As Atlanta residents head home for the weekend and get set to enjoy a long weekend, the Falcons have ended crunch time in their preparation for the NFC Championship Game.
Explosive Offense Will Test San Francisco
The 49ers have one of the best defenses in the NFL, and the Falcons have one of the best offenses. The match up between the two figures to be an entertaining one, and how well Atlanta is able to move the ball down the field will depend on San Francisco's ability to shut down the Falcons' plethora of weapons.
Dirk Koetter's unit has already proved it's capable of succeeding against elite D's, as seen last week against Seattle. Given the way the Seahawks demolished the 49ers a few weeks ago, there's no reason to believe Matt Ryan and Co. can't have another strong showing on Sunday.
White: Falcons Got Lazy
The near-collapse the Falcons displayed in the fourth quarter last Sunday caused fans across the world an enormous—and unnecessary—amount of stress. While a lot of credit for the dramatic fourth quarter goes to the resilient Seahawks, the Falcons certainly deserve a portion of the blame.
"I felt like in the first half we did a heck of a job, just coming out with attitude and executing at a high level," White told Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports. "We got a little lazy in the second half. We kind of got too complacent, too relaxed. You can't do that in the playoffs. Every series matters. You can't have lulls, man."
Falcons Eye Larger Goal
For the last five years, the most important goal for the Falcons has been to win a playoff game show the world that they're capable of competing in the postseason against the league's elite. After finally doing so last week, the team has adopted a new ambition, and this one involves a bit of hardware.
"The goal of this team is not to win one playoff game," linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said after last Sunday’s 30-28 triumph over the Seahawks. "The outsiders said we can’t win in the playoffs. Now they have to come up with other things to say. Our goal is to get the next win and then the one after that."
Time to Give Matt Ryan His Due
Since entering the league, Matt Ryan has been a quarterback known to lead his team successfully through the first 16 games of the season, and fall apart soon after that. Now, having gotten over the playoff hump, we've reached the point where we can look at Ryan and truly place him among the best at his position in the league.
Falcons Set Noise Record, Team Wants More
Anyone that attended last week's game at the Georgia Dome will tell you it was an electric and rocking atmosphere, as it should be for a playoff game. In fact, last Sunday's crowd set a record by hitting 113 decibels—the loudest noise ever recorded at the Dome. Coach Smith has said earlier this week that he'd like to see that number climb to 115 against the 49ers.