Four Blockbuster 2024 NFL Season Openers for the Atlanta Falcons

four blockbuster 2024 nfl season openers for the atlanta falcons

Four Blockbuster 2024 NFL Season Openers for the Atlanta Falcons

With the NFL schedule release slated for Wednesday, May 15th, the NFL leaked the matchup that will open the 2024 season, and it is a doozy. The Baltimore Ravens head to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in a much-anticipated AFC Championship rematch. This blockbuster season opener got the gears turning to how the Falcons can attempt to keep up with a game of this magnitude in the opening week. When looking at Atlanta's 2024 opponents, there look to be four potential matchups for the Falcons to start their 2024 campaign with a bang.

All stats courtesy of Stathead.com and Pro-Football-Reference

1) @ Minnesota

If a revenge game is what you want, a revenge game is what you get if the NFL decides to start the Falcons 2024 season against the Minnesota Vikings in U.S. Bank Stadium. Atlanta has met up with Minnesota in the season opener five times over their 33-game history. Unfortunately, the Falcons have yet to beat the Vikings as they have lost all five games, with the most recent being a 28-12 defeat in 2019, where Kirk Cousins threw the ball a grand total of 10 times for 98 yards and a touchdown. Atlanta's three turnovers and an opening drive blocked punt doomed Atlanta early.

A game of this magnitude has to be a primetime matchup, especially with all the eyes fixated on the Falcons quarterback room this offseason. Finding this game on a Sunday or Monday Night Football broadcast would make for the first primetime season opener for the Falcons since 2018.

The only downside is that the quarterback matchup will probably be Cousins vs. Darnold instead of Cousins vs. McCarthy, which would be a much better storyline.

2) @/vs. Tampa Bay

As Ric Flair used to say: "To be the man, you got to beat the man," and the man of the NFC South for the past three seasons has been the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Over the 61 times the Falcons played the Bucs, they have only played twice in the opening week, both ended in Tampa Bay wins. The most recent matchup was in 2016 when quarterback Jameis Winston hit four separate receivers for touchdowns on his way to 281 yards on a 71% completion percentage.

This hypothetical blockbuster would be a prime opportunity for the Falcons to assert that the NFC South runs through Atlanta.

3) vs. Pittsburgh

Facing the Steelers in the first week of the season would mean something extra for Falcons fans more than it would for those in the locker room. The homecoming of Arthur Smith after his less-than-ideal first stint as a head coach in Atlanta would make for an interesting season-opening storyline. Smith bringing as many former Falcons as he could from last season's team makes this an even better story, especially with the return of fan-favorite Cordarrelle Patterson, who broke the kickoff return touchdown record as a Falcon.

Throughout the 18-game history between Atlanta and Pittsburgh, they have only played one season opener, a 15-9 overtime win for the Steelers in 2010. The two teams traded field goals throughout the game before Pittsburgh running back Rashard Mendenhall broke out for a 50-yard touchdown run to seal the deal for the Steelers.

4) @/vs. New Orleans

No matter when, no matter where, a matchup between the New Orleans Saints and the Falcons will guarantee a playoff-like atmosphere based on the magnitude of the rivalry. Atlanta has met New Orleans in week one more than any other NFL franchise with nine season openers. They've also beaten the Saints more than any other NFL team as well, winning seven of those nine matchups. The latest matchup being a 27-26 loss in 2022, where a late Marcus Mariota fumble opened the door for New Orleans to drive down and win on a 52-yard Will Lutz field goal.

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