The Falcons are the best team in the NFC… for now. They will host the divisional round of the playoffs against the winner of the Seahawks @ Redskins game this Sunday. Matt Ryan will try to cap off his incredible regular season with his first ever playoff victory. The NFL has been full of surprises this year, and the absolute dominance of the Falcons has been one of them. Despite playing a lot of close games, the Falcons have soared to the best record in the NFL. Their offense has stepped up to be in the same ranks of Green Bay and New Orleans, and have surpassed them with all around team play. The Falcons were so impressive this year that their offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, and their special teams coach have all been linked to NFL head coaching jobs. Without a doubt, it has been a miraculous season.
However, it will all mean nothing if they cannot advance in the playoffs. Matt Ryan is playing in his 5th NFL season, but has yet to have any success in the postseason. His stats put him in the elite level of Quarterback, but he cannot be compared to the greats until he starts winning the games that truly matter. He has the weapons to excel now, so their cannot be any more excuses in Atlanta.
With a first round bye this time around, Atlanta figures to be one of the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. That has not been the case in recent years, with the top dog getting bounced early in the playoffs. Just last year we saw the Packers and 49ers take an early exit while the Giants pushed their way to an NFL Championship. I’m not ready to say the first round bye is less of an advantage, but i will admit the playoffs are a whole different animal. It is very important to play like every game could be your last, but it very well could be. Atlanta is unlike other top teams in recent years because of their lack of playoff success in previous years. Either way, the Falcons have a tough challenge ahead of them next week.