Falcons vs. playoff field: unbeaten but seldom tested (with video)

John Abraham (55), Jonathan Babineaux (95) and Falcons are 2-0 vs. playoff field. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

John Abraham, Jonathan Babineaux and Falcons are 2-0 vs. playoff field. (Curtis Compton)

Much has been made about how difficult the Falcons’ schedule was this season and whether, at 13-3, they’re truly one of the elite teams in the NFL playoff field.

We really won’t know the answer to that until we see how they fare Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, and possibly beyond. But here’s one measuring stick, which you may or may not consider relevant. I went through all 12 teams in the playoff field and compared their results against other postseason teams.

The Falcons are the only team that went undefeated: 2-0.

They’ve also played the fewest playoff teams: two (Denver and Washington). Every other team faced between three (Washington) and seven (Minnesota and Houston) playoff teams during the regular season.

The most impressive team: Seattle at 4-1. The Seahawks have beaten Green Bay, New England, Minnesota and San Francisco, and their only loss came to a divisional opponent (49ers) that they later defeated.

Here are the standings vs. playoff teams, ranked by winning percentage.

Atlanta: 2-0 (1.000) (wins: Denver, Washington)

Seattle: 4-1 (.800) (wins: Green Bay, New England, Minn., San Fran.)

Washington: 2-1 (.667) (wins: Minnesota, Baltimore)

San Francisco: 3-2 (.600) (wins: Green Bay, Seattle, New England)

Indianapolis: 3-2 (.600) (wins: Minnesota, Green Bay, Houston)

New England: 3-3 (.500) (wins: Denver, Indianapolis, Houston)

Cincinnati: 2-2 (.500) (wins: Washington, Baltimore)

Houston: 3-4 (.429) (wins: Denver, Baltimore, Indianapolis)

Minnesota: 3-4 (.429) (wins: San Francisco, Houston, Green Bay)

Denver: 2-3 (.400) (wins: Cincinnati, Baltimore)

Baltimore: 2-4 (.333) (wins: Cincinnati, New England)

Green Bay: 2-4 (.333) (wins: Houston, Minnesota)

The Falcons swept eight games against the NFC East and AFC West this season, but only one team in each of those divisions ended up making the playoffs.

The relevance of all this.

We’re about to find out.




By Jeff Schultz

176 comments Add your comment

Gritz Blitz

January 7th, 2013
2:54 pm

Rise Up! Falcons all the way!

Buckeye

January 7th, 2013
2:58 pm

JSS

January 7th, 2013
3:26 pm

I don’t care what people say, you beat New England, San Francisco (that was a pure whipping), and the Vikings (the Green Bay game was a gift), you can beat anyone… And only the Green Bay came early in the season…

tvradioguy

January 7th, 2013
3:33 pm

Great interview Jeff!

today

January 7th, 2013
3:39 pm

atlanta fans fail to remember that the Denver team they beat earlier this year had a quarterback that had only been with the team for one game. They were still in the discovery process. Recent results indicate that they have discovered gold

today

January 7th, 2013
3:39 pm

atlanta fans fail to remember that the Denver team they beat earlier this year had a quarterback that had only been with the team for one game. They were still in the discovery process. Recent results indicate that they have discovered gold

Remarkable

January 7th, 2013
4:10 pm

Home field (Domefield) advantage for the Falcons, two weeks of traveling clear across the country by the Seahawks, great recievers, experience of the Falcons in beating teams and coming back from behind to win are all advantages

LA Dirty Bird

January 7th, 2013
4:36 pm

Its about time, the Falcons finally show up and display their talents. No mistakes, few penalties, and zero turnovers.

23-10 Falcons

tonyb

January 7th, 2013
4:42 pm

You really need to put an asterisk by that Seattle win over Green Bay.

Dawg Patrol

January 7th, 2013
4:45 pm

JS — I can’t help but think the Giants game should count even though they aren’t in the playoffs.

After further review

January 7th, 2013
4:45 pm

I note that the two teams at the bottom of the list, Baltimore and Green Bay, both won this weekend. One might also characteraize the Seattle win over Green Bay as suspect, given how it was accomplished.

I do believe the Falcons will get the monkey off their back this year.

Mr Smiley

January 7th, 2013
4:57 pm

Just saw Seahawks DE Chris Clemons out, suffered a torn ACL against the skins.

If Matty Ice stays upright, Falcons win. Rise Up!!

True Falcon Fan

January 7th, 2013
5:56 pm

Jeff excellent points, Falcons should win this game Sunday with the SeaHawks. But it won’t get the monkey off the backs of HC, MR2 & Team until after the NFC championship game come 1/20th whether it be GB or SF… the Falcons need to beat one these teams.

Personally I would whether see us play the Packers in the NFCC, if it all falls into place by then. Of course and that means if either Tom Brady/Patriots or Peyton Manning/Broncos make it to SB &&&&….. But let’s don’t get too ahead of ourselves.

Go Falcons — SeaHawks next

Gordon Soley

January 7th, 2013
6:11 pm

The first time we see Russell Wilson charging up in front of his running back to block, we should let Decoud rip his head off (legally, of course). That should teach him to hand the ball off and fall down.

Seriously, when was the last time you saw that?

Elderly

January 7th, 2013
6:15 pm

Jeff, you say: “Much has been made about how difficult the Falcons’ schedule was this season….” Surely you mean how EASY the schedule was, not how HARD. Right?

we need a running game

January 7th, 2013
6:16 pm

the Seahawks looked good but only after RG III became unable to play at his best. I think the Falcons can win this game if we can bring a running game for balance. got a fantastic record at home so that’s our “12th” man for sure. I still refuse to accept te Seahawks win over Green Bay. that was just some chump crap. just like that idiot call against my beloved Braves… GO FALCONS!

Just Saying..

January 7th, 2013
6:17 pm

JSS @ 3:26: Gotta agree with you. The ‘Hawks have had one amazing season…even before we talk about the QB story…

Jethro

January 7th, 2013
6:19 pm

If Matt’s leg doesn’t fold, Falcons win handily. I expect to see the resurrection of Michael Turner.

JSS

January 7th, 2013
6:22 pm

DeCoud tackling? No comment!

Big Crimson 75

January 7th, 2013
6:27 pm

Drop the loser mentality, Falcon fans.
The Seahawks are good, We are better.
We took a semi-decent Team up there last year & beat them in their beloved “unbeatable” palace.
This regime finally gets their playoff win.
What are y’all scared of?…….Richard Sherman.
Btw, Clemons is out — torn ACL. In the immortal words of Lefty — that doesn’t suck.

McGarrett

January 7th, 2013
6:46 pm

I recall what my dad told me as a boy back in the Bartkowski days that I shall never forget. He said son no matter what, never forget this one thing. Don’t ever put your faith in the Atlanta Falcons. They will break your heart every time. I’m trying to stay positive. I was definitely rooting for the Redskins.

I also recall the old “Bashing by the Bay” at San Fran.

Puma

January 7th, 2013
6:51 pm

I am not saying Seattle isn’t good, clearly they are, but these who beat who scenarios are all but worthless – look who beat Seattle – Miami, Detroit, St. Louis and AZ, not exactly powerhouses. (and I know I know, Falcons lost to TB and Carolina)

Point being, you cannot predict Sundays result on past games in the NFL, the talent is just too good league wide.

Matt Ryan is the key – if he has a Giants-like game, we win, if TB Matt Ryan shows up, we lose.

Puma

January 7th, 2013
6:53 pm

OMG McGarrett – my dad told me almost the exact same thing! After years of following Falcons, he finally gave up a couple years ago after the Vick fiasco. But I have noticed that lately he has been paying attention. These ain’t our Daddy’s Falcons.

Hillbilly D

January 7th, 2013
6:56 pm

This weekend is when we see what the Falcons are made of. If they want to silence their critics, there’s one way to do it.

Back 2 The Brown Paper Bags

January 7th, 2013
6:58 pm

Puma

January 7th, 2013
7:06 pm

Back 2 – you don’t hear this stat thrown around much do you:

“Atlanta only gave up 299 points this season, making the Falcons the fifth-best defense in that department, allowing just 18.7 points per game.”

Tell it like it is.

January 7th, 2013
7:08 pm

I’ve seen the falcons play since 1966,and believe me the falcons should win this game! if the Falcons come out and play with intensity and do it for 4 quarters, they will win. don’t buy all the hipe ESPN is dishing out.

Tundra Dude

January 7th, 2013
7:41 pm

Jeff S. wrote:
The most impressive team: Seattle at 4-1

I’m not impressed. All these wins were at home. They’re quite capable of playing poorly on the road, even against sub-prime teams.
They’ll score about 17 points against the Falcons , 20 max.

Finklestein

January 7th, 2013
7:47 pm

The Falcons will do what Georgia teams always do.
…………They will choke.

Gordon Soley

January 7th, 2013
7:48 pm

JSS and No Comment…That sounds nice, now don’t it?

wxwax

January 7th, 2013
7:48 pm

Should be a good game. Carroll always gets his guys to play hard.

I’m thinking a rested Falcons team that has something to prove should come out really hard and fast. Kinda like the Redskins did.

Can the Falcons get enough run yards to keep them off of Ryan? And can Atlanta contain Wilson and Lynch on the ground? If the answer to those questions is yes, I reckon the Falcons win going away.

If they’re no, it could be a grinder of an afternoon.

Nationally, nobody believes in the Falcons. I think that’s a huge edge for the home team.

Gordon Soley

January 7th, 2013
7:49 pm

Oh, and let’s punch them in the Solar Plexus!

Say what

January 7th, 2013
7:56 pm

JSS is here again to tell us he loves Seattle and hates Atlanta. Thanks, that’s fascinating; you add so much to these blogs /sarcasm.

Sheree Whitfield

January 7th, 2013
8:08 pm

Let me aks you something. If the Falcons win will you party like it is your birfday?

tom

January 7th, 2013
8:09 pm

whats up with talking about the past, Denver—–Time is now —-talk about Seattle. Win that then talk some more.

JSS

January 7th, 2013
8:27 pm

Let it be noted by the boorish group who always have something to say in regards to me the comments at 7:49P and 7:56P… Never bother me again with any comment regarding when or where such crap gets started…

DawgNole

January 7th, 2013
8:43 pm

Gordon Soley
January 7th, 2013
6:11 pm

The first time we see Russell Wilson charging up in front of his running back to block, we should let Decoud rip his head off (legally, of course). That should teach him to hand the ball off and fall down.

Seriously, when was the last time you saw that?
_____________________

I don’t think we have to worry about Ryan doing that.

Say what

January 7th, 2013
8:44 pm

The height of irony: JSS calling someone “boorish.” This from the blogger with nothing but derision for the Falcons (”DeCoud tackling? No comment!”), and praise for most any player or team that is not the Falcons. Constantly, on every blog where he is not banned.

DawgNole

January 7th, 2013
8:49 pm

wxwax
January 7th, 2013
7:48 pm

Nationally, nobody believes in the Falcons. I think that’s a huge edge for the home team.
______________________

Nationall, nobody has believed in the Falcons for their entire 46-year existence. How has that worked out for the home team?

DawgNole

January 7th, 2013
8:49 pm

Make that “NationallY.”

Braves #17 Fan

January 7th, 2013
8:51 pm

Atlanta will possess super-human strength and will beat the Seahawks by two scores.

JSS

January 7th, 2013
8:53 pm

“Banned?” You have me confused with someone else, never happened on a AJC blog and never will…

JSS

January 7th, 2013
8:59 pm

Get your “hitters” right, you better send Hope or Moore, DeCoud ain’t the one… When was the last time you saw DeCoud tackle a QB in the open field? Still waiting for him to catch Cam Newton?

And “boorish” for the right word, stick to football… Your fellow bloggers said that is what this is supposed to be for…

Larry

January 7th, 2013
9:00 pm

At the end of the day we have the one thing Seattle doesn’t…a top 5, elite Pro Bowl QB having his finest season. This, more than anything, is why we will this game by a minimm of 10 points.

Getting William Moore back is also very huge to help with Seattle’s power running game.

Larry

January 7th, 2013
9:05 pm

JSS,

For the record, it was you first including me in your “troll” list in Jeff’s previous blog that ignited my response and our exchange. That’s right, as you’re acusing here, you initiated this between us.

Trying to keep it civil, I have a simple question. As what I intrepret as a former Falcon fan, are you luling for or against the Falcons and why?

Larry

January 7th, 2013
9:06 pm

“pulling” for or against

JSS

January 7th, 2013
9:08 pm

Done with you, you never ever learn…

Larry

January 7th, 2013
9:09 pm

Larry

January 7th, 2013
9:11 pm

What an absolute joke the BCS Championship has become…about to be 21-0 in the FIRST quarter!

Looks like Alabama/UGA was the true national championship game.

LOL at the Aints

January 7th, 2013
9:19 pm

The Rookie QB is going to make some mistakes this weekend,, That will be the difference in the game, As long as the D and MR show up, We should win this game easily.