Breaking Down the Atlanta Falcons' 2012 NFL Preseason Schedule

Knox BardeenNFC South Lead WriterApril 4, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 15: Head Coach Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons is congratulated by Interim Head Coach Mel Tucker of the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Georgia Dome on December 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons will play two home games and then two road games during the 2012 NFL preseason. The league released the preseason schedule on Wednesday, but hasn't finalized all of the dates yet.

Atlanta does get at least one nationally-televised, prime-time game: an Aug. 16 matchup against the Bengals.

The Falcons will play host to two NFC North foes and then tour the state of Florida for the second half of the preseason schedule.

Week 1 - Baltimore, TBA

Week 2 - Cincinnati, Aug. 16, 8 p.m. ET (FOX)

Week 3 - at Miami, TBA

Week 4 - at Jacksonville, TBA


What to Watch For

It's always a heated debate when Falcons fans and Ravens fans discuss Matt Ryan versus Joe Flacco. The two quarterbacks were drafted in the same draft class in the first round. Ryan's numbers are slightly better, but Flacco has tasted postseason success.

Andy Dalton threw for 3,398 yards and 20 TD's in his rookie season last year.
Andy Dalton threw for 3,398 yards and 20 TD's in his rookie season last year.Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

The Thursday night game on FOX will give everyone a look at the Bengals' young guns, quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green. This will be a good time to see if the Falcons have shored up their secondary in the draft.

Miami used to be home to new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Now Nolan is with the Falcons and we'll get to see how his homecoming goes.

There are two big storylines in the Week 4 Jacksonville game. The Jaguars are now run by new head coach Mike Mularkey, who was the offensive coordinator in Atlanta last season. Atlanta's new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was Jacksonville's offensive coordinator last year.

Do I need to mention that Atlanta head coach Mike Smith used to be a coordinator in Jacksonville?

Playing Jacksonville in the preseason is nothing new for the Falcons. But there are familiar faces in new places this time around.