The Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs commences today, and while we can't root for the Falcons, we might as well root for somebody. Consider this your guide to Falcons fans rooting interests for this weekend's games.
This one features two top-ten defenses and it should be tough sledding for both offenses. I think Alex Smith and the Chiefs have a better shot against the Texans defense than Brian Hoyer does against the Chiefs defense, but I find it difficult to root against J.J. Watt. Also, the Falcons have faced the Chiefs eight time in franchise history, and the Chiefs have won five of those matchups. The Falcons are 2-2 all time against the Texans. Also, the Falcons actually destroyed Houston earlier this season, so if they win, it theoretically makes the Falcons look better, I guess. Go Texans.
Andy Dalton has been ruled out, so AJ McCarron will be under center for the Bengals. Perhaps your SEC love is so strong that you have to root for the former Alabama quarterback. Perhaps you really don't like Ben Roethlisberger and you'd like to root against him. Either way, the Falcons have played the Bengals 13 times and have only five wins to show for it. Atlanta has taken on the Steelers 16 times and only has two wins and one tie. The Bengals also haven't won a wild card game since the first Gulf War. Go Bengals.
The last time the Falcons won a playoff game, it was against the Seattle Seahawks. Atlanta has faced the Seahawks 15 times and has won just six of those games. The Falcons have beaten Minnesota 11 out of the 29 times these teams have played each other, including a very memorable NFC Championship win that sent the Falcons to the Super Bowl after the 1998 season. Realistically, the winner of this one will have a chance to knock off Atlanta's division rival, the Carolina Panthers, so I'm going with the team I believe has a better chance to do so, and that's the Seahawks.
Green Bay Packers vs. Washington
This one's interesting if only because the Packers offense had a pretty similar trajectory to the Falcons this season. Green Bay started off strong with a 6-0 record and fell apart after the bye, winning just four of ten remaining games. In 30 meetings with the Packers, the Falcons have won just 13 games. The most memorable and painful loss, of course, came in the divisional round of the 2010 playoffs. The Falcons had finished the regular season 13-3 and secured the top seed in the NFC, and the Packers came into the Georgia Dome and destroyed their hopes and dreams. The Falcons have played Washington 29 times in team history and have won nine times and tied once. Atlanta has won five straight against Washington. I have to go with Washington here, just because I still have a bad taste in my mouth from 2010.
What teams are you rooting for today and why?