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Falcons, NFL will not play any exhibition games

The Falcons were slated to have two exhibition games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Aug. 14 vs. Miami and Aug. 28 vs. Cincinnati) and two on the road (Aug. 21 at Buffalo and Sept. 3 at Jacksonville).

This is not good news for the Falcons, who have retooled their roster after getting off to slow starts in each of the past two seasons. The Falcons started 1-7 last season and 1-4 in 2018. They have posted back-to-back 7-9 seasons and have not made the playoff since the 2017 season.

Before the pandemic hit, the Falcons were considering holding joint practices with Buffalo and Miami to help them get ready for the season.

The Falcons signed six of their rookie draft picks on Monday and started testing them on Tuesday. They must have two negative COVID-19 tests before being allowed in the team facility. The Falcons also signed 20 undrafted free agents.

The Falcons are currently at 90 players on the roster and must cut 10 players to get down to the new limit. Quarterbacks and injured veterans can report to camp on Thursday. The remaining veterans can report on Tuesday.

The Falcons open the regular season against Seattle on Sunday, Sept. 13 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Here’s a game-by-game breakdown of the regular season:

> Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13, vs. Seahawks, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: Seattle, which is led by quarterback Russell Wilson, went 11-5 last season and went to the playoffs. The Seahawks lost to Green Bay in the divisional round. Last meeting: The Seahawks won 27-20 on Oct. 27, 2019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to drop the Falcons to 1-7 on the season. Series record: Seahawks lead the series 11-6. The Falcons lead 2-0 in the playoffs.

> Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 20, at Cowboys, 1 p.m., Fox

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The skinny: Dallas, which fired Jason Garrett and hired former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, have retooled on defense while getting more weapons on offense for quarterback Dak Prescott. The Cowboys, with Jerry Jones drafting from his yacht, selected dynamic wide receiver CeeDee Lamb in the first round. They are trying to rebound from an 8-8 season. Last meeting: The Cowboys won 22-19 on Nov. 18, 2018. Series record: The Cowboys lead 15-11 and are 2-0 in playoff games.

> Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 27, vs. Bears, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: Chicago appears to be moving forward with quarterback Nick Foles after opting not to pick up Mitchell Trubisky’s fifth-year option. Foles, a Super Bowl MVP for the Eagles, is a better fit for coach Matt Nagy’s offense. The Bears went 8-8 last season. Last meeting: The Falcons needed a goal-line stand to win 23-17 on Sept. 10, 2017. Series record: Chicago leads 14-13.

> Week 4: Monday, Oct. 5, at Packers, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

The skinny: Green Bay went 13-3 in coach Matt LaFleur’s first season, but lost to the 49ers in the NFC Championship game. They shook up the draft by selecting Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round. Last meeting: The Packers won 34-20 on Dec. 9, 2018 in Green Bay. Series record: The Packers lead 16-14, and the teams are 2-2 in the playoffs.

> Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11, vs. Panthers, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: Carolina has a new head coach in Matt Rhule and have handed the quarterback reins to Bridgewater. Last meeting: The Falcons won 40-20 on Dec. 8, 2019. Series record: The Falcons lead 32-18 and have won the past five meetings and eight of the past nine.

> Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 18, at Vikings, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: Minnesota went 10-6 last season. The Vikings beat the Saints in the wild-card round of the playoffs before losing to the 49ers in the divisional round. The Falcons had a tough time with running back Dalvin Cook in last season’s opener. Last meeting: The Vikings won 28-12 on Sept. 8, 2019. Series record: The Vikings lead the series 19-10. The teams are 1-1 in the playoffs.

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> Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25, vs. Lions, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: Detroit is trying to rebound from a 3-12-1 season. Matthew Stafford remains at quarterback. Last meeting: The Falcons won 30-26 on Sept. 24, 2017. Series record: Detroit leads the series 24-13.

> Week 8: Thursday, Oct. 29, at Panthers, 8:20 p.m., Fox

The skinny: This will be their second meeting of the season.

> Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8, vs. Broncos, 1 p.m., CBS

The skinny: Drew Lock is taking over at quarterback after Denver went 7-9 last season. Last meeting: The Falcons won 23-16 on Oct. 9, 2016 to improve to 4-1. Series record: Denver leads 8-6 in the regular season and beat the Falcons 34-19 in Super Bowl XXXIII.

> Week 10 – Bye

> Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 22, at Saints, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: The Falcons played rival New Orleans after their bye week last season and pulled off the upset shocker on the road. The Saints have won the past three NFC South division titles and will be the favorite entering 2020. Last meeting: The Saints won 26-18 on Nov. 28, 2019. Series record: The Falcons lead 52-49 and 1-0 in the playoffs.

> Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 29, vs. Raiders, 1 p.m., CBS

The skinny: Coach Jon Gruden and the Raiders will play their first season in Las Vegas. They went 7-9 last season. Former Georgia Tech tight end Darren Waller caught 90 passes for 1,145 yards and three touchdowns last season. Last meeting: The Falcons won 35-28 in Oakland on Sept. 18. 2016. Series record: Tied 7-7.

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> Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 6, vs. Saints, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: This will be their second meeting of the season.

> Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 13, at Chargers, 4:25 p.m., Fox

The skinny: Los Angeles moved on from Philip Rivers and drafted quarterback Justin Herbert. Last meeting: The Chargers won 33-30 on Oct. 23, 2016. Series record: The Falcons lead 8-2.

> Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 20, vs. Buccaneers, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: Tampa Bay retained all of its key defensive players, including Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh and picked up Brady to get the ball to dynamic wide receivers Michael Evans and Chris Godwin. They also added former New England tight end Rob Gronkowski. Last meeting: The Falcons won 28-22 in overtime Dec. 29, 2019. Series record: The Falcons lead 28-25.

> Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 27, at Chiefs, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: The defending Super Bowl champs are led by quarterback Mahomes. Last meeting: The Chiefs won 29-28 on Dec. 4, 2016. Series record: Kansas City leads 6-3.

> Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 3, at Bucs, 1 p.m., Fox

The skinny: This will be their second meeting of the season.

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