The best way to get to the Super Bowl for the last three seasons has been through the Atlanta Falcons and this season will be no different.
Atlanta earned the top-seed in the NFC with a 13-3 record, which afforded them a bye in the first round. On Sunday, the Falcons learned their opponent would be the Seattle Seahawks. Personally, I would have preferred the Washington Redskins, just because Atlanta has played and beat them before. Much respect to Robert Griffin III and what he did for the Redskins this season and in the playoffs; it was truly a gutsy performance.
Seattle has to be licking its feathered chops as they get set to make a trip to the Georgia Dome to face the Falcons. For the last three seasons, the team who has beaten Atlanta has gone on to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Those teams would be the Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers and New York Giants, in that order. Of the two teams, only the Cardinals failed to actually win the big game. Bearing that in mind, Seattle has to feel pretty good about their chances, especially given the hot streak they are on right now. Not to mention, Seattle has wins over the other teams left in the NFC; a controversial win over the Packers and a 42-13 rout of the San Francisco 49ers. No wonder the whole world has jumped on their bandwagon.
The Falcons, however, are looking to take the same path to the Super Bowl they have created for others in the last few seasons. They have all the weapons they need: a high-flying offense (no pun intended) and have a defense that is good enough to get the job done. While Seattle will have the whole world with them, Atlanta will no doubt have the whole world against them. So much so, they may want to ask Outkast to perform their hit, “The Whole World” before the game starts.
While being one of the NFL’s most successful teams this season, Atlanta faced tons of doubt and scrutiny. No one believed in them when they were undefeated. Others thought they would come crashing down after their first loss and they didn’t. They lost to the Carolina Panthers and the naysayers came back. In their last game of the season, Atlanta took only their third L of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and people seem to think Atlanta is in big trouble as they take on the Seahawks this weekend. Not to mention they were criticized for playing the schedule the NFL gave them; where they do that at?!
In their match with the Seahawks, Atlanta will face the same opponent they have faced all season, doubters. 13 times they have beaten this opponent and they will look to do it again as they exercise their own playoff demons. Another familiar opponent Atlanta will see in the playoffs is “the hot team”. The Cardinals, Packers and Giants were all hot teams when Atlanta played them in the post season; although I still believe they should have beaten Arizona, I’m just saying. All that being said this divisional round match up with the Seahawks is the perfect way for Atlanta to begin its “road to playoff redemption” and make their way to the New Orleans.