The Falcons have disappointed this year in many ways, but it is worth remembering that they’ve still got a winning record against one of the toughest slates in the entire NFL. That’s in part because they finished in first in 2016 in the NFC South and thus drew a winner’s slate that saw them match up against the Seahawks, Cowboys (who have gone in the tank, to be fair) and others.
As ESPN’s Vaughn McClure notes, the Falcons are locked into third place in the NFC South heading into Week 17, with making the playoffs or missing them at stake against Carolina. That means that we know their draws in the NFC West and NFC North in 2018, and while neither is truly easy, they’re also far from the worst matchups Atlanta could end up with.
The Falcons will at some point in 2018 get the Arizona Cardinals at home, playing a team without a clear franchise quarterback and with a coaching change coming. The Cardinals still have plenty of talent, but they’re unlikely to be a great team again in 2018, which means this is a pretty favorable matchup for Atlanta on paper.
The Falcons will have to travel to Lambeau Field to play the Packers next year, based on how Green Bay is finishing the year, but thankfully the Falcons have been on a major run against the Packers of late. Even though road games are tough—particularly if this is late in the year—it’s a matchup I’m confident in.
We’ll need to wait a long time to see the Falcons’ full 2018 schedule, but the more we know, the better. Hopefully it’ll be a much easier slate for Atlanta next season, and they’ll be equipped to dominate it.