Falcons catch a break when Lions lose

kprice@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 2, 2012 

The Atlanta Falcons got the break it was looking for Sunday when the Detroit Lions couldn't figure out how to stop ”all-world'” quarterback Matt Flynn and the Green Bay Packers.

With the Lions' loss and the Falcons' later win over the hapless Buccaneers, the Falcons jumped over the Lions into the No. 5 seed.

As the No. 5 seed, the Falcons will start the NFC playoffs at the Giants, the No. 4 seed.

That is a much better matchup than the Falcons going to New Orleans, the No. 3 seed, which is where the Lions are headed.

Of course, the Giants will not be pushovers. After a mid-season swoon, the Giants seemingly have figured some things out and closed the season with easy wins over the Jets and Cowboys to win the NFC East.

The Falcons defense, which has had its problems at times this season, will have its hands full trying to stop Victor Cruz, who has exploded out of nowhere to be one of the best big-play threats in the league.

The Falcons will need to do something that the Cowboys was only able to do sparingly Sunday night — pressure Eli Manning.

Manning can be forced into some bad plays, but give him time, he can be as good as any quarterback in the NFL.

The Falcons offense should be able to score some points. Again, the key will be pressure on the QB.

If the Falcons' offensive line can give Matt Ryan time, he should be able to pick apart the Giants' secondary.

With a win, the Falcons would likely head to Green Bay for a rematch of last year's second-round game. But if the Lions find a way to beat the Saints, then the Falcons would head to San Francisco.

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