Atlanta Falcons: Looking to stay home for the playoffs




FLOWERY BRANCH–Just one good night in Detroit will set the Falcons up for a relatively relaxed three weeks in Atlanta.

Win at Detroit on Saturday and the Falcons (12-2) will earn a bye for the first weekend of the playoffs and wouldn’t need to leave the Georgia Dome to win the NFC title. The result of their game against the Buccaneers on Dec. 30 would become moot.

For the Falcons, it’s all about clinching home field when they go to Detroit’s Ford Field.

“That’s the thing that is in reach,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “We’ve got to go out and play effectively this week. Our goal is to win every game we play and then we will figure out what happens after that.”

Defeat the Lions (4-10) and Falcons players are likely to be off until after Christmas Day. When they returned to work, the team’s regulars would enjoy a light practice week and look forward to either sitting out the Buccaneers game or logging just a handful of plays.

Lose to the Lions and Atlanta still could earn home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs by defeating the Buccaneers. But they’d squander the other benefits of wrapping up the No. 1 seed this weekend and lose the good vibes generated by their 34-0 victory over the Giants last Sunday.

The Falcons ultimately will be judged by their postseason results because they’ve lost all three playoff games under Smith. A victory at Detroit would be more evidence that they are primed to end that streak.

“Are we different (at this point of the season) than we have been in the past? Absolutely, we are definitely a different football team,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said. “But I think our confidence has been at a high level the entire year.”

The Falcons will encounter a wounded and wobbling Lions team at Ford Field.

Detroit is finishing up a miserable, injury-riddled season. The Lions have lost six games in a row, including a 38-10 defeat at Arizona (5-9) on Sunday that represented their worst beating of the season.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz said he has no plans to alter his playing rotations to get his younger players experience.

“You don’t have time to experiment, I guess, for lack of a better word,” he said. “You have to go with the guys that you think give you the best chance of winning every single week. If you start looking at things other than that, you’re on the wrong track.”

The only compelling storyline remaining for the Lions is wide receiver Calvin Johnson’s chase for an NFL record. Johnson, the former star at Sandy Creek High and Georgia Tech, needs 182 yards to break Jerry Rice’s season record for receiving yards ( 1,848).

The Falcons said they don’t want to get too focused on limiting Johnson’s numbers.

“He’s going to get his,” Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud said. “You always have to be aware where he’s at. If we can limit him, we can’t let other guys beat us.”

The Falcons still need to tune their play before the postseason. At the top of the list are their season-long issues with both running the ball and stopping the run consistently.

Plus, it was less than two weeks ago that the Falcons flopped in a 30-20 defeat at Carolina.

“We played a better game (against the Giants), but we’re still far, far away from the perfect game,” Smith said. “That’s what we’re striving to do is to play a perfect game.”

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17 comments Add your comment

Janzen

December 22nd, 2012
9:27 am

Falcons 27 Lions 16.

Janzen

December 22nd, 2012
9:28 am

Holy hell… First???

Whadda Ya Know?

December 22nd, 2012
9:58 am

Ok, this same video that you have in EVERY one of your articles in the last two days is getting old. Anyway, Falcons need to go play physical aggressive offense and defense against the Lions–don’t mess around with this team. Get up on them early and keep the pedal to the metal.

goFalcons

December 22nd, 2012
10:12 am

LETS GO FALCONS

Esquire

December 22nd, 2012
10:43 am

5-6-7-8
Everywhere we goooO,
Everywhere we goooO,
People wanna knooOw,
People wanna knooOw,
Who we aaa are,
Who we aaa are,
So we tell theem, So we tell theem,
We are the FALCONS!! We are the FALCONS!!
MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS, MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS !!
OHH AHH OHH YEEAHH

5-6-7-8 WHO DO WE APPRECIATE??? GOOOOO FALCONS!!

The Falcons will be in the dome throughout the playoffs and then off to the superbowl THAT IS A GIVEN. Another chance to show the world tonight that WE ARE THE MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS!!!

Let me know guys if you want to drop by and practice our war chant. My dream is to have the whole dome chanting this in unison during the playoffs!!! Let’s make it happen guys. Mike’s Coxx is the bomb. I miss it babe. Call me?

the real falcon

December 22nd, 2012
10:53 am

The real thing after that is to get Gonzo his 1000 yards receiving. A great feat!

Bullseye

December 22nd, 2012
11:03 am

How is it possible for the Lions to get top pick in the draft every year and they are still terrible.

Fetus Breath

December 22nd, 2012
11:58 am

Falcons 723
Lions minus 4

Choke On My Grits

December 22nd, 2012
12:55 pm

The win against the Giants was about as perfect a win as I think your going to see !

Joe Tess Fish House

December 22nd, 2012
3:09 pm

Why dont the Flacons ty 2 get Tim Teabow? It wodd be prefect 4 the palyoffs if they had him.

Mr Blanks pleez go and sigh Tim Teabow!

Answer This

December 22nd, 2012
3:34 pm

Who is this guy above me calling for Tebow? Wow!? Really? Lets go get this and get healthy Birds! Rise Up. We Dat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

goFalcons

December 22nd, 2012
4:57 pm

WE are the Falcons,,,the mighty mighty Falcons! You have me singing that chant in my head all the time.

[...] the able and fleet-footed Michael Cunningham has come in off the bench and is in Motown with me for tonight’s coverage. Michael told me he long had been dreaming of [...]

[...] From Other Great Blogs issue #1 By NFC South Daily Editor, on December 22nd, 2012 Atlanta Falcons: Looking to stay home for the playoffs – blogs.ajc.com 12/22/2012 FLOWERY BRANCH–Just one good night in Detroit will set the [...]

falconfreak

December 22nd, 2012
8:33 pm

good lord joe . think befor you post. falcons 24 10.

? mark

December 22nd, 2012
8:46 pm

Enter your comments here

DR. FALCON

December 23rd, 2012
10:59 pm

“HOME COOKING” IS GOOD, THE 2ND TIME AROUND! BRING THEM ALL ON! THE “ICE” MAN COMETH! THIS IS MATT’S TIME!