Our playoff journey takes us to one of my favorite cities, Atlanta.
#1 Seed – Atlanta Falcons
Second Round Opponent: Green Bay Packers
Best Case Playoffs Scenario: Michael Turner is effective on the ground and the Matt Ryan/Roddy White connection carries the Falcon passing game. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s anonymous defense doesn’t collapse under postseason pressure and creates front four pressure courtesy of John Abraham and friends.
Worst Case Playoffs Scenario: Atlanta replicates its underwhelming 2008 playoff performance by turning over the football and allowing big plays in the passing game. Also, Atlanta’s good fortune in close games goes awry.
Falcon Player of Note: Matt Ryan. Seattle’s Matt Hasselbeck was the only NFC quarterback who started at least five playoff games entering the ’10 postseason. Ryan owns just one playoff start, a 30-24 loss to the Arizona Cardinals during the ’08 playoffs. Obviously, he has played well at home this season. However, in the postseason any Ryan mistakes could prove costly. Only two of Atlanta’s eight home games were decided by more than seven points.
Notable Atlanta, Georgia Native: Bill Goldberg. Not only was he a former WWE/WCW World Champion, but also a member of the Atlanta Falcons.
Bizarre Note Regarding Atlanta, Georgia: Atlanta owns just eight snow plows. So, when the entire city got hit with a snow/ice storm late last week, the city was paralyzed. After enduring its first White Christmas since 1882 nearly a month ago, is it asking too much to invest in an extra snow plow or two then? Be proactive, not reactive people.
A Reason Why The Falcons Should Be Worried: During the holidays, I asked my sharp nine-year-old nephew (an Atlanta native) about the Falcons. He shrugged his shoulders and with a bewildered look on his face uttered, “ok?” That sums up how I feel about the Falcons. They just get by. Nine of their 16 games were decided by seven points or less. Playing in close games versus good teams constantly makes me queasy. They remind me of a lightweight boxer just trying to go the distance every time to get it to the judges. Eventually, if it keeps going to the judges, odds are he’ll lose. Atlanta needs to develop a knockout blow or they will not bring the Lombardi Trophy to Atlanta.
Bad Moment In Falcons Postseason History: While the Falcons lack a significant body of postseason work, they offered up a doozy back in the 1980 NFC Divisional playoffs.
Leading 24-10 in the fourth quarter at home (!), Danny White and the Dallas Cowboys dropped a 20 spot in the fourth quarter to win it, 30-24.
By the way, check out that CBS Sunday night lineup.
Would you every leave your house after dinner with that lineup?!!?