Friday, January 02, 2009

Betcha Bottom Dollar: The Fucking Falcons Are In The Fucking Playoffs Edition, Week One

What the Atlanta Falcons accomplished in 2008 is nothing short of amazing, but one group has not been given enough credit for it - the NFL Scheduling Gods.

If a team is featuring a rookie quarterback, there are a few matchups it would kill to have. This year, you're looking at Detroit, St. Louis and Kansas City.

Those teams will have the first three picks in next year's draft, having finished the season with the worst records in the league. And they were all on Atlanta's schedule. Not to mention 5-11 Oakland.

That's what you call a trio of confidence builders - something a young team desperately needs. Those victories, two very conveniently scheduled in the first three weeks of the season, directly helped in the Falcons' more daunting wins - @Green Bay, @Minnesota, @San Diego, Chicago, Carolina, Tampa Bay, New Orleans.

Well, those days are over with. On Tuesday, the NFL announced each team's home and away matchups for 2009. The home schedule includes the three division matchups, plus Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, Buffalo and Miami. The away games include the division rivals, plus Dallas, San Francisco, New England and both New York teams.

For those scoring at home, the Falcons will only be playing TWO teams next season that had a losing 2008 record - and nobody that finished worse than 7-9. Hardly Detroit, St. Louis or Kansas City levels of talent.

Remember, the Atlanta Falcons have NEVER had back-to-back winning seasons. If they do it in 2009, the team has truly arrived.

The picks:

Atlanta (-2) @ Arizona. Not only did Atlanta's regular season scheduling benefit the Falcons, but the postseason one has its own helping hand. If you have to play a first-round game - and dammit, my least favorite UGA alum John Kasey, we do - this is the best opponent you could hope for. And how absurd is it that, as of Friday morning, the game still hasn't sold out? PICK: Atlanta

Indianapolis (-1) @ San Diego. If the Falcons do bow out of the postseason before the Super Bowl - and that's a big "if," homie - I'll be pulling for the All-Manning Super Bowl. Peyton and the Colts vs. Eli and the Giants. Because, really, there's not another team in the postseason I could rally behind. And plus, that would mean the Panthers were out of the running. PICK: Indianapolis

Baltimore (-3) @ Miami. The Fiancee and I have talked about going to the Georgia Aquarium for awhile now, and I suggested early Sunday afternoon would be a great time to go. But during the NFL playoffs, you say? Whaaaaa? Is anybody outside of Maryland or southern Florida excited about this game? I can't think of anything more imaginative than "The Wire" vs. "Miami Vice" when trying to anticipate it. PICK: Baltimore (because "The Wire" is better than "Miami Vice," I guess)

Philadelphia (-3) @ Minnesota. I'm picking Minnesota here because nobody else is picking Minnesota here. And because four road favorites won't cover in the playoffs. They won't. I don't think. Of course, all Falcons fans should be pulling hard for the Eagles, as Philly going on a run is the only way Atlanta sees a home NFC Championship game. PICK: Minnesota

Last week: 6-9-1, but who's counting?
Overall: 55-63-4, but seriously, who's counting?

Stop counting.

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