In an Empire State of Mind

Have the Falcons been naughty or nice? Who's getting a lump of coal and who's getting tha I-pod nano?

Have the Falcons been naughty or nice? Who's getting a lump of coal and who's getting that I-pod nano?

(UPDATE THREE: Made it to New York !!!! In an Empire State of Mind. Will put up a new Beat Blog  after the game.  Read about the trip here and chat live during the game with Schultz. –DOL)

(UPDATE TWO: LET’S CHAT — Jeff Schultz and I had to fly to Boston to have a shot at making the game. Schultz pulled the Boston move early and is already on a train to New York. I’m at the South Station in Boston waiting for the 9:45 p.m. train that gets to Penn Station at 2:20 a.m.  So if anybody is out there and want to chat some football. Fire away! I put the Gameday info below and you all can update me on the Dallas at New Orleans game. — DOL)

(UPDATE: Falcons coach Mike Smith said decisions to play Matt Ryan and Michael Turner won’t turn on Dallas game on Saturday night. Invoked the “Best Chance to Win” doctrine. Dallas win over Saints = playoff elimination for Falcons. Ryan and Turner practiced on Friday. They were limited in their participation.)

BIRDLAND – It’s a week before Christmas and most NFL players have done their shopping.

Most are a little busy with getting ready for their last three games. (Y’all need some Christmas music for this blog? Here’s some Christmas Rappin’ from Kurtis Blow.

“Actually I got my mom on that,” wide receiver Roddy White said. “She’s doing a good job charging up my credit card.”

White’s mom doesn’t have any guidelines.

“I should have (put her on a budget),” said White, who signed a $48 million contract extension in August. “That’s what I should have started off with. She just brings things back to the house. I’m like, ‘who’s that for?’ She’ll say, ‘don’t worry about it.’ I’m letting her do all of my Christmas shopping this year.”

White was asked if he’s been naughty are nice?

“I’ve been pretty nice,” White said. “Handing out checks to everybody in my family. Things like that, you know. Everybody has been calling me and telling me thank you, so I’ve been pretty nice.”

Linebacker Curtis Lofton is doing his own shopping, but hasn’t accomplished much.

“Yeah, I’ve done a little, but the malls are packed,” Lofton said. “I’m always so tired, but I’ve gotten a little in.”

He doesn’t know what Santa is going to leave under his Christmas tree.

“I got a couple of watches that I want, but I really don’t have a wish list,” Lofton said.

Naughty or nice?

“Both,” Lofton said.

The Staying Alive Bow: Falcons 6-7 vs. Jets 7-6l

A New Orleans win over Dallas on Saturday will set up "The Staying Alive Bowl: Falcons 6-7 vs. Jets 7-6."

THE STAYING ALIVE BOWL: Falcons fans will have to root for the “Who Dat Nation” on Saturday night when the Dallas Cowboys play at New Orleans. A Cowboys victory would drive a nail in the Falcons’ playoff coffin. Dallas would be 9-5 and  holds the tiebreaker over the Falcons.

The Falcons, Dallas and Green Bay could all finish 9-7, but Green Bay has the better conference record.

A couple of other tidbits from playoff guru Matt Moore, of AtlantaFalcons.com:

1. If there were a three way tie between Cowboys, Giants, and Falcons the Giants would move through.

2. If there were a three or four way tie with San Francisco in the mix, the 49ers would win the tie breaker based on conference record and would be the 6th seed.

So Falcons coach Mike Smith would have a tougher “game time decision” on whether to play Matt Ryan (turf toe) or Michael Turner (ankle sprain).

Let’s just assume that they can both play, but are clearly not at 100 percent.  Smith will have to decide if he plays them  and risk a re-injury in a meaningless (playoff wise) game.

“That would not have any bearing on what we are going to do,” Smith said after practice on Friday. “Our main focus is the New York Jets. Any decisions that we are going to make will be based on what gives us the best chance to win against the Jets.”

Now the franchise needs to win-out to shake the 44-year hex.

So maybe you play them anyway.

So the Falcons need to Saints to reach 14-0.

WEATHER REPORT: The Weather Channel sent along this forecast for the game:

Gametime Weather Index: 3 (Very windy & chilly)
The Falcons haven’t played outdoors since the Sunday before Thanksgiving and the Jets have yet to play in cold, windy weather this month. A coastal storm may flirt its snowy reach into northern New Jersey Saturday night, but is expected to pull away Sunday.  However,   strong winds will linger through Sunday afternoon, and will, therefore, be a major issue in notoriously windy Giants Stadium. Winds from 15-20 mph with gusts over 30 mph will howl from the northwest toward the southeast end zone. Temperatures in the middle to upper 30s, wind chills will be stuck in the 20s.

BERGERON TRANSACTION CHART (Check out the Q & A with Troy Bergeron)

Sept. 5 – Troy Bergeron , released

Sept 5 – Troy Bergeron,  signed to practice squad

Nov. 14 – Troy Bergeron, signed to the 53-man roster

Nov. 15 – Troy Bergeron, released.

Nov. 18 – Troy Bergeron , signed to practice squad

Nov. 28 – Troy Bergeron, signed to active roster

Nov. 30 – Tory Bergeron, released

Dec. 1 – Troy Bergeron, signed to practice squad

Dec. 5 – Troy Bergeron, signed to active roster

Dec. 7 – Troy Bergeron, released

Dec. 15 – Troy Bergeron, signed to active roster.

Who’s else has their Christmas Shopping done? Been naughty or nice?  Going to root for the Saints to beat the Cowboys? Going to y’all “Who Dat?”

172 comments Add your comment

Matt "Choke" Ryan

December 18th, 2009
4:50 pm

Tell it like it is

December 18th, 2009
3:29 pm
TMoney—-Da man loves ice cream it won’t be a problem.I heard a lot of the falcons players don’t even like ice in thier tea.So the cold could be a proplem for the falcons ,just saying

“That’s a good one” people like that are always looking for a reason to have hope :) The Jets will run all over them and with that wind, the CHOKE’s passes will blow backwards :)

tyger

December 18th, 2009
4:58 pm

Falcoons Easy Button 0.7 Early Mock Draft

1. 16 Terrance Cody, DT, 6′5, 365, Ala – National Champion pedigree provides options, depth, strength up the middle. Cody, Jerry are the future at DT. Resolved.

2. 32 Patrick Robinson, CB, 5′11, 182, FSU – Falcoons have to figure a way to get back into the 2nd rd. – 5 star talent could be best in ATL since Deion.

3. 48 Myron Lewis, CB, 6′3, 202, Vandy – Finally, a big, smart corner. Faced top-level WR weekly, wont be in awe at next level.

4. 64 Eric Norwood, OLB, 6′1, 252, S.Car. – Best player on team; local product w injury history, but bigtime playmaker and team leader.

5. 80 John Jerry, OL, 6′6, 335, Miss. – interior line needs re-inforcements; took Reynolds on the outside last year; now some inside help; doesn’t hurt to be related to Peria either.

truth

December 18th, 2009
5:00 pm

Seriously Choke……..why do you spend so much time and effort on these blogs spewing about Matt Ryan? Don’t give me some childish answer, be a man about. To me it just don’t make since. How many times does a person have to say they don’t like Matt Ryan?

Matt "Choke" Ryan

December 18th, 2009
5:43 pm

truth

December 18th, 2009
5:00 pm
Seriously Choke……..why do you spend so much time and effort on these blogs spewing about Matt Ryan? Don’t give me some childish answer, be a man about. To me it just don’t make since. How many times does a person have to say they don’t like Matt Ryan?

“For the 1,000th time” I don’t dislike the CHOKE, I’m just giving him the same love the previous quarterback received. I thought that’s what a sports fan does :)

6 - 10

December 18th, 2009
6:00 pm

Samuel

December 18th, 2009
6:01 pm

Let’s hope the Saints can stave off the Dallas Cowboys and keep hope alive. Then worry about starting a not so 100% Ryan and Turner. The bottom line is you have to shut down Thomas Jones. Get some points from your defense and special teams. Be successful in your running game and throw the ball away from Revis their cornerback.

Matt "Choke" Ryan

December 18th, 2009
6:04 pm

what ever guys me and mike vick are myspace friends and hes in my to 5 so there yall dont know cuase im way too baditcal for yall lameos

Falcon 8211

December 18th, 2009
6:17 pm

leave choke alone at least he is not on vick today. thank god. but if he does please answer this question choke how many championships does he have. thanks that what i thought . the game on sun with the jets is all about pride. let’s see if the falcons have any

mars

December 18th, 2009
6:48 pm

All “Choke”, all the time. D-Led, I thought you ran a classy joint. What happened to the crowd that kept this blog interesting in the off season? What did they call themselves, the Birdcage er sump’in?

Lesa

December 18th, 2009
7:31 pm

Great post, STL Falcon! I agree 100%. The word “fan” is short for “fanatic.” I am a long-time Falcons fanatic. There’s nothing logical about it. I’m still hoping the Falcons can win out and at least break “no consecutive winning seasons curse” even if they don’t make the playoffs. GO FALCONS!!!!!

Falcon 8211

December 18th, 2009
8:41 pm

i love the falcons too hope we break the curse at the least. go falcons

Win,lose, or tie bravos til i die

December 18th, 2009
9:25 pm

hey if it werent for elam we would be 8-5

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 18th, 2009
10:06 pm

DrJ

December 18th, 2009
10:58 pm

Before I saw that Sanchez might play, I was sure that if Dallas wins, Ryan and Turner would sit. But if Sanchez actually does start, I think Smitty will put Ryan in to see how he does, but will have a quick hook if he stumbles. Likewise, I think Turner will rotate time with Snelling.

TheManMike

December 18th, 2009
11:08 pm

Poo Scat!!!!!!

chuck

December 19th, 2009
12:47 pm

I think it’s time to bar Matt “Choke” Ryan from this and all other boards.

Avery

December 19th, 2009
1:32 pm

Choke is kind of entertaining, you can use his posting times to figure out when he’s at home and when’s in Vick’s bedroom.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 19th, 2009
6:40 pm

(ANYBODY OUT THERE, WANT TO TALK FOOTBALL? STUCK IN BOSTON, WAITING FOR TRAIN TO NEW YORK.)

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH AGAINST THE NEW YORK JETS

1. Stop the coal miner’s son: Jets running back Thomas Jones of Big Stone Gap, Va., has rushed for 1,000 yards for the fifth consecutive season. He has 1,167 yards and helps to power the league’s top rushing attack, which averages 169.1 yards per game.

Jones will face a stiff test against the Falcons defense, which has allowed 89.8 yards rushing over the past four games.

“It’s definitely a big challenge,” Falcons linebacker Stephen Nicholas said. “Jones is back there running the ball like a mad man.”

Jones has rushed for over 100 yards in 33 games in his career. He has six 100-yard games this season, including a 210-yard effort against Buffalo on Oct. 18.

New England’s Fred Taylor is the only running back to run for more than 100 yards against the Falcons this season.

“You don’t want anybody to run the ball against you,” Falcons middle linebacker Curtis Lofton said. “I think their offensive line has five or six guys who have been taken in the first round. They move well and they are smart players.”

2. Watch out for Darrelle the Dominator: Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis will shadow Falcons receiver Roddy White.

His job is to shut down the opposition’s top receiving threat.

“There is nobody close to him in this league,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “I’ve been in the league a long time and I’ve never seen anybody close to him. We put him on the best receiver each week, and each week he goes out and doesn’t just compete, he dominates.”

With Revis locking down receivers, Ryan is free to roll coverages to the opposite side of the field and allow his blitzes more time to get to the quarterback.

“I’ve seen where people will lock a corner on a second receiver,” Ryan said. “But to do it down after down against the opponents’ best receiver — and not just on middle-of-the-road guys, but Pro Bowl talent — the guy is really, really amazing to me.”

3. Who is David Harris?: With Bart Scott and Calvin Pace in the Jets linebacker corps, middle linebacker David Harris gets overlooked.

Harris, who’s in his third year out of Michigan, can stuff the run and play in pass coverage. He’s the Jets’ top tackler with 123. He also has 5.5 sacks and two interceptions.

“He’s been a tremendous player on the No. 1 defense in the National Football League,” Ryan said. “I think he’s a guy who will get a lot of attention as well.”

The Falcons are well aware of Harris.

“He’s having a very good year,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “I’ve been very impressed with David Harris.”

4. O-line has to get nasty: The weather could make field conditions sloppy, and the Falcons may have to rely on their running game.

The Falcons have not rushed for more that 90 yards since Michael Turner was originally hurt against Carolina on Nov. 14. Over the past four games, they’ve rushed for 90, 75, 61 and 89 yards.

Getting Turner back would certainly help. He’s a game-time decision as he’s coming back from reinjuring his ankle against Tampa Bay on Nov. 29.

If Turner is not able to go, the offensive line has to open some holes to spring backups Jerious Norwood and Jason Snelling so they won’t have to rely on the passing game in the notorious swirling winds at the Meadowlands.

“We are preparing to see Turner,” Ryan said. “He’s a load. When I was in Baltimore we played San Diego. I’m like ‘all right, L.T. (LaDainian Tomlinson) is out of there.’ I’m thinking I’m getting a break and play seven-man spacing. Turner runs for about 50 yards. So I’m like ‘wow, who is this guy.’ ”

5. Both teams could turn to backups: Both teams have quarterback dilemmas.

Matt Ryan (turf toe) and rookie Mark Sanchez (knee) could return to action from injuries.

Both practiced last week with their teams but could give way to their backups, Chris Redman and Kellen Clemens.

Early word out of both camps is that it looks like Sanchez and Redman will square off.

Sanchez has struggled this season, completing 53.2 percent of his passes for 2,059 yards with 11 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

“Mark is a very talented quarterback,” Smith said. “He cannot only make plays throwing the football, but he also is a very effective scrambler.”

Redman passed for 303 yards against the New Orleans Saints last week, his second-highest total over his seven-year NFL career.

Key matchups

Jets LB Bart Scott vs. Falcons FB Ovie Mughelli: The former teammates used to have classic battles when they were trying to earn playing time in Baltimore.

“We were both very hungry,” Mughelli said. “We knew we could be starters and we fought for that every day.” Jets coach Rex Ryan used to witness those battles when he was an assistant with the Ravens. “Bart Scott is kind of like our engine,” Ryan said. “So I’m looking forward to those contacts. He is a physical football player.”

Jets CB Darrelle Revis vs. Falcons WR Roddy White: White needs 85 yards receiving to post his third consecutive 1,000-yard season. Revis is being touted as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He has six interceptions and a league-high 30 passes defensed. “They pass a lot and we know that,” Revis said. “We know that there could be opportunities for us to make plays. We know there are going to be a lot of balls thrown to us as well.”

Falcons LB Curtis Lofton vs. Jets RB Thomas Jones: Lofton leads the defense with 140 tackles and has helped the Falcons hold three of the past four opponents to under 100 yards rushing. Jones powers the league’s top rushing offense with 1,167 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is the first Jets back since Johnny Hector in 1987-88 to post back-to-back seasons of 10 or more rushing touchdowns.

The Falcons will win if …

They win the turnover battle: “We are 32nd in the league in interceptions per pass,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “That’s a stat that obviously nobody is proud of. But I think we’ve gotten better the last three weeks and have really protected the football. We aren’t throwing the careless interceptions.”

Control the Jets pressure: The Jets are trying to bring the pressure, and it comes from just about anywhere on the field. Defensive end Shaun Ellis leads the team with six sacks. Linebacker Calvin Pace, who served a four-game suspension at the beginning of the season, is second with six sacks.

Convert on third downs: The Jets have dominated their past three opponents on third down. The Jets have allowed a league-low 12.2 percent of third-down conversions (5 of 41) and have stopped the last 24 third-down attempts. The past three games were against Carolina, Buffalo and Tampa Bay. The Falcons have converted 69 of 166 third downs (41.6 percent).

Chris Vivlamore

December 19th, 2009
6:59 pm

DLED: Planes, trains and automobiles! It’s Philly all over again!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 19th, 2009
7:01 pm

There were 3 different “CHOKES!” I blocked all of them. One sent me a message calling me “a serious Uncle Tom.” Choke used to go by MV7, but that was blocked.

I told CHOKE. “I can’t be an Uncle Tom, I don’t have any nieces or nephews.”

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 19th, 2009
7:02 pm

Philly 2005. I told Wyche the same thing. He was at Lucy’s last night. He’s in New Orleans for tonight’s game.

SPARTAN NATION

December 19th, 2009
7:08 pm

It looks like Chris Redman and Michael Turner are going to start? Is that how you see it?

Did you see where Rex Ryan said he didn’t get the Falcons job because he was “Too fat?”

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 19th, 2009
7:19 pm

I’m betting Redman/Turner, too. Hopefully, I’ll be at the Stadium early enough to tweet the update. I think Ice will be active. I should get a ride over from Commissioner Goodell. I want be too far from his office when I get to Penn Station.

Rex was joking, but he seriously believes he didn’t fit the image the Falcons were going for post Petrino & Vick.

Jeff Schultz

December 19th, 2009
8:00 pm

D-Led — We’re about 10 minutes outside of New York. A lot of that white stuff coming down.

Reid Adair

December 19th, 2009
8:09 pm

D Led, sorry that Air Tran thing didn’t work out for you.

And, nice work on MV7/the multiple “Chokes.”

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 19th, 2009
8:19 pm

Thanks Reid!!!

It’s hard doing the season, but we have to get back to focusing on the football and the team.

Reid Adair

December 19th, 2009
8:23 pm

Yes, and getting back to football, I agree with you. I think Michael Turner will play/start – and Matt Ryan won’t.

Reid Adair

December 19th, 2009
8:27 pm

0-0 Cowboys vs. Saints with 12:35 left in 1st. Cowboys 1st & 10 at own 41.

dylan is hoping for snow

December 19th, 2009
8:27 pm

Will Ryan start?

Reid Adair

December 19th, 2009
8:30 pm

Romo 49 yards to Austin, 7-0 Dallas with 11:24 left in 1st.

Falcon 8211

December 19th, 2009
8:37 pm

hey d. led the saints look flat big return by crayton

Falcon 8211

December 19th, 2009
8:39 pm

cowboys look up for this game. bad news for us

Falcon 8211

December 19th, 2009
8:41 pm

cowboys already in field goal range

Falcon 8211

December 19th, 2009
8:48 pm

14-0 dallas d. led

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 19th, 2009
8:54 pm

I’m back. Got kicked out of the upstairs area. Some security tried to get nasty. But I was cool. Didn’t take him out.

Thanks for the updates!

Dylan: I think Chris Redman will start.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 19th, 2009
8:56 pm

The 8:35 to Framhingham just left on Track 7. Use to love riding the train as a kid. Remember a St. Louis to Detroit train ride as a kid. Hope they have a beverage car on the train.

Saints play well from behind. But their secondary is awfully shaky without Greer.

Falcon 8211

December 19th, 2009
9:04 pm

looks like the saints may hold to a field goal. the only game i want them to win and their offense can not move the ball

Falcon 8211

December 19th, 2009
9:05 pm

boys goin on 4th

Falcon 8211

December 19th, 2009
9:06 pm

cheap pently on the aints32 gives boy 1st @ aints

Falcon 8211

December 19th, 2009
9:07 pm

32 romo sacked @ 37

realistic

December 19th, 2009
9:08 pm

matt ryan should finish the rest of the season with his team, and if he don’t I’m going to think of him as the biggest pu$$y around here. These peoples are drinking some good kool-aid if they think matt ryan is going to lead the falcons to a super bowl. He don’t have fire in his belly at all. You should win, and lose with your team. Matt ryan is just a big hype machine. I can’t believe the falcons passed on flacco to get this noodle arm of statue.

Falcon 8211

December 19th, 2009
9:09 pm

saints d holds still 14-0 dallas

Falcon 8211

December 19th, 2009
9:10 pm

d led. how sure are you turner will play

Falcon 8211

December 19th, 2009
9:11 pm

how did he look @ practice or was it closed to the public

Falcon 8211

December 19th, 2009
9:13 pm

is the team spirit up or down d. led

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 19th, 2009
9:16 pm

Reality seemed to be setting in that they probably would not be making the playoffs. But, they got a big charge out of Ryan and Turner being back. Also, kicker Matt Bryant had them fired up this week too. He was booming (and making) his kicks.

Falcon 8211

December 19th, 2009
9:19 pm

saints @ the dallas 17 1st and 10

Falcon 8211

December 19th, 2009
9:19 pm

miss fire to the endzone

Falcon 8211

December 19th, 2009
9:21 pm

do you think the falcons will play with fire and passion still or what?
saints 3 dallas14

SadDawg

December 19th, 2009
9:22 pm

DOL, how is the weather going to affect the Falcons. Being a dome team with no wind-cold concerns at home, will they just try to run the ball?