The Atlanta Falcons announced their full 2021 schedule on Wednesday. The bye week? Early. Late season game in the snow? Yes. Final game of the season? Against the Saints. Prime-time games? One.
That is disappointing news for Falcons fans. The prime-time games are a chance for some extra hype, with the night crews giving the team the extra attention you do not get during the standard kickoffs. It is a good time to get excited to watch the team.
A few years back, the Falcons could have three or four prime-time games. Those games are usually bookmarked for the more interesting teams that can compete and bring in ratings. After multiple disappointing seasons in a row, the Falcons follow up their two prime-time games in 2020 with only one in 2021.
That game? A reunion of sorts against Cam Newton and the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football on November 18 at 8:20 p.m. It should be an interesting game as the Patriots are coming off of their worst season in decades. With that said, they did draft Mac Jones and uncharacteristically spent heavily in free agency for more weapons. That means there are significant unknowns.
After seeing plenty of these prime-time games, it may be time to hope Arthur Smith is smart enough to stay competitive and not get embarrassed.
The Falcons do play a London game against the New York Jets at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 10. It will be, technically, a national game. However, it will be short of the excitement with half of the nation still asleep at kickoff.
The Falcons need a strong season in 2021 if they want a short at more prime-time games in 2022.