Yikes. The Falcons’ 2016 schedule is the NFL’s toughest

Says it all, doesn't it? (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

Julio Jones contemplates next season’s slate. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

One of the reasons the Atlanta Falcons’ collapse from 6-1 to 8-8 was so deflating was that they entered the 2015 season with the NFL’s softest schedule. (They would finish with the second-softest behind Carolina, for the basic reason that the Falcons played the 15-1 Panthers twice and the Panthers couldn’t play themselves.) Well, what goes around — stop me if you’ve heard this before — comes around.

According to John Breech of CBS Sports, the NFL’s toughest schedule for 2016 will belong to the San Francisco 49ers — and the Atlanta Falcons. (The two play one another, as fate would have it.)

The 2016 Falcons will play seven games — almost half the schedule — against teams that made the playoffs. Another fun fact: Not one of the playoff teams the Falcons will face lost its first postseason game. Another: They’ll meet three of the four teams — New England is the exception — that reached their respective conference finals.

Also per Breech: The Falcons entered the 2015 season knowing they’d be facing opponents that compiled a collective .409 winning percentage in 2014. They’ll enter 2016 knowing they’ll face opponents that compiled a collective .555 winning percentage last season. That’s something of a difference, eh?

The 2015 Falcons played five games against teams that would qualify for postseason. Houston, Washington and Minnesota lost in the wild card round. (The other two games were against Carolina, duh.)

Even with a flying start against a bunny schedule, the 2015 Falcons couldn’t make the playoffs. They should be better — at least better than they were over the final two months — next time around. If they’re not better, they’ll be going nowhere fast.

Further Falcons reading:

The Falcons cut Durant after one year, and I say, “Hmmm.”

A defensive coach to offense? The Falcons again stump the band.

Value bet to win the next Super Bowl? ESPN’s Tuley says the Falcons.

The Falcons retain Dimitroff, so I guess it’s still all Smitty’s fault.

Reader Comments 0

70 comments
n.anthony
n.anthony

The only reason we will miss the play-off is the offensive coordinator. 

Douglas Fleming
Douglas Fleming

\U0001f3c8\U0001f3c8\U0001f3c8 they have plenty of time to prepare. They have played these teams before.

Landa Walker
Landa Walker

Pittsburgh played the toughest schedule in football and made the playoffs

Vondell Lance
Vondell Lance

Already making excuses for another sub par season. Lol

Joseph Martin Walker
Joseph Martin Walker

We will be better than in 2015 but finish 8-8 again because of tougher schedule.

Jacqulyn Jackie Brown
Jacqulyn Jackie Brown

Well if they do well against the toughest maybe they'll make the playoffs and continue to do well

Stephen Eason
Stephen Eason

It will show our heart and drive. If we win or are competitive in those games then last season was a fluke. Draft right, get some real linemen in here and watch what happens.

Norris Freeman
Norris Freeman

Need someone to call the play and a Q B to execute them.

Cameron Mabry
Cameron Mabry

Team goes from the weakest to the toughest hmmmm

Christian Bland
Christian Bland

Yea, we blew it last year with one of the easiest schedules. Well, at least the Bulldogs will be interesting to watch this year.

Gregory Manswell
Gregory Manswell

Whether it's the worst schedule or the hardest it still wouldn't matter

Bill Chase
Bill Chase

They want that new stadium! Ladies it's time to put in the work!

Earl Freeman
Earl Freeman

Matt Ryan is ok ! But he don't move around in the pocket ! Like Michael Vick! Plus i always like Jamal Anderson ! Warrick Dunn ! Tony Gonzalez !

Sheila Collins
Sheila Collins

Don't matter if they playing the Adam street raiders

Daniel Wilson
Daniel Wilson

Good... if we aren't legit we can find out soon enough before we invest our hearts and money in this team yet another season

SaulK
SaulK

no worries---with thomas making some deals and matt learning the offense, atl is ready to move to the top of the nfl baby!!! Arthur wants a ring!!! Rise up!!

Nick Carter
Nick Carter

What a team did the year before does not mean squat! The Falcons had statistically the easiest schedule this past season, and how did that go?

Robert Rusek
Robert Rusek

You could build an all pro o-line and d-line for what he makes. Then almost any pro quarterback would be good.

Daniel Ajiboye
Daniel Ajiboye

QB is the most important position in all of sports. Success at that position alone can win you championships. Matt Ryan has clearly hit his ceiling.

Ricardo Burns Jr.
Ricardo Burns Jr.

The next excuse will be the defense. Nope. Our long hated rival the New Orleans in 2009 won the Super Bowl with probably one of the worst of all time. Ranked 20th in points allowed. Ranked 26th in both Passing & Rushing yards allowed. So try again please.

Ricardo Burns Jr.
Ricardo Burns Jr.

I agree Daniel. Because as far as I'm concerned Aaron Rodgers was the most sacked quarterback this year. So with that being said... Green Bay had the worst O-line this year but still made the playoffs, without his #1 target at WR (Jordy Nelson).

Rod Foster
Rod Foster

We READY .. Let Go Birdgang \U0001f595\U0001f3fdu HATERs

TOJacket
TOJacket

Where did all the regular posters go?..........bunch of facebook whiners?

Daniel Ajiboye
Daniel Ajiboye

Matt Ryan has been the most overrated player in history. One playoff win in 8 years. Weakest arm in the NFL. No deep passing game at all. Mediocre arm-talent at best. I'm sick of going 8-8 every year. He's never had a good year without a magnificent running game. Other top 10 QBs make players around them better. He's not. Never has. Furthermore, name 16 teams that trade their starting QB for Matt Ryan. Ya can't do it. Folks want to keep making excuses for him, saying it's the O line every year or its the play calling. No. It's the guy pulling the trigger!

Ethan m
Ethan m

Your an idiot. He did good in 2013 and 2014 with no run game. It's called having no oline and defense. This year he has shanahan the qb killer. And made some mental mistakes but he was never comfortable.

TOJacket
TOJacket

So you think the Eagles wouldn't trade Sam Bradford for Matty Ice? Stick to the NBA sport.

Bg Montana
Bg Montana

Screw the Falcons...is that your maro??

Michael Dillinger
Michael Dillinger

It makes me really sad to see you cheering for Ryan to get booted and for us to lose so badly in order to achieve that.

Ken Davis
Ken Davis

We gotta get that kid in Clemson! We need our own Cam

TOJacket
TOJacket

He beat Cam once this past year.........no big deal.

Contrario
Contrario

There are no easy schedules in the NFL. Strength of schedule conversations are a college thing, period. Ask chip Kelly and steve spurrier.

John Wood
John Wood

The Atlanta Falcons losing since 1966!

TOJacket
TOJacket

And whining fans since 66!

Cubby Jay
Cubby Jay

If your not good enough to beat the best, then why dream of a super bowl.

Stephen Ash
Stephen Ash

When's the last time they won a championship?