Home field advantage not necessary for Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons are currently sitting atop the NFC with a 9-1 record, putting them in perfect position for home field advantage throughout the playoffs but should they end up not locking up home field advantage it might not be such a bad thing.
For whatever reason, Atlanta seems to play better on the road than they do at home. Granted the one game they lost this season was on the road to the New Orleans Saints, they still look better away than in the Georgia Dome. Not to mention the last time Atlanta hosted a playoff game it was a brutal beat down at the hands of the New York Giants at home.
Atlanta looks better offensively on the road, the defense plays better and they score more points too. In their away games, the Falcons have outscored their opponents 148-92. Through five games they have averaged 29.6 points per game on the road and only allow 18.4.
While Atlanta wins comfortably on the road, their home games are another story. It is a good thing the Georgia Dome is pretty cold on the inside because Atlanta does a great job of making their fans sweat it out at home. Every game the Falcons have played at home has been a nail-biter of some sorts. In their 27-21 win over the Denver Broncos, despite getting three picks from Peyton Manning, Atlanta still managed to make it interesting down the stretch. Atlanta averages 24.4 points per game at home and allows 20.2. That means their only a field goal and an extra point better than their opponents at home; thank God for Matt Bryant.
Of course, you’re going to play some close games but all of Atlanta’s close games have been at home. The Falcons have been fortunate to get breaks during this stretch but come playoff time, those breaks might bounce. Atlanta has home games left with the Saints, Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. These will all be tough games but Atlanta must play better in the Georgia Dome if they expect to win these games and lock up home field advantage. These three teams thrive in close games and controversy. Not to mention Atlanta could see these teams again in the playoffs. But hey, maybe those close games with the Oakland Raiders and Carolina Panthers have prepared the Falcons for what is to come in the playoffs.