Giants arriving at big moment in Falcons’ season




By MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM
FLOWERY BRANCH — All of a sudden payback is far down the list of motives for the Falcons when they play the Giants on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

After NFC also-ran Carolina smacked them last Sunday, the Falcons are just trying to regroup. Now their 24-2 playoff defeat at New York in January seems almost incidental even though the residual negatives from that game have loomed over Atlanta’s strong regular season.

“I don’t have this, like, deep desire to get them back,” Falcons tackle Tyson Clabo said. “I just want to play well and defend the Dome and get a win.”

Revenge aside, there are lots of reasons for the Falcons (11-2) to be keen on defeating the Giants (8-5). It starts with the chance they could end up facing New York again in the playoffs.

Also, though the Falcons have already won the NFC South title, they have yet to earn a bye or a playoff home game. They can still secure the NFC’s top playoff seed and thus the chance to reach the Super Bowl with two home playoff victories.

Unless they collapse over the final three games, the Falcons should at least earn a bye and one home playoff game. Better to put those issues to rest as soon as possible rather than rely on defeats by other teams.

Atlanta Falcons' Julio Jones (11) leaps into the end zone past Carolina Panthers' Haruki Nakamura (43) for a touchdown as Falcons' Harry Douglas (83) watches during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

Atlanta Falcons' Julio Jones (11) leaps into the end zone past Carolina Panthers' Haruki Nakamura (43) for a touchdown as Falcons' Harry Douglas (83) watches during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

Plus, the Falcons want to surge into the postseason with a strong finish rather than slip in with so many question marks.

“We said last week leading into it that was our goal to come out in the fourth quarter [of the season] and play our best football of the year,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “Obviously, through the first game of the fourth quarter we did not do that.”

The past two Super Bowl champions got on a roll in December and carried it into January.

In 2010, the Packers had to win their last two regular-season games to secure the final NFC Wild Card berth. They won three road games in the NFC playoffs, including a second-round victory at Atlanta, before defeating the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

Similarly, the Giants were in danger of missing the playoffs after losing five of six games in 2011. They made the playoffs by winning their final two regular-season games, then started their championship run with a 24-2 victory over the Falcons.

The postseason flops against Green Bay and New York are major reasons why so many remained skeptical of the Falcons even after they started 8-0. The listless performance at Carolina amplified those doubts.

Defeating the Giants could start a surge to the playoffs for the Falcons. At the very least an Atlanta victory could provide evidence that its poor effort in the 30-20 loss at Carolina was an aberration rather than a sign of real trouble.

“We have a standard here and obviously [last Sunday] did not live up to that standard,” Clabo said. “We are disappointed we performed the way we did. On the flip side of that, we are excited we have the world champs coming in and we can respond and put on a performance that lives up to that standard that we’ve set for ourselves.”

The Giants will have plenty of motivation. They haven’t yet earned a playoff spot and lead the Redskins and Cowboys by just one game in the NFC East.

The Giants thrashed the Saints 52-27 last Sunday. They still have most of the key players from their championship team.

“They are obviously a very good team,” Falcons guard Justin Blalock said. “They don’t give out Super Bowl trophies for nothing. They always seem to be playing good ball when the winter comes around. We know that we’ve got a tough one ahead of us and we’re going to prepare accordingly.”

Atlanta didn’t appear ready for Carolina, the last-place team in the NFC South.

The Panthers made no secret that they were fired up for the game. They trash-talked the Falcons through the media in the days before the game and kept talking as they beat them on the field. The Falcons had no response.

Perhaps that humbling defeat and a visit from the Giants will get Atlanta’s attention.

“It’s not going to take much for us to get up for this game,” Falcons defensive end John Abraham said.

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93 comments Add your comment

Jimmy

December 12th, 2012
5:50 am

Falcons will bring the intensity and win Sunday versus the Giants, thus shutting up all the ‘haters’ out there.

They then win at Detroit and home to the Bucs to finish the season 14-2, gaining home field throughout the NFC playoffs. They dominate Washington in the divisional round then win a close game versus Green Bay in the NFC Championship, and head to the Super Bowl versus my Texans (I grew up in Houston).

The Texans win a close one, 28-23 and the ‘haters’ come out again.

Book it!

Jimmy

December 12th, 2012
5:54 am

My second comment wasn’t allowed???

All I said that no matter what Tagliabue does (rescinding the ‘Bounty Gate’ suspensions), the asterisk will forever remain attached to the ‘Aints SB victory a few years ago.

RNew

December 12th, 2012
6:13 am

This game should be an indicator for what’s to come for the Falcons. Let’s get get get it! #Falcons #RiseUP

Elderly

December 12th, 2012
6:17 am

The Carolina game showed us much more than the numbers 11 and 2 do. I hope you’re right, Jimmy, but I have real doubts we will beat the Giants.

JJ

December 12th, 2012
6:34 am

Lets go Giants!

Falcon Fan since 1966

December 12th, 2012
6:42 am

Abberation, Yep that’s what it was. I look for a completely different team this week in the Dome against the Giants. Smitty needs to be wearing a hat Sunday with a rabbit inside.

jimb

December 12th, 2012
6:46 am

Falcons 8-0 for the first half of the season. Should they lose to the Giants, they will be playing .500 football for the second half so far. If they don’t bring it together against the Giants, this team could be in real trouble.

The Real Falcon

December 12th, 2012
6:57 am

Will be at the tailgate early Sunday morning and early in the building. Fans better be ready for the NY crowd and send them home crying! RISE UP!!

Jim

December 12th, 2012
7:10 am

If this ship isn`t turned around quick it is going to be ugly Sunday in the Dome!

Blue Fender

December 12th, 2012
7:31 am

Maybe the loss to Carolina was a good thing. It got the bad taste of defeat in the Falcons’ mouths. They do not want to lose that way again. We need to go balls-out all the way to the Super Bowl.

Season Ticket Holder

December 12th, 2012
7:33 am

This is a big game more so for the Falcons than the Giants. This Falcons has to prove that they are not pretenders and that they are a good football team. Coach Smith, its time to open the play book beyond page 10 so that the Falcons can repay the Giants for beating them last year in the playoffs.

just win.

December 12th, 2012
7:40 am

“Also, though the Falcons have already won the NFC South title, they have yet to earn a bye or a playoff home game… Unless they collapse over the final three games, the Falcons should at least earn a bye and one home playoff game.”

DOL, why is this so hard for you to understand????? By winning the NFC South, the Falcons are GUARANTEED to host at least 1 playoff game. School children know these rules, and they’re not paid a handsome salary to cover a game for a living. Step it up.

Pamela

December 12th, 2012
8:14 am

Get them back? REALLY…to get someone back you actually have to PLAY in the game. The ONLY thing the Falcants’ did was run around the field looking lost…as usual. The NY Giants will once again STOMP you all in the ground. The Falcants’ are NOT a good team. They won 9 out of 12 games by 3 points or less. THAT is NOT a good win. They will lose and will not have homefield advantage when they play their one and only playoff game of the season. They will lose their first game. The Falcants are NOT a Championship team period.

Falcants – a football team that CAN’T play REAL football. They are losers. :)

Pamela

December 12th, 2012
8:17 am

Yeah the Falcants’ will go to the superbowl and watch the two other teams play. They are NOT Superbowl material. That’s so obvious. It really doesn’t matter where their 1 game will be for the playoffs. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the Georgia Dome or somewhere else. They will lose their first game..as usual.

BillA

December 12th, 2012
8:19 am

I’m a Giants fan now living in ATL metro and I feel this is the type of game that can define a team. There is no way the Falcons can lose this game…this is a “must-win” type of game. Having said that, I think the Giants win this one 27 – 14.

Ramblin Black Jacket

December 12th, 2012
8:28 am

The Falcons need to get that killer instinct like the N.Y.s, Green Bays, New Englands, etc…… This good guy image the entire organization has isn’t going to get us far. Oh yeah Matty bubblegum arm is not the answer.

Jake

December 12th, 2012
8:28 am

Pamela….your name is gay

Bill

December 12th, 2012
8:29 am

After the season, they may look back on the Carolina loss as the best thing that could have happened to them.

Statick

December 12th, 2012
8:34 am

It’s not going to take much for us to get up for this game,” Falcons defensive end John Abraham said.

I believe that’s true for YOU, John. I just don’t believe it’s the same for all of your teammates. Put a foot into someone’s ### and make them accountable for the rest of the season.

Pamela

December 12th, 2012
8:34 am

Jake…I am a female…O.K. then..hahahahahahaha! :)

Pamela

December 12th, 2012
8:35 am

Jake..is that all you got. Saying a females’ name is gay? Wow… too funny! :)

Samuel

December 12th, 2012
8:44 am

I want to see against the Giants is a team with killer instinct, poised, mistake free and be able to win a game that most this Sunday, don’t think you can.

Mason

December 12th, 2012
8:47 am

Good article Orlando, would like to point one thing though. You said the Falcons have won the division but not secured a home playoff game” That’s obviously incorrect as all division champs play @ least one home playoff game.. just sayin’. :-D

correction

December 12th, 2012
8:48 am

i think someone already mentioned it but oceans may rise and countries may fall, but no matter what the falcons will have a home playoff game.

Mason

December 12th, 2012
8:48 am

POINT OUT THAT WAS.

Mason

December 12th, 2012
8:52 am

Ah yes correction I just saw that, just thought I’d point it out is all. :-D

Esquire

December 12th, 2012
8:58 am

Not to be invidious, but we will find out this weekend, the miserable truth, that we use to be:

THE MIGHTY, MIGHTY FALCONS!

BUT NOT ANYMORE! Our streak of luck has been exhausted.

Home field advantage for the playoffs means virtually nothing to the Falcons, as has been clearly evident in the last few years.

Whadda Ya Know?

December 12th, 2012
9:00 am

Once again, repeat after me, this team is NOT built to win against the better teams. OL and DL have been an issue since TD and Smitty’s arrival and has not been fixed yet. We have a statue QB that cannot function behind our porous line. We have a DL that gets zero pass rush with just the front four. That’s why sCam sat back there and did what he wanted to all day long.

It’s not rocket science. How hard is it to get some big uglies on both sides of the ball? Solidify the trenches and watch how this team really excels.

Whadda Ya Know?

December 12th, 2012
9:05 am

Pamela where is your team ranked in the playoffs? That’s what I thought hater. None of us know what’s going to happen in the playoffs. If you are sure you do, send me the winning PowerBall numbers for tonight.

JJ

December 12th, 2012
9:05 am

Dont know the above imposter, but its not me! Go Falcons!

D3’s Falcons Fan blog:

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-fans/2012/12/09/atlanta-falcons-birds-embarrassed-by-panthers/?cp=11

Bobby

December 12th, 2012
9:11 am

Jake: You’re Ledbetter’s boy toy. New Orleans won their SB fair and square and will still have a SB ring after this year while the Falcants sit at home and talk about next year.

Esquire

December 12th, 2012
9:12 am

Giants 28
Falcons 18

At least this time, we score a bunch of field goals.

WE USED TO BE THE MIGHTY, MIGHTY FALCONS!!!

Falcons82

December 12th, 2012
9:19 am

I am so over these Falcons haters……If you don’t like the Falcons then go on your teams page and make comments but leave the Falcons alone. Seems like most of you live to hate on the Falcons…GET A LIFE!!!!

Whadda Ya Know?

December 12th, 2012
9:22 am

Come on now Bobby, you know NOs SB rings have a special Katrina storm insignia on it showing you got the storm award that year. That’s why NO is the only team that still talks about that one SB ring–when many others have 3-5 and never mention theres. Even TB doesn’t bring up their SB win like you NO fans. Enjoy that award from the NFL.

Whadda Ya Know?

December 12th, 2012
9:23 am

“theirs” as in their RINGS Bobby.

d

December 12th, 2012
9:24 am

Don’t worry JJ and Esquire, the imposters and are, of course, the poor,aints fans yelling like drunken bums from the gutter at 5-8.

True Falcon Fan

December 12th, 2012
9:25 am

WOW is that really you saying this crap —- please tell me this ain’t you???

Esquire
December 12th, 2012
9:12 am

The Carolina game meant that much, are you kidding me?

ComON- Man — shake it off — G-men comin to town — statement game this Sunday

Go Falcons — G-men next

Jeffrey

December 12th, 2012
9:25 am

We gotta stop David Wilson. Then we need to run on the first 12 plays. Run run run. Then we’ll air it out. Even if we don’t get any yards on those first 12 plays I believe it will be enough to open up the passing game. Go falcons.

Esquire

December 12th, 2012
9:27 am

Falcons82

December 12th, 2012
9:19 am

I am so over these Falcons haters……If you don’t like the Falcons then go on your teams page and make comments but leave the Falcons alone. Seems like most of you live to hate on the Falcons…GET A LIFE!!!!

******************************************************************

@Falcons82: You do realize though, that this write up by DLed is about the Giants, you do realize that, don’t you? Or are you like most of the Falcon fans and are too dense to realize that it’s just a sport, that we have been lucky for most of the season, and that we’ll probably be one and done? It’s just business as usual man. Chill out.

George

December 12th, 2012
9:31 am

Falcons Please Falcons will lose and they will lose Ryan for the season.POOR BIRDS

North by southeast

December 12th, 2012
9:34 am

We all know who you are “Pamela.” It’s understandable that you want to be female, you haven’t exactly been setting the world on fire as a man ;-)

DR. FALCON

December 12th, 2012
9:35 am

PAYBACJ, IS A “BITCH”! “RISE UP”! GO FALCONS!

d

December 12th, 2012
9:37 am

“It’s just business as usual man” this is true. Being an imposter, posting anonymously, is the online equivalent of wearing a paper sack over your head. Sound familiar?

Esquire

December 12th, 2012
9:37 am

Jeffrey

December 12th, 2012
9:25 am

We gotta stop David Wilson. Then we need to run on the first 12 plays. Run run run. Then we’ll air it out. Even if we don’t get any yards on those first 12 plays I believe it will be enough to open up the passing game. Go falcons.

**********************************************************************

So, basically you think that we should concede the our first four offensive series before we think about throwing the ball? Wow! I don’t think that is a good game plan. Four straight 3 and outs. The game will be deep into the second quarter before Matty Ice tries to throw? Now, who’s with me in seeing that that plan, makes no sense?!

WE USED TO BE THE MIGHTY, MIGHTY FALCONS!

North by southeast

December 12th, 2012
9:39 am

Hey Bobby, when do those N.O. playoff tickets go on sale? :D

Esquire

December 12th, 2012
9:48 am

d

December 12th, 2012
9:37 am

“It’s just business as usual man” this is true. Being an imposter, posting anonymously, is the online equivalent of wearing a paper sack over your head. Sound familiar?

********************************************************************

So, you’re not posting anonymously? Is “d” what is actually on your birth cirtificate or on your driver’s license? Maybe you used a plastic bag before, and this is the result. Imposter?! Pshaw! Stop being a peeshwank!

BIGDAWGFAN

December 12th, 2012
9:52 am

I want to see the defense that played the broncos they
jumping around confusing manning and everyone else

Falcon James

December 12th, 2012
9:53 am

Let’s get us a W on Sunday and then worry about what happens next.

DOL– Please back away from the cliff.

d

December 12th, 2012
9:57 am

Uh oh, hit a nerve there hiram. Your aints are pathetic, bud

BillyBob

December 12th, 2012
10:02 am

Book It! means I don’t know crap about football.