The Atlanta Falcons may be the least respected 13-3 team of all time. Fortunately, their opportunity for redemption is six days away. Atlanta has been criticized for failing to win games with conviction this season despite their impressive winning percentage. All public praise of the Falcons has hindered on their success during the playoffs, which begins Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
Every conditional positive statement about Atlanta always ends with “…well let’s see what they do in the playoffs.” Since the Falcons brought in current head coach Mike Smith and drafted quarterback Matt Ryan, the duo has enjoyed enormous success in bringing back the Falcons to relevance. The only thing missing is playoff success.
The Falcons have one of the best 1-2 receiver punches in football with Roddy White and Julio Jones, but the Seahawks have an answer. Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner comprise arguably the best cornerback tandem that any team has to offer, so these matchups will play a huge role in determining the outcome of the game.
And the X factor in deciding that matchup will be Matt Ryan. Matty Ice enters this playoff campaign against one of the stingiest pass defenses in the league, which is appropriate for this story. With a one-and-done playoff run, the Falcons will undoubtedly be torn apart by the media. No one has given them any credit for the regular season, and only playoff victories will meet the expectations laid out for this team.
It is almost ironic that the Falcons, who earned a number one seed and home field throughout the playoffs, are rewarded for their work by drawing arguably the hottest team still alive in the NFC. Seattle has the bruising ground game and stifling pass defense that are potential weaknesses for the Falcons, so in a season that has long been linked to playoff success, Matty Ice and Co. will have to prove to everyone that that they are the real deal against a team that may have their number.