We've known for a while now who teams will play, but now the most crucial part about the NFL schedule has been released—the dates.
In addition to their regular NFC South division matchups, the Atlanta Falcons will also play all the teams from the NFC East and AFC West.
Matt Ryan and company are looking to reach the playoffs once again, but it's not going to be an easy task.
Still, the Falcons are ready to roll, and given the layout of their schedule, they'll have to give it their all week after week.
Week 1 9/9: Atlanta Falcons vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m. EST Fox
Week 2 9/17: Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons, 8:30 p.m. EST ESPN
Week 3 9/23: Atlanta Falcons vs. San Diego Chargers, 4:05 p.m. EST Fox
Week 4 9/30: Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m. EST Fox
Week 5 10/7: Atlanta Falcons vs. Washington Redskins, 1 p.m. EST Fox
Week 6 10/14: Oakland Raiders vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m. EST CBS
Week 7 10/21: BYE
Week 8 10/28: Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles 1 p.m. EST Fox
Week 9 11/4: Dallas Cowboys vs. Atlanta Falcons, 8:20 p.m. EST NBC
Week 10 11/11: Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m. EST Fox
Week 11 11/18: Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m. EST Fox
Week 12 11/25: Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m. EST Fox
Week 13 11/29: New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons, 8:20 p.m. EST NFL Network
Week 14 12/9: Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m. EST Fox
Week 15 12/16: New York Giants vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m. EST Fox
Week 16 12/22: Atlanta Falcons vs. Detroit Lions, 8 p.m. EST ESPN
Week 17 12/30: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m. EST Fox
Atlanta's defense will really be put to the test this year, as the it will have to face some extremely talented quarterbacks.
What's more, the Falcons have to battle against Drew Brees, Josh Freeman and Cam Newton twice in 2012.
It's going to be an intense ride for the Falcons defense, which likely means the offense will have to help carry the team throughout the year.
Most Pivotal Matchup
While non-division games are crucial to the Falcons' success in 2012, the division games against the New Orleans Saints are of grave importance.
The NFC South is one of the toughest divisions in the NFL today, and the Saints are easily the Falcons' biggest competition.
The Falcons have to find a way to beat their arch-rival twice this year, as it will give them a significant advantage in the division.
This, of course, will be incredibly difficult, but it's certainly possible. Both the offense and defense must continue to rise up in order to reach the postseason once again.
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