Well, that’s what seems to be the foregone conclusion among some of the so-called experts who are going to spend the next few days telling all of us what to expect during the NFL playoffs this weekend.
Alas, these “experts” have apparently chosen to not allow facts and reality to get in the way of them tooting their own horn, and continuing to doubt the Atlanta Falcons.
Supposedly the fact that the Atlanta Falcons have won several close games means they aren’t really that good, and are due for a playoff loss. Never mind the fact that the Falcons did what you’re supposed to do, find ways to win. These “experts” conveniently seem to forget that while Atlanta only lost three games, and Green Bay found a way to lose twice that many, of the Packers 10 victories, many of those could have been losses.
Apparently these people forget this is the NFL, where any given Sunday any team can beat anyone else (how else do you explain the Patriots losing to the Browns?). Winning is the name of the game, just getting victories is hard enough. When talking about the health of the game, they love to refer to this as parity. When talking about the Atlanta Falcons, they try to refer to it as weakness on part of the Falcons.
I imagine when examining the Packers schedule and results, they just decided it was parity there too. Sure, Atlanta’s 13-3 could have easily been 10-6, or 7-9. It also very easily could have been 15-1. Just as Green Bay’s 10-6 could have easily been 6-10. But people forget that, don’t they?
The Eagles opener? Could’ve just as easily been a loss (as I’ve heard people refer to the Bengals game as one Atlanta could have lost, so, this qualifies too). I seem to recall the Eagles having the ball, down 7, in Green Bay territory with less than 2:00 to go in the football game. But I guess Green Bay just dominated that game though, right? Had this been the Falcons we’d only hear about how fortunate they were that Vick hadn’t come in the game earlier? Or how fortunate they were that Andy Reid can’t manage a clock or appropriately call plays in short yardage situations.
Detroit, at home, a few weeks later? The Packers win this one by a paltry two points, at home, over the Lions. Detroit, like Philadelphia, had the ball, with a chance to win, in the middle of the 4th quarter. But alas, this wasn’t the Falcons, so it’s a case of a win being a win, who cares how it happened, right? Had it been Atlanta, we’d be hearing about how pitiful it was for the Falcons to squeak by such an inferior opponent.
Minnesota, three weeks after that? Down just four, inside the Green Bay 20 late in the 4th quarter. The Vikings actually scored the go ahead touchdown, but had the play reversed. Minnesota wasn’t able to get the points back. But obviously, this wasn’t a game Green Bay could have lost, was it? Had it been Atlanta, we’d have been hearing about how lucky they were the play was overturned.
In the season finale against Chicago, Jay Cutler and the Bears were marching their way towards a tying touchdown when Jay Cutler had a relapse into the Cutler of old. To hear the experts, it was Green Bay’s defense making a play and rising up. Had this been the Falcons, we’d be hearing about how lucky they were that Jay Cutler made a bad decision there.
Let’s also keep in mind that the three teams Atlanta lost to all made the playoffs this year, two of them won their division and the other would have been the number two seed if not for having to play in the Falcons division. One of those losses came by a field goal, and the other came in overtime.
Keep in mind that Green Bay had losses to the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions this year. Such losses to such teams don’t exist on the Falcons resume.
Now don’t take this as me undermining what Green Bay has done this year, or to suggest they didn’t deserve those wins, not at all. What Green Bay did this year was make enough plays to win 10 games, not 11, not 9, but 10. Atlanta made enough plays to win 13 games, not 14, not 12, but 13.
*Also keep in mind, 5 of the Patriots victories this year came by single possession margins, but to suggest this would be complete blasphemy*
It’s funny though, Green Bay was scrapping out wins, and doing just enough to get in the playoffs, and apparently showing us how great they were. Or at least that’s what we are led to believe. The Falcons meanwhile were just the beneficiaries of some lucky bounces and advantageous officiating decisions, or so we’re told.
We hear how Green Bay was the hottest team coming into the playoffs. I’m sorry, didn’t they lose HALF of their last six games? Didn’t they manage a total of 13 points against the Lions and Bears in two of their final four?
I know full well how good a football team Green Bay is. They have an elite quarterback. They have a tremendous attacking defense. They play good special teams. They’ve won quite a few football games. The thing is, the same can be said of the Falcons, only, they’ve managed to win a few more, including one over these same Packers.