Two games that will challenge the Atlanta Falcons in 2019
The Atlanta Falcons are less than 45 days away from their week-one showdown against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Atlanta Falcons’ schedule is a 17-week sprint full of heavy-weight rematches, divisional dogfights and a number of trap games.
The front end of the schedule is loaded with playoff teams. Five of the first eight opponents on the Falcons’ schedule made the playoffs in 2018.
The first eight weeks of the season will present a challenge to Dan Quinn and his defense. The Falcons will face a variety of explosive offenses lead by versatile quarterbacks. Each week will present a new challenge.
Dan Quinn’s defense will have to defend against Andrew Luck in week 3, Deshaun Watson in week 5 and Jared Goff in week 7. But with Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen and Deion Jones returning from injury, the Falcons won’t be shorthanded like they were in 2018.
The back end of the schedule will determine where the Falcons finish in the NFC South. All six of this year’s divisional match-ups will take place during the last eight weeks of the season.
The Atlanta Falcons’ schedule is anything but a walk in the park. The Falcons have the seventh toughest strength of schedule in 2019. With a combined record of 132-123-1, the Falcons’ 2019 opponents had a combined win percentage of .518 in the 2018.
Needless to say, if the Falcons want to bounce back after a disappointing 7-9 season in 2018, they have their work cut out for them. It’s going to be a battle from start to finish.
With all that said, here are a couple can’t-miss games on the Falcons’ 2019 schedule.
Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings (Week 1)
After failing to live up to the hype in 2018, both the Minnesota Vikings and the Atlanta Falcons will be hungry for a hot start. Expect a raucous crowd at Bank America Stadium and energized play from both teams.
But what makes this matchup standout on a schedule packed to the brim with intriguing games? For the Falcons, it’s all about putting words into action and action into results. This game is a gauge for everything that’s been talked about this entire off-season.
We’ve heard that Freeman is back. We’ve seen the front office address the offensive line. And we’ve seen Dan Quinn take a different approach with Vic Beasley. But none of this matters if it doesn’t translate to game day; none of this matters if it doesn’t translate to wins.
Week 1 is a chance for Falcons fans to get a taste of the change and improvement that’s been touted this off-season. What does Dirk Koetter’s return look like in action? What does Calvin Ridley have in store for year two? Can Matt Ryan continue to dominate as he enters his 12th season.
It will take an entire season to find out, but the Falcons’ week 1 duel against the Vikings should give us a glimpse of what’s to come.
Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans (Week 5)
In a cross-conference showdown, the Atlanta Falcons will head to the Lone star State for a shootout with Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans. These two teams last played in the 2015-2016 season. The Falcons won by a score of 48-21.
There was one big difference, though: Deshaun Watson wasn’t even drafted by the Texans yet. Watson looks to take his game to even greater heights in 2019 after throwing for 26 touchdowns and 4,165 yards in 2018.
His quarterback play will certainly challenge the entire Falcons defense. Newly promoted Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver will have his work cut out for him.
It will also be a big test for newly drafted offensive linemen Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary. Defensive end J.J. Watt is still a force to be reckoned with as he heads into his ninth season. He was second in sacks last year with 16, and he racked up seven forced fumbles.
Lastly, it will be a battle of two of the top wide receivers in the league between Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins.