them up. They will play Aaron Rodgers and the Jets at MetLife Stadium, so the Falcons figure to have issues moving the ball in that one.

Additionally, Atlanta will have to play Chicago and Detroit on the road, and those games will not be easy. The Lions are the prohibitive favorite to win the division while the Bears have made some major acquisitions that will turn them from one of the NFL's worst teams to a potential wild-card contend. Plus, playing at Soldier Field is never easy, even for a ground-dominant team like Atlanta.

If the Falcons can salvage just one win in those three games, they should be pleased. That will give them a chance to compete for the NFC South crown.

Biggest breaks: The Falcons not only have an easy divisional schedule, but they also get to play the teams in the AFC South during the 2023 season. That will create a couple of easier home games for Atlanta against the Texans and Colts, both of whom will be breaking in rookie quarterbacks. That should give the Falcons the advantage in those contests even despite Desmond Ridder's lacking experience.


Additionally, the team will have a couple of winnable road games outside of the division on the schedule. They get to play the Cardinals, who may be the worst team in the NFL, and the Titans, who are well-coached but have several roster holes.

And finally, the Falcons also get to play the Packers at home. In the Aaron Rodgers days, this game would have been a difficult one for Atlanta. But with Jordan Love now at the helm for Green Bay, the Falcons may end up being slight favorites in that game. So, it might not be an easy game, but it's definitely a break in that the matchup won't be as hard as it could have been.

Bottom line: It's easy to find reasons to be optimistic about the Falcons' upcoming season. They have a weak schedule, spent a lot of resources in free agency to improve their defense and have one of the most productive rushing offenses in the NFL.

Sure, Ridder will be a big-time question mark as the team's starter; and having Taylor Heinicke in the fold as the backup plan doesn't exactly inspire a lot of hope.

But still, the Falcons have accumulated enough talent to take advantage of this schedule. And if Arthur Smith and Co. stick to the ground-dominant formula that worked for their offense last season, the Falcons could find themselves grinding out a lot of close wins.

Does that mean that the Falcons will have a winning record? Not necessarily, but expecting them to hover around eight or nine wins seems about right. That makes their win total of eight seem reachable.

Record prediction: 9-8

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