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Falcons 2024 Schedule Release: Atlanta’s First 3 Games, Primetime Matchup Revealed

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Falcons 2024 Schedule Release: Atlanta’s First 3 Games, Primetime Matchup Revealed


The 2024 NFL schedule will officially be released Wednesday night, but the Atlanta Falcons’ first-three matchups appear finalized.

The Falcons are slated to begin the season at home for the fourth-consecutive season, hosting former head coach Arthur Smith and the Pittsburgh Steelers inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Smith, who was fired Jan. 8 after three seasons at the helm, and a quartet of former Falcons – running back Cordarrelle Patterson, tight end MyCole Pruitt and receivers Scotty Miller and Van Jefferson – will return to Atlanta on Sept. 8.

Thereafter, the immediate road only gets tougher for the Falcons.

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Atlanta is slated to travel to Philadelphia for a primetime matchup with the Eagles on Monday Night Football, coming Sept. 16, before returning home to face Patrick Mahomes the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 22, according to WSB Ch. 2.

The contest against Kansas City is expected to be on Sunday Night Football, per 11Alive’s Maria Martin. It marks Atlanta’s first such game since 2019, while its Monday Night Football appearance will be the first since 2020. The team played no primetime games last season.

The Falcons have the easiest strength of schedule based on projected win totals, per Sharp Football Analysis, but their seeing no such glimpses of ease to kick off Raheem Morris’s first season back on the sidelines.

Morris, however, said Tuesday he isn’t particularly concerned with the schedule release.

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“A little less exciting probably for coaches because we’re always one game at a time anyway,” Morris said. “But it’s always exciting just for the National Football League just in general. We found a way to make another event and I know it’s exciting for you guys and it’s exciting for us to be out and doing those things and exciting for our community, more importantly and all of our guys.”

The Falcons’ full 17-game schedule will be announced at 8 p.m. Wednesday.





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Atlanta, GA

Mitch Keller keeps torrid May going by keeping Atlanta in check in Pittsburgh’s 4-1 win over Braves

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Mitch Keller keeps torrid May going by keeping Atlanta in check in Pittsburgh’s 4-1 win over Braves


(AP) – Mitch Keller pitched into the seventh inning, Nick Gonzales delivered an RBI double and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Atlanta Braves 4-1 on Saturday.

Keller (6-3) kept Atlanta in check for 6 2/3 innings to win his fourth consecutive start. The right-hander gave up one run on six hits with four strikeouts and no walks. Keller is 4-0 with a 1.30 ERA in four starts in May and has worked at least five innings in each of his last 42 starts, the longest active streak in the majors.

Bryan Reynolds had two hits for Pittsburgh, including a run-scoring single in the seventh that gave the Pirates a little breathing room on the day they celebrated the 45th anniversary of the 1979 team’s World Series title.

Several players from that club — including Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven, reliever Kent Tekeulve and two-time National League MVP Dave Parker — were honored before the first pitch.

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Nick Gonzales doubled and scored for the Pirates. The second baseman, a first-round pick in the 2020 draft, is hitting .333 (15 of 45) with 12 RBI over his last 12 games.

Pittsburgh’s bullpen, which struggled in a pair of late collapses to San Francisco earlier in the week, avoided a meltdown against the Braves. Colin Holderman retired four of the five batters he faced after replacing Keller. David Bednar induced Ronald Acuna Jr. into a game-ending fielder’s choice with two on in the ninth to pick up his 11th save.

Atlanta’s Reynaldo López (2-2) wasn’t quite as sharp as he’s been during the best two-month stretch of his nine-year career. The right-hander — who began the day with a 1.54 ERA, third-lowest in the majors — only retired the Pirates in order once and was dinged by the bottom half of the lineup during 4 2/3 so-so innings.

The Braves offense managed just one extra-base hit off Keller, a double by Ozzie Albies in the first. Jarred Kelenic provided an RBI single in the fourth but Atlanta did little else while suffering a second straight loss.

Pittsburgh’s Jared Triolo led off the third with a double and scored on a RBI single by Ji Hwan Bae. López walked Oneil Cruz to start the fourth and the towering 6-foot-7 shortstop then scored from first by getting an excellent read on Gonzales’ double off the 21-foot-high Clemente Wall in right. Gonzales then gave the Pirates a 3-1 lead when he sprinted home on Olivares’ sacrifice fly to left.

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López exited after a 30-minute rain delay interrupted the bottom of the fifth. He gave up three runs, two earned on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings as his ERA ticked up to 1.75.



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Atlanta Falcons Urged to Make Another Defensive Addition

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Atlanta Falcons Urged to Make Another Defensive Addition


The Atlanta Falcons are excited about the potential of young cornerback Clark Phillips III. But Bleacher Report’s Matt Holder apparently isn’t as confident.

Holder argued on May 25 that the one remaining move the Falcons should make this offseason is to add a veteran cornerback to start opposite A.J. Terrell.

“Clark Phillips III is currently slated to play on the other side of A.J. Terrell, but Phillips lacks size and profiles better as a nickel back,” Holder wrote. “So, kicking the tires on someone like Steven Nelson or Stephon Gilmore could help Atlanta win the division this fall.”

Both Nelson and Gilmore are free agents and possess at least nine years of NFL experience. Gilmore is also a former Defensive Player of the Year winner and two-time All-Pro.

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Earlier this week, ESPN’s Matt Bowen said the Falcons were the “best fit” for Nelson.

It also doesn’t have to be Nelson/Gilmore or bust for the Falcons. Other younger but more expensive options such as Xavien Howard, J.C. Jackson and Adoree’ Jackson are available. As is Cameron Sutton, who could be very cheap if the Falcons are willing to overlook his domestic battery allegations (they probably shouldn’t).

But as it stands at OTAs, the Falcons appear to feel comfortable with Phillips as a starting outside cornerback.

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“Really excited about Clark,” head coach Raheem Morris said May 14. “He has had elite movement put on tape. I’m really excited about the young man and the player on what he potentially can do.”

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Although inexperienced, youth could be an advantage for Phillips this season. His youth means, unlike aging cornerbacks such as Nelson and Gilmore, he hasn’t lost any of his speed. The question is whether Morris and new Falcons defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake can maximize his total potential.

A year ago in his draft profile, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein called Phillips “a playmaker,” comparing him to longtime NFL cornerback Mike Hilton. 

Hilton has posted 11.5 sacks, 54 tackles for loss and 12 interceptions in his seven-year career.

It’s important to note, though, that Hilton is a slot cornerback. Zierlein held the expectation in Phillips’s pre-draft scouting report that he would also play in the slot.

“Phillips uses aggressive angles to search for takeaways,” Zierlein wrote. “He’s tough, smart and knows how to play. 

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“He should become a solid nickel cornerback, but his success could be tethered to matchups from week to week.”

But more than likely, the only way Phillips is going to play predominantly in the slot this season is if the Falcons follow Holder’s advice and add a starting cornerback.





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Pirates’ Edward Olivares: Big performance against Atlanta

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Pirates’ Edward Olivares: Big performance against Atlanta


Olivares went 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored Friday against Atlanta.

Olivares got the start in right field with a lefty on the mound and occupied the cleanup spot. He took advantage of the opportunity by delivering RBI knocks in the third and sixth innings. Olivares is a candidate to see more playing time after the Pirates optioned Jack Suwinski to Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday.

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