Atlanta Falcons have a brutal opening stretch in 2024

Sharp Football’s Warren Sharp gave a thorough breakdown of the 2024 schedule in an effort to find “schedule equity” in the NFL schedule maker’s annual masterpiece. In this breakdown, Sharp points out that the Atlanta Falcons have a brutal stretch of games to open the season, being one of seven teams that have to play four games in a matter of 17 days. The other teams that share this unfortunate distinction are the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens.

In that schedule equity, Sharp looks for aspects of the schedule that could benefit one team over the other throughout the course of the season, such as how much rest one team gets over the average, the amount of time teams get to prep for games, how many short weeks does a team have, etc. Having to play four games in a two-and-a-half week span is a decided disadvantage that all seven of these teams will have to overcome.

This stretch is especially brutal for Atlanta because it comes at the beginning of the season, where they have three of their four prime-time games this season:

  • Week 2: Monday, September 16th, at Philadelphia
  • Week 3: Sunday, September 22nd, vs. Kansas City
  • Week 4: Sunday, September 29th, vs. New Orleans
  • Week 5: Thursday, October 3rd, vs. Tampa Bay

The NFL threw the Falcons a bone making three of these games at home, but this could easily be deemed the most crucial stretch for Atlanta, if they are to be a playoff team.

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Kirk Cousins already struggles in September, amassing a putrid 11-25-1 record in his career, but to add on a possible fatigue factor to an aging quarterback coming off an Achilles injury is not ideal. 

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