The Atlanta Falcons lost their final regular season game of the year 22-17 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They finished the season 13-3, owners of the number one seed in the NFC and champions of the NFC South. Of course, there is a mild panic circulating Atlanta because many fans and analysts alike felt the Falcons needed to go into the playoffs with some momentum. Yes, the Falcons have lost their last three playoff games and they did not look to hot Sunday. Nevertheless, that is no reason to jump off one bird bandwagon **cough, Seattle Seahawks, cough** to the next.
Of course, you play to win but in the grand scheme of things a loss to Tampa really didn’t mean that much. It’s not like they went from first to third like the Houston Texans (shots fired) or they missed the playoffs all together like the New York Giants or Dallas Cowboys (more shots fired). It may sound crazy, but Atlanta is actually in great shape heading into their second bye week of the year thanks to wrapping up that number one spot.
For starters, it gives them a chance to get healthy after losing key starters John Abraham and Dunta Robinson during the game. It also gives Atlanta a chance to shake off a regular season that was full of ridicule and simply focus on putting together a streak that ends in winning a Super Bowl. All year long, the talk was can Atlanta win a playoff game, but this season became more than just about simply winning a post season game. The Falcons are legit title contenders, so the disappointment will be in they do not make it to New Orleans for the Super Bowl.
While the Falcons have only lost three games all year, they have typically responded very well after doing so. After losing to the New Orleans Saints, the Falcons came out and won their next three games. Now, it must be noted those games were not pretty, especially that four-point win over the hapless Arizona Cardinals but Atlanta showed the fortitude needed to win tough games where they do not play well. Their next loss would come against the Carolina Panthers but Atlanta responded the following week by dashing the dreams of the Giants in a 34-0 rout. Not to mention that Atlanta also came off their bye week and thrashed the Philadelphia Eagles on the road.
This time Atlanta will be coming off of a loss and a bye week. They will be well-rested, re-focused and playing at home; not to mention that all Atlanta has to do is win three games. Of course, it’s not as simply as it sounds but if Atlanta remains the cool customers they have been all season it is not impossible. One thing Atlanta has shown all year is they can crush another team’s momentum. So whether they face a hot Seahawks team or the Green Bay Packers, Atlanta will be ready to play and will definitely score more than two points this time around.