Falcons must capitalize on extra home play during 2022 campaign

The Falcons have not had fewer home games in the regular season than last year. Not in a 16-game slate, anyway.

They “hosted” a game in London last year – as they did in 2014 – reducing the number of regular season games played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to seven.

This year, for the first time ever, they will have nine.

An extra home game comes every other year as part of the relatively new 17-game schedule, which was first implemented last year. The odd number of games creates a difference in home and road games, which can play a role in a team’s overall record.

That, of course, depends on how they play at home versus on the road – the Falcons were a solid road team last year and didn’t do as well inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Falcons want to reverse that trend in Arthur Smith’s second season, and they would be helped by a raucous home crowd if they have something positive to cheer him up.

They will have an extra chance this season, with that ninth home game being a factor in how this season plays out. The 17th game is determined by standing within the division. They are paired with a team from the 2021 equal division standing from outside the conference.

The L.A Chargers are the additional opponent. The Bolts, like the Falcons, finished third in their division and therefore go to Atlanta. Justin Herbert, Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa will play the Falcons on November 6 at 1 p.m. ET at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

In addition to home-and-home against NFC South opponents, the Falcons will also play all of the NFC West and AFC North divisions. The remaining three opponents are the Chargers and teams of equal division standing with NFC teams outside the west, as the Falcons play that entire division.

That adds the Chicago Bears (Nov. 20) to the home slate – buy tickets here – and the Washington Commanders (Nov. 27) to the road portion of the schedule.

While the Chargers are a good team with tons of star power, they will have to come across the country and play a 10 a.m. PT body clock game, situations where West Coast teams often falter. Getting that game at home is much better than the Falcons having to make another cross-country trip, especially when they are already set to play the LA Rams and Seattle Seahawks on the road.

Can they take advantage of the extra home game? Can they do better at home than they did a year ago. Doing both of those things will be essential to exceeding 2022 expectations.

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