December 16, 2012
Don’t get me wrong; it’s still all about what happens in the playoffs for the Atlanta Falcons. If today was any indication, the Falcons are determined to forget about past playoff disappointment. Atlanta dismantled the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants 34-0 on Sunday at the Georgia Dome, bringing their record to 12-2 and closer to home-field advantage in the NFC. By far, this is the most impressive performance we’ve seen from the Falcons all year. A lot of people(including myself)have asked if we should take the Falcons seriously because we’ve seen this movie before. Two years ago, the Falcons were 8-0 at home in the regular season on the way to home-field advantage, only to have an early exit courtesy of the eventual Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. This performance says this is a different Falcons team, a team that played like they want to get rid of the memories of those playoff failures. It also appears they remembered the embarrassing 24-2 loss they suffered to the Giants up in New Jersey in last season’s Wild Card round. Only time will tell whether or not the Falcons can make some noise in the playoffs, where it really matters, but this win serves as notice to the rest of the football world this team is out to prove something. Everything seems to be clicking for the Falcons. They were able to run the football effectively with running back Michael Turner and they were also able to get explosive plays down the field with quarterback Matt Ryan connecting with wide receiver Julio Jones. The biggest difference I see in the Falcons from past years is the defense, which is more aggressive in terms of getting after the quarterback and forcing turnovers. They held Giants QB Eil Manning to 161 yards passing and forced two interceptions. I must say things appear to be looking up for the ATL, but I ask the question “Should we believe in the Falcons after this beat-down of the Giants?” Personally, I still say you can buy Falcons stock at your own risk. Yes, I know Atlanta is 12-2 and they appear to be a different team from the ones we’ve seen falter in the playoffs, but I’m the type of person that has to see it to believe it. I can’t call Ryan “Matty Ice” until I see him perform and win in the playoffs. I can’t believe in the Falcons team until I see them shake their playoff woes. Even though I I’m not buying stock in the Falcons, that’s not to say there isn’t any reasons to be excited about what the Falcons are doing. When you can destroy the defending Super Bowl champions like the Falcons did this close to the playoffs, it definitely sends a message. The defense is better than I ever remember seeing in recent memory. With all that said, you are judged by what you do in the post-season. Until I see the Falcons come through at money time, I will always be skeptical.
By Charles Taylor