The Atlanta Falcons are punching their ticket to home field advantage.
The Atlanta Falcons didn't need to travel to Detroit and punch the Lions in the mouth. They didn't need to hang 21 first half points on the Lions and draw such effusive praise from Jon Gruden that Mike Tirico put on a hazmat suit. Yet they did.
These are your 2012 Atlanta Falcons. They are a team that has defied every expectation and prognostication about their season, a team that has been better than we had a right to expect. This is a team that blows out the defending Super Bowl champions 34-0 at home and then goes on the road and has an up-and-down game against the Linos. They're also a team that lost to Carolina and embarrassed the Saints on national television. It can be hard to get a read on them from week-on-week, and the defense certainly wasn't stellar in this one.
It hardly matters. You make your name known in the playoffs, as so many have told us, and the Falcons are headed there with home field advantage. They have an explosive offense and a quality defense, both of which are capable of putting big games together. They've come this far and shown off crazy explosiveness. It may just take them far in the playoffs.
So in a couple of weeks you'll forget that their third quarter play was bad. You might forget that Matt Ryan was magnificent even though he was pressured, tossing four touchdown passes. And you could be forgiven for forgetting that Calvin Johnson became the latest NFL player to set a ridiculous record against this Falcons team. They're 13-2 and they have a first round bye and home field. What matters is that they got here.
Talk Falcons-Lions all night long. Stay tuned for a full recap from one of our erstwhile writers tomorrow!