ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons will open the season hosting NFC South rival New Orleans on Sept. 7 and have prime-time games against Tampa Bay and Green Bay.
That's according to the schedule released Wednesday by the NFL.
Atlanta welcomes the Buccaneers for a Thursday night game Sept. 18 and travels to Lambeau Field for a Monday night game Dec. 8. In addition, the Falcons face Detroit at London's Wembley Stadium Oct. 26.
The remaining home games are against Chicago (Oct. 12), Cleveland (Nov. 23), Arizona (Nov. 30), Pittsburgh (Dec. 14) and Carolina (Dec. 28). Additional road games: Cincinnati (Sept. 14), Minnesota (Sept. 28), the New York Giants (Oct. 5), Baltimore (Oct. 19), Tampa Bay (Nov. 9), Carolina (Nov. 16) and New Orleans (Dec. 21).
The Falcons are off Nov. 2.
For the first time, flexible scheduling may be applied in Weeks 5-10. During that period, flexible scheduling can be used in no more than two weeks by shifting a Sunday afternoon game into primetime and moving the Sunday night game to an afternoon start time.
Also, for the first time, a select number of games are being "cross-flexed," moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences.
"Flexible scheduling" will be used in Weeks 11-17 as it has been in recent years. In Weeks 11-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game.