Atlanta Falcons News: Regular Season and Preseason Updates
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5/16/13: Unlike the AFC East, which the Patriots win just about every year, it is very difficult to handicap the NFC South. Tampa has been the most visible mover, especially since they acquired Darrelle Revis to shore up their secondary. Carolina finished strong last season, and the Saints are back to full strength. Many forget that the Falcons won the NFC South as well as had the best record in the regular season last year - and even went to the NFC Championship Game. They may be better on offense now that former St. Louis Ram Steven Jackson is in the fold.
5/9/13: Atlanta was not considered to have a particularly strong defense last year, so it may be surprising to hear that they team ranked fifth in the league in defensive scoring. This will be year two under defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, and they should be improved. With their offseason moves and draft, they should be even faster and more opportunistic. The Falcons surrendered 299 points last year, and that has to improve. They need to replace John Abraham's backfield pressure and find a way to stop the run at the goalline. Should they be able to, this overlooked unit may get the Falcons to the Super Bowl.
5/2/13: Atlanta had a big need at cornerback with the free agent departure of Brent Grimes to the Miami Dolphins. More than that, though, they need help all around on defense, and that was where all four of their picks went to. They selected cornerbacks Desmond Trufant (Washington, No. 22) and Robert Alford (SE Louisiana, round 2, pick 28) with their first two picks. They added Malliciah Goodman (defensive end, Clemson, 4th round, 30th pick) and safety Zeke Motta from Notre Dame with one of the last picks in the draft. The Falcons lacked picks because they traded so much away a couple years ago to draft Julio Jones at 6.
4/25/13: It seems like much of the league has forgotten about Atlanta. They did have the best record in the NFC last year and made it to the NFC Championship Game. The ditched an aging Michael Turner with Steven Jackson and even convinced Tony Gonzalez to return for another year. They will have more competition this season since the Saints are restored and the Bucs have added Darrelle Revis. However, they are still the class of the NFC South, and should repeat as division champs in 2013 regardless of the changes and upgrades of their division rivals.
4/18/13: Atlanta continues to roll. It is more of the same on any number of the streets named Peachtree. The Braves won their 10th straight game, as Justin Upton continues his assault on National League pitching. The Braves swept the Cubs and Marlins and Nationals. Now comes word that there are at least five firms bidding on a new stadium for the Falcons. The Georgia Dome is old and dark, and the team should have a better venue to play in. It will take a few years to build, but considering the advancements in stadium design, expect that the new building should be a great location for many years to come.
4/11/13: With the Saints coming back in full force and the Panthers on the rise and the Bucs maybe getting Darrelle Revis, people may forget about the Atlanta Falcons. That would be a mistake. Atlanta had the best record in the league last year and made it to the NFC Championship game. This year, they have a hungry Steven Jackson. SJ39 may not be the runner from five years ago, but he is big, strong, and runs violently. He will get the extra yard or two that Michael Turner could not. Expect a strong year out of the Falcons, they do not have many holes.
4/4/13: The Falcons and Osi Umenyiora made it official late last week, with the two sides agreeing to two year, $8.5 million deal. Umenyiora has been one of the top defensive linemen in the NFL for a number of years and won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants. He never felt that he got the contract respect he deserved there, and has a contentious relationship with management. As a free agent, he said he chose the Falcons because they were the most talented team. They were also the team that wanted him the most after releasing John Abraham earlier in the off season.
3/28/13: Reports out of Atlanta are that the Falcons and pass rush specialist Osi Umenyiora will come to terms on an agreement. Osi lives in Atlanta, and the chance to play at home for a contender must have been appealing. Osi has had contract issues with the Giants for several years. He restructured his contract prior to last season, which gave him the opportunity to be a free agent. At 31 years old, he has spent his entire career with the New York Giants and won two Super Bowls. He is a fearsome pass rusher who should easily replace or surpass the released John Abraham.
3/21/13: Atlanta is not giving up on winning the Super Bowl next February by any means. The Falcons managed to coax the greatest tight end ever, Tony Gonzalez, out of his retirement for one last run. Apparently Gonzalez got used to winning in the playoffs (well, one game, which was the first in his 17 year career), and the team made arrangements so he can go back to California to fulfill some fatherly obligations. Also, the Falcons signed superstar running back Steven Jackson, the best player all time on bad teams, to a three year deal. SJ39 is expected to be the feature back, and he is hungry for some post season success.
3/14/13: Atlanta's major releases have been well documented, including John Abraham and Michael Turner. But it looks like they are bringing someone back for once. Tony Gonzalez, the all time greatest tight end in NFL history, had previously announced his retirement, though he never submitted papers to the league. The Falcons, apparently, were able to coax him back into one more season. The team will be flexible on some family commitments that Gonzalez has made, and TG sounds like he wants to play one more year and get that elusive Super Bowl, after earning his first playoff victory last season.
3/7/13: Change is coming in Atlanta. Fast. The Falcons released three high profile veterans this past week in Michael Turner, Dunta Robinson, and John Abraham. The team needs to clear out salary cap space and these moves save nearly $16 million. Turner and Robinson were expected to be released and will likely sign on somewhere else that needs some veteran help. Abraham wasa bit of a surprise considering he was the main pass rushing threat on the Falcons defense. The team will have to fill his shoes somehow, and may try to bring him back at a reduced salary.
2//28/13: Atlanta still has running back Michael Turner on the roster, but chances are that is only temporary. The Falcons are expected to waive Turner and the $6 .9 million he is owned for next season. Cutting Turner will put Atlanta $8 million to $9 million under the cap - enough room to bring in an established back, or work on beefing up the defense. Turner split carries with Jaquizz Rodgers and only finished with 800 yards. His age, now he his 31 years old, is starting to catch up with him and he will likely sign on as a back up for a limited term contract - similar to the way his mentor Ladanian Tomlinson finished his career with the Jets.
2/14/13: Some important news surfaced this week that Falcons' QB Matt Ryan suffered a sprained left AC joint in his shoulder late in the NFC Championship Game against the 49ers. Atlanta came up just 10 yards short in the big game, which was a great battle between a terrific offense and stout defense. No surgery is needed, at least at this time, but the recovery period is about four weeks. Had Ryan pulled off the comeback (and he has earned a reputation as a clutch quarterback), then he would have been playing in the Super Bowl injured.
2/7/13: Atlanta finished with the best record in the NFC this season and earned home field advantage throughout the playoffs. That lasted until the NFC Championship Game when San Francisco earned the right to play in the Super Bowl. Even with a 13-3 record, the Falcons were lightly regarded by many fans and experts. They did not play the tough defense that wins in the playoffs. They also had a deceivingly easy schedule since the the NFC South was in a down year. They even got Denver early in the season before that team had gelled. Strengthening the defense and finding a new runnning back seem to be the priorities this offseason.
1/31/13: Backup running back Jaquizz Rodgers may get the starting tailback job in Atlanta next season. Michael Turner has held that title for the past five years, and had some pretty good seasons. But 2012 was tough on Turner - acquired from San Diego where he was LaDanian Tomlinson's backup - and he only averaged 3.6 yards per carry totaling 800 yards on the season. Quizz is a more elusive runner, and is expected to get the bulk of the carries next season if the Falcons decide to cut Turner, as is widely expected. Quizz is much smaller, but the Falcons do not seem concerned at this time.
1/24/13: Atlanta entered the NFC championship game as 4 point underdogs to the visiting 49ers, and that was the final spread. The 49ers battled back from 17 points down to win 28-24. Atlanta was on fire in the first half, putting together one of the best 30 minutes in conference championship game. They led by 10 at the half, but could not add anything to the final score in the third and fourth quarter. The game was probably the last for Tony Gonzalez, who finally won his first playoff game in a 17 year career the week before.
1/17/13: Head coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan finally got the playoff monkey off their backs by defeating the upstart Seahawks 30-28 in the Divisional Round. This was the fourth trip to the postseason for the duo, but they had zero victories. Most notably, they lost at home to Green Bay two years ago and the Giants last year. Both went on to win the Super Bowl. Seattle was this year's darling pick, and held 28-27 lead with 34 seconds left. Ryan, however, led the Falcons downfield and Matt Bryant kicked a 49 yard field goal with 8 seconds remaining put Atlanta into the NFC Championship game, at home, against the 49ers.
1/10/13: Mike Smith led the Falcons to another fine season, finishing the regular campaign at 13-3. Atlanta did not lose until Week 10 at New Orleans, and by that time had cemented their dominance in the NFC South. The other two losses were also against division rivals; at Carolina and at home against the Bucs. The weekend, they host the Seattle Seahawks in the Divisional Round, with a trip to the NFC Championship Game awarded to the winner. While the Falcons have struggled in the playoffs in recent years, they will be playing a Seattle team that has to travel cross-country twice in a row.
1/3/13: In a seemingly meaningless game for the Falcons, Head Coach Mike Smith decided to play his starters throughout rather than rest them to not risk injury. The Falcons lost the game to Tampa 22-17, and saw both cornerback Dunta Robinson and defensive end John Abraham get injured. There is no word yet on whether either will be ready for the playoffs, but it is a good thing that Atlanta has two weeks to heal. The Falcons need that time to prepare. They have made the playoffs a few times in recent years, but have failed to advance past the first round.
12/27/12: Atlanta clinched first place in the NFC for the regular season, earning the team a first round bye and homefield advantage throghout the playoffs, by defeating the Detroit Lions 31-18 in Detroit on Saturday. QB Matt Ryan tied a career high with 4 TD passes, including two to Roddy White, while tossing for almost 300 yards with no turnovers. Atlanta's 13-2 record gives them a chance to match the franchise record of 14 wins from the 1998 season, which was the same year the Falcons made the Super Bowl. Atlanta finishes the season against Tampa on Sunday.
12/20/12: The Atlanta Falcons answered a lot of questions and silenced many critics in their 34-0 humiliation of the New York Giants on Sunday. Many believed that the Falcons were a "weak" 11-2 going into the game, but the team galvanized on Sunday afternoon and the defense played their best game of the year. Matt Ryan threw for 270 yards and 3 TD's, including two to Julio Jones. With the division already secured, the Falcons are battling for homefield advantage and a bye for the playoffs. Atlanta heads to Detroit in search of their 13th win of the season on a rare regular season Saturday night game.
12/13/12: Atlanta has pretty much rolled through the regular season so far, but the upset loss to the Carolina Panthers has the experts doubting the Falcons' chances in the playoffs. Carolina simply dominated and outplayed Atlanta, though the Falcons furiously tried to rally late in the game. Instead, the Panthers stepped on the proverbial throat and scored a late touchdown to pu the game out of reach for good. Atlanta already has the NFC South crown, so now is just working on positioning for the postseason. Atlanta's next test is hosting the defending champion New York Giants.
12/6/12: Many so-called NFL experts have jumped on the Saints bandwagon recently, but the NFC leading Falcons would hear none of that. New Orleans handed Atlanta its only loss of the season a few weeks ago, but the Falcons got their revenge on Sunday, with an efficient 23-13 win that was not as close as the score would indicate. Atlanta's defense forced five Drew Breese turnovers on the nationally broadcast Thursday night game. With Tampa losing to Denver a few days later, the Falcons clinched the NFC South title and are now playing for a bye and home field advantage. Atlanta's next game is Sunday at Carolina.
9/22/12: In a matchup of two unbeaten teams in San Diego, it was the Atlanta Falcons that came out on top 27-3 over the Chargers. Matt Ryan completed 30 of 40 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns and Tony Gonzalez caught 9 of those passes for 91 yards and a touchdown. The Falcons defense was all over Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers. Atlanta safety Thomas Decoud picked off Rivers twice and recovered a fumble. The Falcons put the game away early having a 20-0 lead by halftime. Former Chargers running back and current Falcons running back Michael Turner ran for a 7-yard TD in the fourth quarter. San Diego kicker Nate Kaeding connected on a field goal early in the third quarter for their only score of the game. The Falcons improve to 3-0 on the year and are one of three teams still undefeated in the league.
4/12/12 The 2012 Atlanta Falcons will be placed under the microscope after a disappointing finish to the 2011 season which saw them exit the playoffs in the first round with a sour 24-2 loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants. This microscope might come in the form of HBO cameras, as it has been rumored that the Falcons will be the subject of the new season of "Hard Knocks" to air this summer. With the core of their team, including Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and playmakers Julio Jones and Roddy White returning for the 2012 season, the Falcons will look to rejuvenate their high-powered offense for another playoff appearance.
Formed in 1965, the Falcons are building a great new chapter in their history. The Falcons had back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history in 2008-2009, and with young quarterback Matt Ryan, they have a bright future and could reach their second Super Bowl in the next few seasons. Get Atlanta Falcons tickets to watch a talented young team on the rise.
Atlanta Falcons Tickets - The Players
Matt Ryan has revived the Atlanta Falcons. He and Roddy White have become an explosive, down field duo as Michael Turner carries the team in the ground attack. Their Defense, lets by John Abraham and Dunta Robinson have also been a force in the NFL. The acquisition of Tony Gonzalez has given Matt Ryan a large target in the red zone as well as an open field threat. Gonzalez's skill set is so versatile and has had people calling him the greatest tight end of all time. This franchise is on its way up while being led by Matt Ryan.
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Atlanta Falcons Schedule & Key Dates
Opening Day / Atlanta Falcons First Game 2013
Atlanta Falcons Regular Season Last Game 2013
Atlanta Falcons Preseason Beginning 2013
Dec 30, 2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22 - 17 Atlanta Falcons Dec 22, 2012 Atlanta Falcons 31 - 18 Detroit Lions Dec 16, 2012 New York Giants 0 - 34 Atlanta Falcons Dec 9, 2012 Atlanta Falcons 20 - 30 Carolina Panthers Nov 29, 2012 New Orleans Saints 13 - 23 Atlanta Falcons Nov 25, 2012 Atlanta Falcons 24 - 23 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Nov 18, 2012 Arizona Cardinals 19 - 23 Atlanta Falcons Nov 11, 2012 Atlanta Falcons 27 - 31 New Orleans Saints Nov 4, 2012 Dallas Cowboys 13 - 19 Atlanta Falcons Oct 28, 2012 Atlanta Falcons 30 - 17 Philadelphia Eagles Oct 14, 2012 Oakland Raiders 20 - 23 Atlanta Falcons Oct 7, 2012 Atlanta Falcons 24 - 17 Washington Redskins Sep 30, 2012 Carolina Panthers 28 - 30 Atlanta Falcons Sep 23, 2012 Atlanta Falcons 27 - 3 San Diego Chargers Sep 17, 2012 Denver Broncos 21 - 27 Atlanta Falcons Sep 9, 2012 Atlanta Falcons 40 - 24 Kansas City Chiefs Aug 30, 2012 Atlanta Falcons 14 - 24 Jacksonville Jaguars Aug 24, 2012 Atlanta Falcons 23 - 6 Miami Dolphins
Atlanta Falcons vs. Cincinnati Bengals Atlanta Falcons vs. Baltimore Ravens Atlanta Falcons vs. Tennessee Titans
Aug 8, 2013 Cincinnati Bengals vs Atlanta Falcons Aug 15, 2013 Atlanta Falcons vs Baltimore Ravens Aug 24, 2013 Atlanta Falcons vs Tennessee Titans Aug 29, 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars vs Atlanta Falcons Sep 8, 2013 Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints Sep 15, 2013 St. Louis Rams vs Atlanta Falcons Sep 22, 2013 Atlanta Falcons vs Miami Dolphins Sep 29, 2013 New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons Oct 7, 2013 New York Jets vs Atlanta Falcons Oct 20, 2013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Atlanta Falcons Oct 27, 2013 Atlanta Falcons vs Arizona Cardinals Nov 3, 2013 Atlanta Falcons vs Carolina Panthers Nov 10, 2013 Seattle Seahawks vs Atlanta Falcons Nov 17, 2013 Atlanta Falcons vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Nov 21, 2013 New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons Dec 1, 2013 Atlanta Falcons vs Buffalo Bills Dec 8, 2013 Atlanta Falcons vs Green Bay Packers Dec 15, 2013 Washington Redskins vs Atlanta Falcons Dec 23, 2013 Atlanta Falcons vs San Francisco 49ers Dec 29, 2013 Carolina Panthers vs Atlanta Falcons