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We're now just a couple days away from the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs, and within a couple of days, the Falcons first postseason opponent will be decided.
Falcons Preparing for Potential Opponents
Even though the Falcons' divisional round opponent has yet to be decided, the team will spend time this week preparing for each of the the three potential teams: Washington, Seattle and Minnesota.
"For the staff, (Wednesday) will be the day we work on Seattle," Smith said. "We’ll work on Minnesota tomorrow and then on Friday we’ll work on the Washington Redskins. The reason we picked that sequence is because we haven’t played Seattle, we know a little bit about Minnesota since (Vikings offensive coordinator) Bill Musgrave was on our staff and we played Washington earlier in the year. We’ll be working as a staff the rest of the day and we’ll put that to rest and switch gears."
This Postseason Will Be Different
As we've stated many times in the recent past, this year's Falcons team is significantly different from its 2010 version, even though both finished with a 13-3 record and the NFC's top seed.
In addition to a better staff and a deeper depth chart, the experience guys like Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Sean Weatherspoon, etc. have gain in the last couple of years figures to pay dividends in the upcoming weeks, as Atlanta looks to win its first postseason contest since 2004, when the Mike Vick-led Falcons took out the St. Louis Rams at the Georgia Dome.
"All those guys are not pups anymore," Tony Gonzalez said. "They're not little babies. These guys are seasoned veterans and they know what it takes to go out there and play well and I think that's the biggest difference. I think that's definitely going to help get us over that hump."
Injured Falcons Miss Practice
While William Moore, John Abraham and Dunta Robinson are all expected to suit up in Atlanta's first playoff game, none of them took part in practice on Thursday as they continue their respective recoveries.
Abraham (ankle) and Robinson (head) both injured themselves last week against Tampa Bay; William Moore (hamstring) has missed the last month.
"You want to have the healthiest possible team in the opener of the playoffs," Smith said on Thursday. "We’ve got some guys who have some bumps and bruises that have gone through a 16-game regular season and need some rest. We’re going to make sure that they’re going to be as healthy as possible."
Harry Douglas: Best Hands in the NFC South
While he may be Matt Ryan's fourth option, wide receiver Harry Douglas had the best catch percentage on the Falcons (and in the division), hauling in 97.4 percent of catchable passes, dropping just one all season long.
Douglas can often be undervalued with Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez playing alongside him, but the Louisville grad has shown he's more than capable of being a reliable threat in the NFL and more than just a special teams player. Look for Douglas to get a few balls thrown his way in the playoffs, and perhaps even a screen pass or two.