If you’re looking for reasons to feel anxious about the season ahead in June, you won’t find a lot. The Falcons have a lot going for them, and a schedule that is a little easier than a year ago, at least at first blush.
That said, the schedule offers up some trouble spots. The Falcons have to play a lot of road games against tough opponents, including the Patriots, and have all of their NFC South games concentrated at the end of the year. They also have to contend with three games in twelve days, which is somewhat insane.
The games in question are all home games, thankfully, and start with the Buccaneers on November 26th, continue with the Vikings on December 3rd, and finish up with the Saints on December 7th. The Falcons will then have 11 days off before hitting the road, which is a nice little rest. The only saving grace in those three games is that Atlanta’s not facing any teams that figure to be world beaters.
My guess is that the Falcons will weather this stretch just fine—I can see two or even three wins there—but you can’t over-emphasize how exhausted they’ll be at the end of it, and that fatigue certainly makes things dicier than they would be otherwise. Hopefully that’s just a minor speed bump in the team’s return to the playoffs, and not a crucial, defining stretch.