Falcons scheduled for 4 prime-time games

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The Atlanta Falcons will play on national television four times this season.

The NFL released its full league schedule Tuesday, which included four prime-time games for the Falcons, including their home opener in Week 2 against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football.

Atlanta will also play Dallas, New Orleans and Detroit in nationally televised games.

Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys will play at the Georgia Dome at 8:20 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4. The game will be televised by NBC.

The Falcons will host the New Orleans Saints, the defending NFC South champions, at 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29th on the NFL Network.

In what was a hotly contested game last season that concluded with accusations of nastiness and bad sportsmanship, the Falcons will travel to play Calvin Johnson and the upstart Detroit Lions at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22 at Ford Field. ESPN will televise the game.

The Falcons get a rematch with the New York Giants at Georgia Dome, too. The team that eliminated the Falcons from the playoffs last season comes to town for a 1 p.m. game on Sunday, Dec. 16.

Atlanta, looking for its fifth consecutive winning season, will open its season on the road against Kansas City at 1 p.m. on Sept. 9.

Manning’s first game as Broncos quarterback will come in prime time as Denver hosts Pittsburgh on the opening Sunday of the NFL season. The four-time MVP was released by Indianapolis after missing the 2011 season following neck surgery.

He won’t have an easy assignment against the Steelers, who ranked first in overall defense and against the pass last year.

“The opening game in Denver obviously will be an interesting way to start the season,” Steelers President Art Rooney said. “There will be a lot of attention paid to Peyton Manning’s first game with the Denver Broncos, so it’ll be exciting to start out that way.”

Steelers at Broncos is one of four prime-time games in the league’s kickoff week, Sept. 5-10. The schedule, released Tuesday, has the Super Bowl champion Giants hosting the Cowboys in the first Wednesday NFL game since 1948; the league moved the game to avoid a conflict with President Obama’s Thursday night speech at the Democratic National Convention.

The Monday night opening doubleheader has Cincinnati at Baltimore, followed by San Diego at Oakland.

A juicy opening-week matchup features San Francisco at Green Bay; the teams combined to go 28-4 in 2011. New Orleans, still awaiting league punishment to its players for the bounty program that targeted opponents for dangerous hits, hosts Washington.


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