It's do or die for the Atlanta Falcons, and a loss here, in my opinion, is unacceptable.
The Seattle Seahawks are a fine team. Truly, that team is one of the feel-good stories of the NFL.
But this game isn't about the Seattle Seahawks. In fact, I'd venture to say this game has nothing to do with the Seahawks at all.
There isn't a special story to the Seahawks here. If they win, they're just reinforcing what "everyone already knew". If they lose, they "lost to a better team", which, based on everything I've seen, they'd be losing to the inferior team, according to many.
They have their Round 1 playoff win. They have a young team. They have a rookie QB. Advancing any farther than this would just be profit, so to speak.
No, this game is about the Atlanta Falcons.
This game is going to determine whether or not the Falcons have any legitimacy at all. Losing here would not only be unacceptable, but it could very well strike a mortal blow to this team's fanbase.
And that's okay.
We as fans have waited patiently for a long time. Some fans, in fact, have waited decades.
Folks, it took Michael Vick just a couple years to win a playoff game, and it was a doozy at that.
Why, all of a sudden, is this team incapable of winning playoff games?
This is the 5th year of this regime. The team looks as good as it ever has, and it has played some of the best football in the team's history.
The focus is certainly there, as has been reported by many.
So what's the problem?
This team feels like the 1998 Braves. Strangely enough, another Atlanta team. Despite having the most bonkers pitching rotation of all time, the Braves (who won 106 games) lost to the Padres (98 games) in the playoffs.
Many Falcons fans are also Braves fans, and I think it's fair to say we suffered through enough playoff appearances with the Braves that spanned, I dunno, a decade and a half.
So, Falcons, don't be like the 1998 Braves.
If the Falcons lose now, the media will rejoice. Anyone remotely close to the Seahawks will rejoice and, once again, Falcons fans will be left wondering what the hell happened.
In fact, let's take out the media aspect, since nobody cares what they think.
There's no reason nor excuse for them to lose. No, our running game isn't good and no, we're not the best at defending mobile QBs, Are those legitimate excuses? No. Not anymore.
In the history of the playoffs, there is ONE quarterback that is 0-4. Only one. It's Y. A. Tittle, who was a quarterbacking pioneer in the 50s and 60s. He's also a Hall of Famer, if that makes you feel any better.
If you believe in curses, or are superstitious, well, there's hope for that.
If you're worried about a potential lack of intensity, well, we've got you covered there too.
But look at me just ranting and rambling on about nothing. The point of this post is that there's no excuse for the Falcons to lose. Losing here only means that the entirety of the regular season was a waste. Seattle's a fine team, for sure, but let's be real. Should they have any chance of winning this game? No.'
Why? We've been here before. We've been in this situation before, and without a shadow of a doubt, we're hungrier than they are. There's no reason we should lose. They've had their fun, and now it's our turn.
To me, this is the make or break game. If we win here, a loss next week is fine by me. I'd hate it, for sure, but at least there's progress. A loss here would make me question whether or not progress is even possible. We're already at the top, are we just Goliath in a field of Davids? The team's done about everything you could ask it to do personnel-wise. They brought in new coaches, who have been pretty good. Is our talent not good enough?
But no! That's been one of the positives noted by many readers of this blog. The talent on this team is overwhelming. Or is it? They're not like the Cowboys, who have had gobs of talent in the past, but didn't have the chemistry. We don't have that problem; we're a very tightly knit group.
If we don't have that problem, then what's the dealio?
There is none! There's no
effing reason why we should lose this game. All we have to do is not do what the Falcons and all Georgia sports seem to do in big games show up.
A year ago yesterday, I begged the team to win against the Giants, which, of course, lead to their most embarrassing playoff game yet, so I'm not doing that this year. I re-read what I wrote out of curiosity, and a lot of it still applies now.
The team's great. I love the team, and I always will, but I've reached the line in the sand, so to speak. I expect the team to win, because as I've tried to say in this post, there's no reason for them to lose. They've shown they can rise up to the occasion, and they're playing a team that has been awful on the road.
This game, dare I say, is being served to the Falcons on a silver platter. Bad road team for opponent, rookie QB, underrated crowd, bloodthirsty home team, potentially Tony Gonzalez's last game.
This is undoubtedly the biggest game in each of these two teams' careers.
And that, my fine Falcoholic friends, is why the Falcons will win.
The Seahawks, good as they are, aren't ready. Not like this guy.