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Atlanta Falcons Remarkably Healthy Heading Into Playoffs

You may recall that 2009 was not the Falcons' year for injuries.

The team lost rookies Peria Jerry and William Moore for the year, taking their top two draft picks out of the equation entirely. At various points in the year, they lost Michael Turner, Jerious Norwood, Matt Ryan and more, and that effective hobbling of some of the team's best players directly tied in to the way the Falcons limped across the finish line.

In comparison, these Falcons are remarkably healthy. Having lost Jerious Norwood and Kerry Meier early, they've managed to avoid any season-ending ailments throughout the rest of the roster. That puts them in an excellent position as compared to teams like the Packers, who are heading into the playoffs without top back Ryan Grant, and the Saints, who lost about five different guys to injury in the course of Sunday's tilt against the Buccaneers.

There's a handful of concerns. Brian Williams left the game Sunday and did not return, while Sean Weatherspoon got banged up. 'Spoon has dealt with his share of injury woes throughout the season, but Stephen Nicholas has played well enough that the Falcons can afford to take it easy on him. I'm more concerned about Williams, a guy I thought would be a complete non-factor before the season. Oh, am I wrong a lot.

Williams has been head and shoulders above Chris Owens as a nickel option, particularly against the run and as a pass rushing option. Losing him would force Owens into duty, and while I believe he's a long-term answer at cornerback, he hasn't shown a whole lot in his limited snaps in 2010.

The rest of the injuries of concern are nagging ones that have proven to be relatively minor. Curtis Lofton and Roddy White have been on the injury report for weeks, yet both have managed to suit up and play at a high level. The bye week can only help White, who has been less of a consistent deep threat since his name started showing up on the report.

When the worst thing you can say about your injury situation is that a nickel cornerback might miss the game and a couple of dudes are banged up, you're damn lucky.