LIVE: Falcons seek home field and, yes, respect

The last time Matt Ryan saw Eli Manning, he was congratulating him for a playoff win. (Getty Images)

The last time Matt Ryan saw Eli Manning, he was congratulating him for a playoff win. (Getty Images)

Let’s start with this: I’m thoroughly convinced that even if the Falcons  go out today and beat the New York Giants by two touchdowns, there is still going to be a segment of the fan base — a large segment — that says, “Just wait until the playoffs.”

And that’s fine. Because as we’ve discussed ad nauseam this season, the Falcons will be judged by how they do in the postseason, not the regular season, which again is going well (11-2). But a strong performance against the Giants would at least ease some of the concerns moving forward.

The Falcons, coming off their worst game of the season at Carolina (30-20 loss), lost to New York 24-2 in the last year’s playoffs. The Giants had a record of only 7-7 with two games left in the season but won their last two over the Jets and Dallas to win the NFC East and then beat four teams with better records than them — the Falcons (10-6), Green Bay (15-1), San Francisco (13-3) and New England (13-3) to win their second Super Bowl in five years.

If the Falcons’ offense scores anything today, it would put them ahead of the playoff loss, when the team’s only points came on a safety. They need to figure out a way to have some success against New York’s front four because there’s a reasonable chance these two teams will meet again in a few weeks.

A few important items before I open the cyber-venting lines:

• The Falcons will be without safety William Moore (hamstring). Wide receiver Roddy White (knee) did not practice all week but will start.  Defensive tackle Jonathan Babineux (ribs) and wide receiver Harry Douglas (ribs), who were limited in practice, are active. Cornerback Asante Samuel (shoulder), out most of the last two weeks, will start.

• The Giants are missing three regulars — running back Ahmad Bradshaw (knee), cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring) and safety Kenny Phillips (knee).

• The scenarios for the Falcons clinching a bye and home field in the playoffs are similar to a week ago. They can clinch a bye with: a win and a Green Bay loss or tie; a win and a San Francisco loss; or a tie and a Green Bay loss. They can clinch the No. 1 seed with a win and a Green Bay loss or tie and a San Francisco loss. (Green Bay plays at Chicago and San Francisco plays at New England.)

Need something to read from during the week:

– Here’s my column on judgement time for the Falcons and Mike Smith.

– Here’s Darryl Ledbetter’s piece on Asante Samuel’s history against Eli Manning.

– Here’s Michael Cunningham’s story on whether the Falcons felt too satisfied before their loss to Carolina.

– Here’s Ledbetter again on the “voices” in Sean Weatherspoon’s head.

OK, that’s it for now. The floor is yours.

Let’s hear your thoughts on the game.

By Jeff Schultz

1,026 comments Add your comment

DawgNole

December 16th, 2012
12:09 pm

Espn’s “Sports Reporters” discussed the game this morning and pointed out (as I and other “negative-minded” realists have noted many times) that the Falcons MUST win in the playoffs AND in games like today’s before they can earn national respect.

Incredible that the Giants have won their last 7 games in ATL. Step up today, Falcons. This is a golden opportunity to show the football world that you are “for real” by beating the defending World Champs, who have mastered you in your own house. Win games like today’s–AND in the postseason–and that respect will come.

Hawg

December 16th, 2012
12:14 pm

Falcons need to be the aggressors

5150 UOAD

December 16th, 2012
12:16 pm

Congrats to the (5) current and former Yellow Jackets graduating on Saturday!!! David Sims Emmanuel Dieke Roderick Sweeting Jahi Word-Daniels Brad Brad J. Jefferson

Congratulations Rod. What an accomplishment brother. Enjoy it man

Emmanuel Dieke
Its official!!! Ya boy done graduated from georgia Tech!! One of the best feelings ever and well deserved!! I dont know what nexts for me but whatever it is, i know that God will guide my path!! Thank you family, friends and all those who supported ya boy! #TRU

Jahi Word-Daniels 2 hours ago near Panthersville
Finally an alumni! Going back and getting my degree…Way better feeling than playing in the NFL!! God is good!

LDawg

December 16th, 2012
12:18 pm

I still say our worst game was against AZ even though we won. We need to come out today locked and loaded.

5150 UOAD

December 16th, 2012
12:20 pm

Go Jacket Graduates today against the GIANTS.
Kevin Cone & Vance Walker.

JSS

December 16th, 2012
12:20 pm

Good luck Jeff Schultz,

The immature, socially dysfunctional, and the emotionally repressed are out in full force this week…

Ed

December 16th, 2012
12:32 pm

Falcons will get destroyed today. Then maybe all of you will shut up and prepare for your playoff loss.

Jonathan

December 16th, 2012
12:33 pm

I’ll give up the clinch for a week to have the Packers beat the Bears. The last thing Falcons want is to have Bears win that division and have the Packers as a Wild Card and possible and maybe even probable first round game. As a 2 seed, let them play the Niners and see what happens.

Barney

December 16th, 2012
12:35 pm

Time for the Falcons to really be exposed. They are about to get dominated.

But dont worry, I’m sure Ryan will make some outstanding checkdown passes to his tailbacks and some really impressive 7 yard throws to his washed up mexican tight end.

Eric C.

December 16th, 2012
12:35 pm

Haha, funny to think the Falcons could back-door their way into the #1 seed.

Sonny Clusters

December 16th, 2012
12:36 pm

Does the Ga Dome roof leak when it rains? We was wondering since Arthur Blank wants a new stadium so bad.

Jason

December 16th, 2012
12:37 pm

Falcons win big today.

Eric C.

December 16th, 2012
12:37 pm

Barney, TG is still the best!

Jason

December 16th, 2012
12:38 pm

Eric C. how are they back dooring when they have to actually win games to get the #1 seed? Another dumb troll.

Jason

December 16th, 2012
12:41 pm

Something tells me the Falcons will be playing the Seahawks in the 2nd round of the playoffs. I’m fine with that.

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

December 16th, 2012
12:42 pm

I guess last season’s beating wasn’t enough…..

I am PUMPED for this beating forthcoming…………

ha ha :)

Jeff Schultz

December 16th, 2012
12:42 pm

JSS — Haha. Are you including me in that group? (Clearly, you’re above the fray.)

Jason

December 16th, 2012
12:44 pm

Falcons clinch home field today. Packers will lose to the Bears. 49ers will lose to the Patriots. Falcons beat Giants at home. The team is mad about losing and they just don’t lose back to back games let alone that the game is at home. Like I said, Falcons BIG.

MATT RYAN NOODLE ARM

December 16th, 2012
12:45 pm

Hey guize

Dont worry about today. If I get in trouble I will just check down to one of my backs or throw it away. Whatever, as long as I dont have to throw any actual passes downfield, right?

NFC South Champs

December 16th, 2012
12:46 pm

…. this is OUR house ….

Jason

December 16th, 2012
12:47 pm

Typical “CHOKE”…he’s here before the game starts, nowhere to be found once the Falcons start winning. Where was he when we dominated the Saints. His QB Vick doesn’t even have a job. Hahahahahaha

Jeff Schultz

December 16th, 2012
12:47 pm

Sonny Clusters — Yes, there’s a big gaping hole in the roof where Godzilla stepped on it about 18 months ago, coincidentally about the time the stadium drive went into overtime.

5150 UOAD

December 16th, 2012
12:52 pm

If you don’t want a New Falcon Stadium then don’t buy Playoff tickets or Season tickets for next year. If you provide money to support the Team then they will Force feed us a new Stadium we don’t want or need.

5150 UOAD

December 16th, 2012
12:53 pm

BUST that MUTT….Lumpkin….in the Mouth.

Jeff Schultz

December 16th, 2012
12:53 pm

A lot of Giants fans here. Not surprising.

DawgNole

December 16th, 2012
12:56 pm

Jeff Schultz
December 16th, 2012
12:42 pm

JSS — Haha. Are you including me in that group? (Clearly, you’re above the fray.)
___________________

Hope you aren’t in that group. The guy who posted right above you (at 12:42) most assuredly is though–unfortunately for the rest of us.

JSS

December 16th, 2012
12:56 pm

POAD, that stadium deal has sailed… The minute the Legislature agreed to back bonds, it was done… You’re a year and half late on stopping that train…

@ Jeff Schultz…
You know I traded that card in 2008 :-)

5150 UOAD

December 16th, 2012
12:58 pm

Congratulations to VALDOSTA STATE…………..The ONLY team to be Champions in the state of Georgia(so far) this year.
Ga Tech
Georgia
Georgia Southern
all FAILED to bring a CHAMPIONSHIP to the State.

I’m holding pout hope the Falcons can win the NFC Championship and maybe a Super Bowl Championship but that is a LOOOONG way away.

Eric C.

December 16th, 2012
12:58 pm

Yo Jason, nothing dumb about my post and I am far from being a troll having been a suffering life-long Falcon fan for decades. No one has pulled harder for the Falcons than me.

Now, consider that the Falcons “could” go winless and still get the #1 seed if the Packers and 49ers lose a couple of times…I find that funny.

Ivan

December 16th, 2012
12:58 pm

Im ready for some discount double check commercials with a side of car commercials, truck commercials, and maybe a blink of some falcons football in between.

Yea!!!

JSS

December 16th, 2012
12:58 pm

Moment of blog silence

5150 UOAD

December 16th, 2012
12:59 pm

JSS……….not a done deal yet.

Ivan

December 16th, 2012
12:59 pm

And Geico!! Yea!!

Jason

December 16th, 2012
12:59 pm

Hopefully today we can get some football with our commercials.

Answer This

December 16th, 2012
12:59 pm

Lets go Falcons time to earn what the Giants already have! Go get it!

Answer This

December 16th, 2012
12:59 pm

We agree on that JSS!

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

December 16th, 2012
1:01 pm

Gonna be a lot of sad faced Falcants LOSERS making even more excuses for CHOKE….HA HA :)

Jason

December 16th, 2012
1:04 pm

Damn man I wanted the ball first.

Jason

December 16th, 2012
1:05 pm

Samuel! Go Falcons!

Jeff Schultz

December 16th, 2012
1:05 pm

Can’t ask for a better start… Manning got popped as delivered ball too. Samuel with pick

5150 UOAD

December 16th, 2012
1:05 pm

JSS you know what Waffle House, McDonald’s, Wendy’s did that was RIGHT? You know what Chick-fil-A did wrong?

The Chick-fil-A people OWN very little PROPERTY. They RENT space in malls for the most part and they have NOTHING in land. The a fore mentioned fast food chains OWN the LAND the buildings are own. They have LAND…….The Falcons RENTING from the GWCC is a JOKE. A New stadium will always be needed and the Falcons need to build their OWN S…T and OWN it. Screw the ATL and the politicians.

GREAT……….PLAY………….Samuel

5150 UOAD

December 16th, 2012
1:06 pm

Hahah RYAN has COX behind him………

Ivan

December 16th, 2012
1:06 pm

AWESOME INT!!! Wait…..wheres the commercial??

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

December 16th, 2012
1:06 pm

Okay Matt Bryant you are on queue :)

Sonny Clusters

December 16th, 2012
1:06 pm

Wouldn’t it be great if they could run it in?

DawgNole

December 16th, 2012
1:07 pm

Jason
December 16th, 2012
12:44 pm

Falcons clinch home field today. Packers will lose to the Bears. 49ers will lose to the Patriots. Falcons beat Giants at home. The team is mad about losing and they just don’t lose back to back games let alone that the game is at home. Like I said, Falcons BIG.
____________________

” . . . let alone that the game is at home”?

Say what?! They’ve lost their last 7to the Giants.

Good start today with the pick, though. Keep it going, Falcons.

ramblinwreck80

December 16th, 2012
1:07 pm

turn the INT into a TD!!!

Jeff Schultz

December 16th, 2012
1:07 pm

A little bit of a different look on that running play.

Jeff Schultz

December 16th, 2012
1:08 pm

Four Turner runs. Touchdown.

Jason

December 16th, 2012
1:08 pm

Well if we go up 7-0, we have to put the pedal to the medal. Gotta ramp it up and keep it up. Make a statement today.