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Falcons 2017 schedule: Our roundtable talks record, easiest contest, and toughest game

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We have some thoughts on the schedule.

NFL: Super Bowl LI-New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Below, we deliver our record predictions, hardest and easiest games, and general thoughts about the schedule. Enjoy, and share yours!

Dave Choate

11-5

Game I Want to Watch: Falcons @ Pats, Week 7

Hardest Game: Falcons @ Pats, Week 7

Easiest Game: Falcons @ Jets, Week 8

This is not the schedule setup I thought we’d see, but aside from a killer early bye week, it’s set up for the Falcons to have a successful year. They’ll need to navigate that rough post-bye patch that sees them play the Pats, Seahawks and Cowboys, and get through a late season lightning round against the NFC South, but this team is talented enough to do it.

DW

11-5

Game I Want to Watch: Falcons vs. Cowboys, Week 10

Hardest Game: Falcons @ Pats, Week 7

Easiest Game: Falcons @ Jets, Week 8

This is an interesting schedule, with the first divisional opponent not happening until week 9 (@ Carolina). The three game road-stretch vs the Pats, Jets and Panthers is equally offset by a three game homestand against the Bucs, Vikings and Saints. There are no cold weather games to worry about, but the early bye week is annoying as hell. Finishing the season with 5 of the last 6 games against division opponents could make things interesting, but this is a schedule that - on paper - should give the Falcons a chance to repeat as NFC South Division Champs.

Allen Strk

10-6 or 11-5 (I can’t make predictions in April)

Game I Want to Watch: Falcons vs. Cowboys, Week 10

Hardest Game: Falcons @ Pats, Week 7

Easiest Game: Falcons @ Jets, Week 8

After dealing with the toughest schedule in the league last season, the Falcons were bound to get an easier slate of games. Playing against the AFC East should secure three wins. The same can be said about the NFC North, although Detroit won't fade away easily. For the first time in years, the Falcons have an early bye week. No team ever wants that, but you have to eventually deal with it. Facing their divisional rivals in five out of the last six games would be the biggest gripe. You would think there would be more balance in the schedule. Dan Quinn's team showed that they can overcome unfavorable odds. To beat Oakland, New Orleans, and Denver on the road to start the season at 4-2 was impressive. How they handle the national spotlight and onslaught of divisional opponents in December will be most important.

William McFadden

10-6

Game I Want to Watch: Falcons @ Pats, Week 7

Hardest Game: Falcons @ Pats, Week 7

Easiest Game: Falcons @ Bears, Week 1

Last year, I thought the Falcons could be an improved team from the 2015 squad, but their record would suffer because of a difficult schedule. In 2017, they have a much easier path. I think it’s entirely possible that Atlanta wins 11 or even 12 games, but the Falcons could drop a couple surprise games, thus my 10-6 prediction. One thing is certain, there will be a lot of exciting football to watch for this city next season. All of the most-hated teams are back on the docket, and I can’t wait to watch the playoff and division rematches, as well as the game against Dallas.

Caleb Rutherford

11-5

Game I Want to Watch: Cowboys @ Falcons, Week 10

Hardest Game: Falcons @ Pats, Week 7

Easiest Game: Falcons @ Bears, Week 1

I’m actually more interested in the Cowboys game than the Patriots game in part because I think the Pats game isn’t going to go well. We face some tough opponents but if this team improves by even half the amount it did last year, we’ll be well on our way to another division championship. Our bye week placement is terrible, but it’s in the middle of two home games and our lone Thursday night game is at the end of three straight home games, so we could definitely be worse off. 4-2 in the division plus 3 losses between the Pats, Seahawks, Packers, and Cowboys ought to be a realistic - if not slightly pessimistic - outlook on how we’ll do this year.

SteveInBrooklyn

11-4-1

Game I Want to Watch: Falcons @ Seahawks, Week 11

Hardest Game: Falcons @ Pats, Week 7

Easiest Game: Bills @ Falcons, Week 4 [Dunno if this is really the easiest, but I don’t like to consider road games or divisional games “easiest”]

I like that there are fewer west coast trips than last year. Also, the schedule gods were very kind to front-load most of the northern city outdoor trips (Chicago, New England, New York) into September and October. The bye week is earlier than ideal, but on the back end, there’s what could be a helpful 10-day break in between the week 14 Thursday night game and week 15 Monday night game. Quirky schedule in that the Falcons start against 3 NFC North teams, then all 4 AFC East teams, and finish with 5 out of 6 against division opponents.