Three years ago, I travelled to Charlotte to watch the Falcons take on the Carolina Panthers in what seemed like a fluff game for Atlanta. Matt Ryan and Co. were on their way to their second playoff berth in as many years, and all was well. Unfortunately, the Falcons fell that day28-19, and that loss proved to be the difference between earning a wild card spot and watching the postseason from home. In five days I'll be traveling back to Bank of America stadium, and will hopefully leave under better circumstances this time.
Falcons Can't Underestimate Panthers
Even though Carolina lost in a pitiful match to Kansas City last Sunday, the Panthers came extremely close to beating the Falcons just a few weeks ago—so this game is by no means a gimme. The Falcons have opened as 3.5 point favorites—a small margin, yes, but somewhat appropriate given Atlanta's knack for playing so many close games.
Falcons React to Winning NFC South
Atlanta had the luxury of clinching the division championship this year on an off day, when the players could sit back and simply enjoy themselves. That said, not much celebration took place.
Weatherspoon tweeted: “The last time we won the division I was too amp! This time it's just like... Ok, now lets accomplish the nxt goal!”
Todd McClure tweeted: “Just the first step in a long journey. We still have a lot of work to do. #hongry”.
John Abraham Quietly Having Great Season
He may be 34 years old, but John Abraham has proven this season that he's still an elite pass rusher. As one of the most important assets to Mike Nolan's defense, Abraham has racked up 10 sacks thus far in 2012—good for fifth in the NFL. This also marks the seventh season in his career that he's earned double-digit sacks.
Coach Smith Not Satisfied With Division Championship
If there's one major criticism of the job Mike Smith has done in four years as the head coach of the Falcons, it's his inability (thus far) to win a playoff game. So it came as no surprise that winning the NFC South didn't excite him that much.
"Ultimately, the number one thing for us is that we want to win as many football games as we can in the fourth quarter (of the season)," Smith said. "Then there will be sub-factors that we'll concern ourselves with. Most importantly, we want to make sure that we go out and we play every game to win. We need to win. We need to win them all. We need to go 4-0 in the fourth quarter."
Saints Bus 'Egger' Quits Job at Airport
Off the field, the man who egged the Saints bus last Thursday has quit his job at the airport as a restaurant employee. The Department of Aviation at Hartsfield-Jackson airport has officially closed its "investigation" on the matter, so we can all finally breathe easy. If the culprit is by any chance reading this: I'll happily buy you a beer anytime.