The second half of the season saw critics begin to take the Falcons serious. But at the end, critics – and myself as a fan – know that regular season success means absolutely nothing when recent history shows that your team isn’t a real contender come playoff time. However, this year felt special and late in the season, with the core group of guys on offense remaining healthy for the most part, it was clear the Falcons would be a dangerous team to stop. The young defense, which finished the regular season 27th of 32 in points allowed with 25.4 points per game, would be the achilles heel if things went South. Who cares though when the Falcons can outscore any defense regardless of how good the opposing team’s offense was? Make it interesting, and make it a shootout.
A late bye week was a huge plus for the team’s late season success as the strength of schedule following the bye was smooth-sailing. The Falcons finished the final six weeks 5-1 and winners of four straight heading into the playoffs. Additionally, a season sweep over the defending NFC Champion Carolina Panthers and rival New Orleans Saints to finish off the season as NFC South Champions makes it that much more momentous.