Atlanta Falcons: Finishing regular season ‘the right way’

FLOWERY BRANCH–The Falcons already have wrapped up the NFC’s No. 1 seed but they don’t plan to take their foot off the gas against the Buccaneers on Sunday.

The Falcons want to stay sharp heading into their bye week. They think the best way to do that is for the starters to play and try to win the regular-season finale even if it doesn’t affect their playoff standing.

“We are not going to change the way we approach this game,” safety Thomas DeCoud said. “We are going to attack it like it’s week three. We’re all expecting to play and all expecting to play well. We have to put our best foot forward before the postseason.”

The Falcons turned in strong efforts in victories against the Giants and Lions. They think easing off now would set a bad precedent.

“We are trying to keep the momentum going,” center Todd McClure said. “I feel like offensively we’ve played well the past few games. And the more we can go out there and put on tape, whoever we have to prepare for the harder it makes it for them. And we are getting paid next Sunday, so we’ve got to go out and play.”

Falcons coach Mike Smith said he and his staff are game-planning this week just like any other. He said the Falcons won’t be “vanilla” with their schemes out of fear of giving their potential playoff opponents more film to scout.

“We want to go through the process the same as we always do,” Smith said. “I think it’s very important for us to finish regular season off in the right way.”


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72 comments Add your comment


December 27th, 2012
9:23 am

Also this is a division game,so why not put it on them.And I feel for Tampa`s offense,no Falcon defensive player made the pro bowl list,J.Free you are in trouble.ONE GAME AT A TIME,LETS GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GA Dome

December 27th, 2012
9:28 am

Ending the season with a win will do a lot for the mental psyche of the team. These guys don’t need to be reminded what is at stake, first get the playoff win we get the lowest seed. No reason to overlook any team in the playoffs we just have to go out there and beat them whom ever it may be.

Answer This

December 27th, 2012
9:29 am

Finish the drill! Or to quote Keifer Sutherland “finish the game”! Rise up!!!


December 27th, 2012
9:33 am

You definitely need to play the starters, the bye week is there for a reason!! Finish the regular season strong and rest next week!! ATL RISE UP!! We dont need any rust, we need to be fine tuned before the week off.!! We been winning without extra rest and we geling at the right time!

GA Dome

December 27th, 2012
9:44 am

Every week there’s a new team on the rise according to the expert analyst, their only guessing because they refuse to give Atlanta any credit for a successfull season . I hope we draw Seattle the hottest and latest team to emerge as a threat to everyone in the post season tournament. I’m ok getting no respect from the experts, we’ll earn it first then we’ll show them how wrong they’ve been all along.


December 27th, 2012
9:47 am

IF you win that first playoff game, the conversation will have to change drastically. I cannot wait to see what happens when the talking heads lose that single negative point.

You talk about a confident team strolling into the (dilapidated) Ga Dome….RISE UP


December 27th, 2012
9:49 am

They will lose the first playoff game. It doesn’t matter. This is truly a laughing matter that the Falcons fans THINK that their unchampionshipworthy team is ACTUALLY going to WIN a PLAYOFF game. Hahahahahahahaha! Too funny! :)

Rise up and OUT

December 27th, 2012
9:50 am

Yep…the Falcons will rise up and OUT of the playoffs quickly. 1 game in and out for the season..too funny.

Starship 1

December 27th, 2012
9:52 am

I like when Roddy said that the Falcons should’nt fear or worry about any team their facing in the playoffs. Any team can beat any team-that’s why you must be dominant and confident when the whistle starts the first playoff game.


December 27th, 2012
10:05 am

The momentum is there to carry the Falcons all the way to the SB. All teams fear the Falcons, and do not want to play in the GD.


December 27th, 2012
10:06 am


GA Dome

December 27th, 2012
10:07 am

It’s cool to express yourself, and you say the Falcons will not win the first playoff game. We Falcon fans believe a different story is unfolding therefore you and I will have to wait and see what happens. How’s that for a prediction.


December 27th, 2012
10:13 am

If Ryan plays more than one half, I will be disappointed in the coaching staff. Yes you want to win, but don’t risk your QB to win a meaningless game. If Ryan takes a shot to the knee or bangs his passing hand on an opponents helmet, everyone saying ‘Keep the gas on” will be calling Coach Smith an idiot.


December 27th, 2012
10:18 am

I love all the haters, “the Falcons won’t win their 1st playoff game”. Keep hating, the Falcons will just keep winning and you guys will just crawl back under the rock in your mother’s basement. Rise Up!

Polk County Falcon

December 27th, 2012
10:27 am

All kinds of bad things can happen in ANY game, but there’s no need to invite trouble when it doesn’t really matter. Play everybody and have fun and try not to get anybody hurt.

Decatur Falcons

December 27th, 2012
10:32 am

We seen it before teams that win a lot of game or 1st seed get kick out of the playoffs. We will hope that Smitty learned as well as Matt Ryan from that disappointing year of football. I will say, this is a better football time with better coaching. Smitty has to out coach the team that makes it out of COWBOYS/REDSKIN game because I feel they are coming to the GA DOME. Green Bay was 8-8, New York Giants 8-8, and the Arizona Carolinas went to the Super Bowl. Atlanta Falcons understand this maddness, it has too end. The Atlanta Falcons have to have a good week of practice, cleaning any bad habits they may have on Offense, Defense, and Special Team. Take care of the body, look at film, and hope that the team they play come in the GA Dome hurt, so that Atlanta Falcons can come in destroying them in all 4 quarters of the game. Win or Go Home. GO FALCONS!!!!!


December 27th, 2012
10:48 am

Falcons will blow out every opponent in the playoffs. Book it. I’m an insider.


December 27th, 2012
10:52 am


Rise up and OUT

Please go play with yourself,your team is out before the end of the season,so STFU.ONE GAME AT A TIME,LETS GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


December 27th, 2012
11:13 am


Mike is Back

December 27th, 2012
11:23 am

Dled, Good stuff, I want to see the BIRDS duplicate the effort we have seen the previous two games. I remember Tampa’s coach from his days coaching the Scarlet Knights…this guy is got a lot of Pride…he will have his guys ready to play.


RISE UP BIRDS…LET’S GO…LET’S GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elvis is Alive

December 27th, 2012
11:23 am

We must establish a run game!
Somebody take the ball and run for long gains and touchdowns.
MT33 reminds me of an intoxicated person trying to run into a wall. He can’t get around it and tries repeatedly to run staight at the wall and gets knocked back again and again. Sadly, I give him the nickname,”STONEWALL”! No lateral movement when approaching the line. I believe he has a “tell” when he is going to get the ball.
Or someone on the offensive line shows a “tell” to the defense.
I’d like to see some new wrinkles in the offense.
MS says he wants to play 60 except when we have a lead.
I do see a tendency to revert to conservative football. Probably comes from a lack of faith in the our defense, which in past years has been sketchy.
Tampa this week and let the second string play. I’d like to see Dominic Davis and McCown get some reps.Allowing Antoine Smith to get some Game experience may be the answer we need at RB. And for some reason I see a “halfback” pass.
As I used to sing..”It’s Now or Never”..I’ll change the lyrics to ,”It’s NOW or NEXT Year”
Rise up ..Angry Birds..Rise up !!!!


December 27th, 2012
11:35 am

Heck, Tim Tebow’s got more coverage than the Falcons. That’s ok, just wait… this team won’t fold as before. Mat’s gonna lite ‘em up first round and it will be an eye opener for all the nay sayers. Confidence will be there and the team will play to their potental. Hide ‘un watch.


December 27th, 2012
11:58 am

I just hope nobody gets injured. Be aggressive, but play smart.

D man

December 27th, 2012
12:15 pm

I have tickets and I want to see a good game…


December 27th, 2012
12:19 pm

Starters should play one qtr. Keep the schemes vanilla. Don’t get hurt. Play hard but smart.

Norris Chuck

December 27th, 2012
12:27 pm

They will find a way to choke. They all do. ALL GEORGIA sports teams find ways to choke. Do i need to explain further? No? Ok…i will anyway.

Sugar Bowl 2012, Dogs hang with Bama entire game and even though Bama ran the ball up and down the field, the Dogs still could have won, but the Dogs burned up all their timeouts, (2) right after halftime! They only needed one of them at the five yard line with time running out. But because they had the same amount of time the Tide had at half to re-group, the coaching staff still came out and coughed up two quick timouts in the game before the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!

Georgia Southern Div I-AA Semi’s againts North Dakota, they controlled the whole second half and couldnt hold them on a 85 yard drive when they needed to get the most important stop of the game. But two really dumb personal foul penalties help N Dakoa get field position and on 4th and 3 from the five yard line, they ran a QB draw and the guy walks into the end zone…REALLY?!!!

And lets not talk about the biggest CHOKERS in Atlanta sports history…alas, our beloved Braves. This team finished the season as the best defensive team in the league and what do they do? We know that story, they fumbled and kicked the ball around like they were in the Little League World Series and then came the Beer Bottle Bowl. Can’t blame that on the refs, they just plain choked.

Now we come to the Falcants, once again they have given us a great season, but even with home field advantage, i just have a fealing that they will somehow, someway, find a way to break our hearts again. But until then, i will root, but not expect too much, cause like many other Georgians, we have grown to expect the worse and groaned when we thought we had a winner, year after year after year.


December 27th, 2012
12:29 pm

I pray that no one is injured but I would risk keeping the momentum by playing all the starters through the first half. That’s it.

Dr. Warren

December 27th, 2012
12:31 pm

It’s a toss-up in the playoffs these days. The best team rarely wins, just the hottest. Just a tournament, like March Madness and baseball. So are the Falcons the hottest right now? No. The Seahawks, Redskins, Broncos, and Bengals are the hottest. Expect one of those four teams to win the Super Bowl.

Marty Ice

December 27th, 2012
12:36 pm

MC looked high as hell in that video,shades, skullcap and a perma-smile!

Mike "CHOKE" Dogs To Death

December 27th, 2012
12:44 pm

No fans in America deserve a championship more then fans from ATLANTA. We have suffered longer and harder than anyone.

I’m talking about REAL fans, not fair weather fans.

I’m talking about those of us who were born here, and have never jumped on another city’s bandwagon.

We have more locally-born fans of the Cowboys, Steelers and Packers than any city in the country.

These people are weak. They’re the kind of people who would leave their spouse for getting cancer because they can’t bear the pain.

The Falcons will win it all one day. Maybe not this year, but eventually. We loyal fans will be vindicated on that day.

This is the best opportunity we’ve ever had. Falcons players, please don’t squander it. Make that catch, make that tackle, make that block, fight for that extra yard. Let’s win this thing.

There are some people who are counting on you.


December 27th, 2012
1:00 pm

Some ex-clown-player on the NFL network gave his opinion that the Falcons should play all there starters until the game has been decided such as a blow out….and THEN substitute with the second string….why risk an injury when the game has already been decided! Hey numbnuts! THE GAME HAS ALREADY BEEN DECIDED! We don’t need to win THIS game! The league has decided FOR US! We have the number 1 seed. We get a bye week. We play all our playoff games at home! NONE of that can change no matter what the outcome of this game! I’d say that makes this a DECIDED game, don’t you???


December 27th, 2012
1:02 pm

“You play to win the game!” ……so let’s play to win the game…..with the second string guys!!!


December 27th, 2012
1:46 pm

You can’t approach the game thinking you’re going to get hurt. Go out get a big lead and then start taking players out of the game. I think the Bucs lost their momentum about five games ago. The Bucs are kind of down and want to end the season on a positive note. This is when you want to put your foot on their neck. Go Birds!!

1 & Done

December 27th, 2012
1:53 pm

I know that somebody has to lose in the 1st round, but why is it always Matty Ice?

1 & Done

December 27th, 2012
1:57 pm

Maybe somebody should get injured. The 2nd string can’t do any worse than 0-3.


December 27th, 2012
2:18 pm

Stick it Norris Chuck!


December 27th, 2012
2:57 pm

They haven’t won in the last three play-off games, so they won’t this year…blah, blah, blah.

This is all that the haters have to work with anymore. It is truly pitiful that these negative Nancy’s feel compelled to post their tripe on ajc blogs. Must be nice to have such time on your hands. This is my team and always has been, therefore, I post occasionally. I certainly don’t go to another team’s blog and foist my thoughts upon their fans, nor do I tell them how crappy their team is compared to ours (that would be all of them, btw). I suppose it’s nice to know that our team inspires such jealousy and fear in other fans that they can’t sit on their little hands until this season plays itself out. Instead they feel they must make themselves heard and spew the negativity that so utterly surrounds them. Feel free to come back to our blogs and eat your words in the near future. We all look forward to that.

Go Falcons!


December 27th, 2012
3:07 pm

I’m concerned. The Falcons played a fairly easy schedule and lack a serious running game. They were lucky not to lose the first game (in A-town) against the last place Panthers and then were recently blown out by Carolina. They caught the Giants, who are in a death spiral, at the right time. So I don’t know if they’re really as good as their won/loss record. Hope so, but I fear a day of reckoning is coming in the playoffs.

Jst Askn

December 27th, 2012
3:32 pm

@ “Mike “CHOKE” Dogs To Death”…well said!

Whadda Ya Know?

December 27th, 2012
3:35 pm

Bust ALL remaining opponents in the mouth starting with the Bucs this Sunday. We need a “take no prisoners” attitude to take into the playoffs.


December 27th, 2012
3:43 pm

This is fantastic news! I think they have the right mentality by playing to win this final game.


Don’t be a coward. Either support the team or don’t, but don’t stand there with your legs straddling the fence waiting to see which side wins. It is unbecoming.


December 27th, 2012
3:48 pm

Not only are the Falcons going to win it all, they are going to steamroll every team they face in the process.


December 27th, 2012
3:52 pm

Oh yes days of reckoning R coming

Get Back Jojo

December 27th, 2012
4:13 pm

Dismantle the Bucs……Don’t let up……Rise Up!!!


Fred Garvin

December 27th, 2012
4:26 pm

Nobody wants to play the Falcons in the Dome and I mean NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBODY!!


December 27th, 2012
4:42 pm

i think mike smith has been saving the running game for the playoffs watch we’re going to open a can of warms on who ever we face


December 27th, 2012
4:46 pm

this team is a power running back short of elite, it will require at least a couple of turnovers in any playoff game to compensate for the dancing bear

[...] Finishing regular season ‘the right way’ [...]


December 27th, 2012
5:34 pm

You learn more by failure than by success. Fact. The Falcons have got it figured out. Even this season, when they took their eye off the ball, they were wobbly. When they played with focus, and employed the experience that they have, they were devastatingly great. Three losses of heartache is the payment for this season’s success.


December 27th, 2012
5:58 pm

Winning on Sunday means nothing, which means losing on Sunday means nothing.

Yes, start the starters (other than those who are “questionable”). Yes, play to win the game. But if Ryan or any other starter save for Turner plays into the second half, Smitty is a fool.

Losing Ryan or White or Abraham for a few weeks to an injury caused by an angry team going nowhere would spell the end of the playoff run.

And spell the end of Smitty’s run as head coach.