The Falcons have played 13 games. Two have been blowouts: The opening loss at Chicago and the dismissal of winless Indianapolis. In the Falcons’ six home games, all have been in doubt in the fourth quarter, and one beyond that. (Fourth-and-1 at the 30 in overtime. I’m guessing you remember.)
I mention this because we might be about to see an actual Dome wipeout. The Jacksonville Jaguars arrive having already shed coach Jack Del Rio but still lugging the 32nd-best offense in a 32-team league. I also mention this because the Falcons’ head coach has been in the news for having chest pains. An actual runaway by the home side would be the nicest holiday gift Mike Smith could imagine.
I should also mention that the Falcons need only to beat two bad teams here — Jacksonville and then Tampa Bay on New Year’s Day — to reach 10 wins. Ten wins will almost surely book playoff passage and claim the NFC’s No. 5 seed in the process, and you’d rather be No. 5 and have to play the Giants or the Cowboys or the Eagles than be No. 6 and face a Round 1 game in the Superdome.
I could mention other things, but I really don’t feel a pressing need. This one shouldn’t be close, except that the Falcons are pretty good at making games close. Let’s see if they break character tonight.
And with that, the floor’s yours. I eagerly await your comments, questions and submissions for favorite seasonal song. And if anyone suggests Burl Ives’ “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” that person gets banned in perpetuity. So be warned.
By Mark Bradley