Falcons prepared to face added challenges to 2013 schedule

Kevin C. Cox

A fourth of the Falcons opponents will be coming off extra rest this season. Don't worry, this isn't a cause for concern in Atlanta.

The Buffalo Bills are already looking for ways to explain what will presumably be another dismal season in 2013. Chris Brown, the Lead Journalist for the team's official website, investigated the Bills' schedule for the upcoming year and discovered they are at a disadvantage based on the extra rest and prep time opponents will have before playing them.

This wasn't well-received by everyone, though.

I promise this isn't a post entirely dedicated to the Bills; it was just a bit comical. But Brown also pointed out the Atlanta Falcons are close to being in the same boat. Jay Adams decided to delve into the topic, and he found out why the Falcons' schedule is a bit more challenging than how it appears at first glance. (Notice he doesn't complain about unfair scheduling but simply says it's a challenge.)

Adams found out that four teams will have extra rest before playing the Falcons in 2013. Take a look.

  • Arizona Cardinals - The Cardinals host Seattle on Thursday Night Football on Oct. 17 and will get about 10 days to prepare to face the Falcons on Oct. 27 (Week 8).
  • Carolina Panthers - The first meeting between the Falcons and Panthers will allow Carolina to, also, come off about 10 days' preparation after they face Tampa Bay on Thursday Night Football on Oct. 24. The Falcons travel to Carolina for a Week 9 matchup.
  • Buffalo Bills - The Falcons will get some extra rest themselves, facing New Orleans on Thursday Night Football on Nov. 21, before traveling to Toronto to play the Bills, but the Bills will be coming off their bye week.
  • Green Bay Packers - The week after playing Buffalo, the Falcons will travel to Green Bay for a Dec. 8 Sunday Night Football date with the Packers. Green Bay, however, will be coming off their Thursday Night Football game and get extra rest before hosting Atlanta.

Which opponents had extra rest in 2012, and how did the Falcons fare against them last season?

1) Kansas City, Week 1: Typical NFL, giving teams extra rest right of the bat before they play the Falcons. Atlanta easily came away with a victory at Arrowhead, even though the Chiefs had like the whole preseason and training camp to prepare.

2) Carolina, Week 4: The Panthers were embarrassed by the Giants on Thursday night, 10 days prior to playing the Falcons. This set up a closely contested game at the Dome, but Atlanta emerged with a 30-28 win after Matt Bryant's 40-yard field goal with five seconds left.

3) Oakland, Week 6: Coming off their bye week, Carson Palmer gave the Falcons defense a bit of a scare. But Bryant came through again with a 55-yarder at the end of the fourth quarter. Atlanta won 23-20.

4) Philadelphia, Week 8: Another team with a bye week to prepare for the Falcons, the Eagles looked awful on that dreary October afternoon. Atlanta was up 24-7 at halftime, and it basically cruised from there.

5) Arizona, Week 11: The Cardinals were the third team coming off a bye week to play the Falcons next. Matt Ryan threw five interceptions, the team rushed for 58 yards and Atlanta still won 23-19. Watching the combo of Ryan Lindley and John Skelton provided a few laughs.

So, five games against opponents with extra prep time, five wins. Maybe the Falcons don't consider this such a disadvantage.

For 2013, look at their opponents that have more time off. The Cardinals and Bills? The NFL should consider giving these two teams a month off before they play the Falcons. Matchups with Carolina always seem to be interesting, but we saw Atlanta win in the same scenario last season. As for the Packers, well, that game may be problematic. Green Bay is tough no matter what the situation, though.

The Falcons have a difficult road this season. It doesn't matter who's getting additional prep/rest time. But take solace in the fact that they went 5-0 in these scenarios in 2012.

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