We now know the 2015 Falcons schedule, and we know the strength of schedule is pretty reasonable. What we don't know is how this season will turn out—though irresponsible predictions are always welcome—or what the best games will wind up being. We can, however, break down key matchups and story lines for the season ahead.
We're not going to cover Week 7 here, because Kendall Jackson is going to break down the Titans game and the intriguing subplots there later today.
1) Monday Night Football against the Eagles
This is just a great matchup on so many levels. The Falcons and Eagles have a little bit of a rough history, especially over the last decade, and that will color the matchup. This is Dan Quinn's first game with his new team, and it's a primetime matchup. NFL observers the world over will get their first glimpse of Chip Kelly's Eagles, and they'll get to figure out whether he's crazy or crazy like a fox when it comes to team construction. There's a lot to unpack here, in other words.
Ultimately, this is the first real test for the new-look Atlanta team, it could be Tim Tebow time and there's some serious firepower on offense for both sides. I expect a terrific game, and a lot of early second-guessing for the losing team.
2) The late NFC South run
The Falcons play four of their last five games against the NFC South, including two against the Panthers, one against the Buccaneers and a home game against the Saints. That's not just a great opportunity to crow, it also sets up the end of the season for quite a tale if the Falcons can pull off a playoff run or winning season by rolling successfully through that stretch.
Everyone's going to want a shot at this Falcons team regardless of their record, because there's a lot of bad blood in the NFC South. Chances are this division will be close once more, though, and this stretch could make all the difference.
3) Andrew Luck vs. Matt Ryan
The Colts coming to town in Week 11 is a cause for some apprehension, because the Colts are a good football team. But it's also an opportunity to see two of the better quarterbacks in the NFL battling it out, and that's worth the price of admission.
What interests you this year?