The Falcons’ biggest remaining game? Well, it ain’t the Saints

It’s a mismatch on paper. It should be a mismatch on the field. But this is the NFL, and this will be just another given Sunday, and we all know what that means.

The Falcons’ biggest remaining regular-season game isn’t the ballyhooed one against the Saints here two nights after Christmas. The biggest remaining game comes Sunday in Seattle. Provided the Falcons beat the Seahawks, they would have only to handle Carolina, which is the NFL’s worst team and has won on only one given Sunday, here on Jan. 2 to claim both the NFC South title and the conference’s No. 1 seed.

The Falcons can lose to the Saints and still finish No. 1 in their division and the NFC. (It would come down to the common-opponent tiebreaker, which the Saints would lose because they lost to the Browns, whom the Falcons beat on the strength of Kroy Biermann’s bat-and-grab.) The Falcons cannot lose to both the Seahawks and the Saints and be assured of even a first-round bye.

The Seahawks, working in Year 1 under Pete Carroll, aren’t very good. They’re 6-7 and enter Sunday’s game as a six-point home underdog. Since winning at Chicago on Oct. 13, Seattle has beaten only Arizona (twice) and Carolina. This team shouldn’t beat the Falcons anywhere anytime, but the Falcons have, as we know, become the kings of cutting it close.

Unlike the Panthers, with whom the Falcons toyed last Sunday, the Seahawks actually have reason to play. They can still win the NFC West, which tells us everything we need to know about the NFC West, but never mind. They’re past due to beat somebody.

Even the process of getting to Seattle can throw a team off its stride. The Falcons are leaving Friday, as opposed to the customary Saturday road-game-departure. They’ll be playing in a stadium that can be raucous. And they’ll be playing a team they should beat at a time when this city is beginning to buzz over the Saints game.

“That’ll be a tough ticket,” the former Falcon great Jessie Tuggle told me this week, and even in this sweet season the Falcons haven’t had many tough-ticket dates. But first things first: Win in Seattle, then worry about the Saints. Or don’t worry about the Saints, because a win in Seattle makes that game more for show than for dough.

By Mark Bradley

132 comments Add your comment

rawdawg

December 16th, 2010
11:14 am

first

back on top

Adam

December 16th, 2010
11:15 am

FIRST!

KUDOS TO ME!

Adam

December 16th, 2010
11:16 am

Dang, rawdawg…

Evidently I shouldn’t have read the article

rawdawg

December 16th, 2010
11:18 am

rawdawg

December 16th, 2010
11:18 am

Enter your comments here

Mark Bradley

December 16th, 2010
11:19 am

Kudos to rawdawg, for the fourth time this week.

Advice to Adam: Never read the post.

rawdawg

December 16th, 2010
11:22 am

Just read it after

Marcus

December 16th, 2010
11:23 am

agree 100%,MB. Just win …. don’t make this an unnecessary trap game.

Birdman

December 16th, 2010
11:25 am

Mathematically this is a true article, but beating the Saints twice in a regular season would be so much more valuable emotionally, especially considering they might be coming to town during the playoffs and we need them to be low on confidence. So beating Seattle needs to happen, but we need to win that game on Monday night to springboard to a Superbowl run.

Ted M

December 16th, 2010
11:26 am

The Falcons need to start putting complete games together or they won’t last in the playoffs.

Sid

December 16th, 2010
11:27 am

If we don’t go out to Seattle and play to win with “Championship Mentatility” then we deserve whatever seed we get. Truthfully, this game is a test of did the Falcons really earn the #1 seed or stumble into it. They deserve it, yes, but go out to Seattle and answer all your critics (and trolls) by putting them down hard. This half speed crap they came out with in the 2nd half against Carolina is not championship football, take care of business Falcons, dig those talons into the Seahawks deep.

Chris

December 16th, 2010
11:28 am

This should be a good game for Mattie Ice. The Seahawks secondary has not been good this year. Look for Roddy White and Gonzalez early.

PMC

December 16th, 2010
11:29 am

What is thier biggest remaining game from 2007?

FALCONS SORRY

December 16th, 2010
11:30 am

WHEN DO I GET KUDOS I POST IN EVER ONE OF THES BLOGS!!!!

Mark Bradley

December 16th, 2010
11:33 am

Kudos, FALCONS SORRY.

FALCONS SORRY

December 16th, 2010
11:33 am

YOUR RIGHT MB I SHOULDN’T HAVE RED THE ARTICLE SINCE IT IS GARBAGE ANYWAY ABOUT THE FALCONS NEEDED TO BEAT THE SEAHAWKS IN SEATTLE WHAT A JOKE AND A CLASSIC CHOKE GAME

Gary O

December 16th, 2010
11:34 am

The Falcons need this game, because with Dome field advantage throughout the playoffs, they would have a great shot to make it to the SB.

If they have to play on the road (for example, at N.O. or at Philly) to get to the SB, I’m not so confident.

baldy87

December 16th, 2010
11:34 am

One of the worst scenarios is – beat the Seahawks, get drilled at home by New Orleans, and then beat Carolina. I say that because if we lay an egg against New Orleans at home – then it will be New Orleans who enters the playoffs thinking that they can be anyone in the NFC. I still think that game is bigger than the Seattle game, purely from a momentum standpoint. The Falcons win over New Orleans in their dome seems like it was 5 years ago, and frankly, the Falcons DID luck into that one. We can’t count on many missed 29 yard field goals. I want to see them play their best game against the Saints and end all of the arguments.

Sid

December 16th, 2010
11:35 am

MB, kissing up to the trolls…………..I think there is an opening at the New Orleans Daily Bugle……

indianman

December 16th, 2010
11:37 am

i can call a team 11 and 2 sorry your need go to brain doctor

Seriously?????????

December 16th, 2010
11:38 am

A post about the current 11-2 Falcons. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Better than that garbage last post you made, which ironically I noticed you never made any response to. You responded twice on this article in less than an hour.

The Grinch

December 16th, 2010
11:38 am

You’ll get kudos when you stop posting entirely.

I agree this is a huge game; as great a season as we’ve had if we lose this one and lose to the Saints, we’ll still have a good record but not be in particularly good shape for the playoffs. The only POSSIBLE chance we have of beating the Eagles will be if we’re at home.

Thankfully, this team has appeared to be pretty mentally tough to this point.

PMC

December 16th, 2010
11:39 am

Baldy, the Falcons handled the Saints for 3.5 Quarters in thier own building. The Saints were lucky they had a chance for their idiot druggy kicker to fail.

JeanE

December 16th, 2010
11:39 am

Totally agree, Mark. We’ll be pumped to play the Saints but not so much the Seahawks and there’s the long trip, blah blah blah. This game makes me nervous! One big reason the games are always close is our very “offensive” coordinator, Mularkey (was a name every more appropriate?!). As soon as a lead emerges, he hunkers down and gets ultra conserative with a play not to lose mentality. It’s drives me ape-sh*t!! This offense is capable of really unleashing but they are held in by Mularkey and by tacit agreement, Smitty. I have been very impressed with our resiliency this year so I hope we continue to show it. Go Birds!!

Chamwa

December 16th, 2010
11:41 am

If we beat Seattle….we will play conservative vs. the Saints, not needing the win necessarily. It would be nice to clinch the division againt them though!

Kennesaw Falcons Fan

December 16th, 2010
11:41 am

Falcons will win out. Simple as that. 14-2. Easy math.

Donte Killworth

December 16th, 2010
11:41 am

This does have “trap game” written all over it, but I think the Dirty Birds will pull it off. Hey, Ho, Rodney Ho has gotta go. Holla acha boy #firerodneyho

Eric

December 16th, 2010
11:42 am

I would have been worried about a game like this a few weeks ago before we beat Baltimore and GB. But the more I think about it the more this team seems destined to go to the Super Bowl just like in 1998. There is just that feeling to every game that no matter what some miracle happens and we win. Roddy’s strip at the end of the SF game, the stop on 4th and goal vs. TB, NO missing a chip shot field goal. It seems like the hand of the football gods intervenes every week and we win, somehow, someway.

It also should be our year considering our division. The NFC South has sent every other team to the Super Bowl this decade and I think 2010 is the Falcons year. Unfortunately we will get to face the best team in a generation (New England) just like we did in 1998 (Denver) and we all know how that went….

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley, The Corner News and Chris Heiden, Brenda Clayson. Brenda Clayson said: RT @MarkBradleyAJC The #Falcons' biggest remaining game? It ain't the #Saints. http://bit.ly/fdEthg [...]

Dr. Warren

December 16th, 2010
11:44 am

If Bears and Vikings really come to the GA DOME to play their game, that would could present a slight disadvantage to the Falcons in the playoffs. The reason? The Bears would get a chance to get more familiar with the GA Dome than they otherwise would have, and that, in turn, might erode the Falcons’ vaunted Dome Field Advantage just a bit.

ATLien

December 16th, 2010
11:45 am

Still need to beat the Saints, but a win vs Seattle gives us a little breathing room. HUGE GAME!!!

Jim

December 16th, 2010
11:45 am

Saints were lucky. If the punt hadn’t found the heel they wouldn’t have missed the field goal.

Brian F.

December 16th, 2010
11:48 am

Just Win Baby !!!

DawgDad

December 16th, 2010
11:48 am

If this was a college game the line would be what, Falcons by 20-1/2?

You can’t ever afford to take an NFL team lightly, especially on the road, but Seattle beating Atlanta this week would be the upset of the year. The Falcons are getting precious little respect from the NFL analysts and running mouths on gamedays; I suspect this team is chomping at the bit to get the business of clinching done quickly. The Falcons players, in the interviews I’ve seen, appear very focused and dedicated to the mission at hand.

PMC

December 16th, 2010
11:49 am

If everyone think’s it’s a “trap game” is it?

Mark Bradley

December 16th, 2010
11:50 am

Speaking of trap games: Does anyone remember the bad guy in “The Fantastic Four” comic books named the Trapster?

Birdman

December 16th, 2010
11:51 am

Home field advantage isnt about knowing a stadium. They all have the same dimensions, most of the artificial surfaces are all pretty much the same. So playing in the dome with your fans filling the seats and then coming back with a full dirty bird house in the playoffs is two completely different worlds, one does not aid the other.

Birddawg24

December 16th, 2010
11:58 am

Ted M is absolutely right. this playing catch up will catch up to them.seattle will be a tough game. beat them then focus on saints.beating the saints Will Be Harder This Time. I wouldnt pop the champagne corks just yet. sorry guys been a falcon fan for a long time but im being cautiously optomistic.but hey who knows. and dont forget the carolina game, at this point every game is important.

ATLien

December 16th, 2010
12:00 pm

This is not a “trap game”!!!!! Seattle is fighting for a playoff spot, so Atlanta knows they’ll get Seattle’s best shot. However, in my opinion, it won’t be enough. The Falcons know what’s at stake. I think they’ll be more than ready.

The Grinch

December 16th, 2010
12:01 pm

Eric, in 1998 we beat the best team in a generation in the Vikings. Denver wasn’t anywhere NEAR as good. We just had a major letdown.

BirdDog

December 16th, 2010
12:02 pm

Falcons need to take care of bidness. They seem to play to the level of competition and cannot put away the bad teams. But, who cares about style points? Just win baby!

Fake FALCONS SORRY on Here = Loser

December 16th, 2010
12:03 pm

The loser on here posting under FALCONS SORRY’S name is pathetic. How big of a dweeb do you have to be to make fun of someone’s intelligence by mocking their posts and how they communicate?

The real FALCONS SORRY is far more amusing (and original), but I didn’t realize he had so many worshippers and copycats on here.

Get your own handle and stop making fun of minorities, Loser. The real guy/gal doesn’t need any help in sounding ridiculous.

tell it like it is

December 16th, 2010
12:04 pm

I think its a trap game,only if the falcons allow it to be.

dean

December 16th, 2010
12:04 pm

I want to beat the Saints THREE times to get to the SB. Hard? Yes. Can it happen? OH HAIL YES!(credit to that guy who used to carry that sign to every game at ATL-Fulton Co.)

Curious George

December 16th, 2010
12:04 pm

Isn’t “The Trapster” in the FANTASTIC FOUR books also known as “Paste Pot Pete,” Mark?

Supes

December 16th, 2010
12:05 pm

Win them all…don’t take your foot off the pedal if you are the Falcons.

I don’t think this is a “trap” game, this team is too mature for that. It’s a tough place to play…but if you are a playoff contender you come in here and whip them…I saw the CHIEFS and the GIANTS (2 other contending teams) come in here and stop Seattle so why not our FALCONS???

The only concern is the late 2nd or 3rd quarter “lulls” that this team has been falling into…I expect the Falcons D to have a huge game…the 49ers did last week against Seattle…now it’s our turn.

Dr. Warren

December 16th, 2010
12:05 pm

Familiarity is not so simple, Birdman. The whole routine from the hotel to the drive over to the locker room will be more familiar. And yes, buildings can become familiar, too, despite who is sitting in the seats. Traditionally, teams have a better winning percentage on the road against their division rivals than they do against non-division foes. Familiarity the buildings and fields and lighting most likely plays a factor there to some extent.

Larry

December 16th, 2010
12:13 pm

For all the right reasons we must beat Seattle! However, I disagree with those who say we must then beat the Saints again so that should we meet again in the playoffs they will be ow on confidence.

Remember, the Saints are the Super Bowls Champions and are right their with the Falcons as one the top 2-3 teams in the NFC. They are NOT a fluke at 10-3! Losing to them on MNF–if we take care of business against the Seahawks and Panthers–would not be necessarily a bad thing as the likelihood of defeating a defending Super Bowl Champion and one of the most well coached and talented teams in the NFL three consecutive times in the same season is remote!

I don’t like them, but I certainly do respect the Saints, and I wouldn’t be all too upset if we had the extra motivation to beat them after they had beaten us in our own backyard. Again, I would prefer to win out and spank the Saints again but let’s keep everything in perspective!

ET

December 16th, 2010
12:16 pm

Comic books! Comic books! You want me to talk comic books? We might not make the comic books!!!

Scott

December 16th, 2010
12:16 pm

Need to win this one, but also hoping the Saints lose to the Ravens, Falcons, and The Bucs. That way they don’t play in January! It’s Possible!