HOLY CRAP!! Destroy a bad Jacksonville team in prime time and suddenly the Falcons are invincible. Watch out Packers, the NFC road to the Superbowl runs through Atlanta now, I guess? Except, you’ll have to travel when the Falcons go on the road in the playoffs. Make sense? No? Exactly.
It’s the way the sports media works nowadays. It’s viral. Catch the wave of what folks are talking about and watch the talk, chat, posts, blogs, tags, votes, tweets and such take off. Better yet, create the wave yourself, sports networks, and watch the traffic spike and the ad dollars roll in.
So, the Falcons played a complete game. Finally. Bout freakin’ time, huh? Maybe. I still say winning in the NFL just isn’t easy. No matter what. Even though some make it look easy, it just isn’t. But, we’re sports fans. We have to expect more and bitch and moan when things don’t go our way. It’s the American way.
What does the Falcons 41-14 win over the Jags actually mean. It means a few things:
1. Most importantly, the Falcons didn’t lose a must-win game. They are one step closer to the playoffs. A loss would have made the Dec 26th game versus the Saints a must win. Yikes.
2. They came out of the game as healthy as they went into it. Super important.
3. That’s about it. Yes, its nice they played a complete game. But this is the NFL. One well-played game doesn’t always spurn another. Heading into the Saints game, the 9-day week to get healthier and prepare is far more important. And the little bit of breathing room they added in the playoff standings helps too. Are the Falcon’s peaking? Unless you have a reliable crystal ball, you really don’t know. And neither do I.
If I want to put on my analyst cap at this point and think about where the Falcons are right now in the evoltuion of this season, I’d say something like this. The defense has really improved and the offense is playing more consistently. Roddy decided to shut up and play football after the New Orleans game, thank you very much. Julio is starting to make some plays. Opponents are still loading up against the run and playing press coverage. But Matty is starting to make them pay, at least the bad teams. There are still some pretty significant problems on the offensive line and that could get ugly in the post-season. And I’m not convinced the Falcons are going to get enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks come playoff time. We’ll see.
But, they are in better shape than they were a few weeks ago. And they aren’t going to lay down and quit against anyone. Regardless of the score or situation. Smitty uses word like resove and resilient. Whatever it is, the Falcons are loaded on intangibles. And, yes, intangibles count in the NFL. They count A LOT!
Barring a significant injury in the next two weeks, the Falcons should be as healthy as any team heading into the playoffs. They should have the second-best NFC defense heading into the post-season as well, behind the Niners. If the offensive line doesn’t get knocked around too bad, they have a pretty decent chance in any matchup. I certainly wouldn’t make them the favorite to represent the NFC in the Superbowl, but they have a chance. And giving yourself a chance is something that is far easier said than done in the NFL. And its something a lot of other NFL fans wish they could say about their teams.
Be thankful Falcon fans. It looks like our team is going past Week 17.