Atlanta Falcons clinch NFC South title, get closer to top playoff seedon December 3, 2012 at
“The calendar turned to December since the Falcons last played.
It’s the time of year when big football plans start to materialize.
“It’ll be fun for the teams involved,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “It ought to be fun for the fans and it’s going to be fun for the coaches. Football in December, it can’t get any better.”
The Falcons (11-1) wrapped up the NFC South title on Sunday. Denver’s 31-23 win over Tampa Bay (6-6) gave the Falcons a five-game lead with four games to play. New Orleans (5-7) is on playoff-life support and Carolina (3-9) is getting ready for next season.
The Falcons also picked up games on San Francisco (8-3-1) and Chicago (8-4) in the race for one of the top two playoffs seeds in the NFC, which come with a bye and a spot in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Falcons earned at least one home playoff game.
The playoff picture started to take shape after Sunday’s action.
In the AFC, Denver clinched the AFC West title, New England clinched the AFC East title and Houston clinched a playoff berth.
The Falcons will close out the regular season with games at Carolina at 1 p.m. Sunday, New York Giants on Dec. 16 at the Georgia Dome, at Detroit on Dec. 22 and Tampa Bay on Dec. 30 at the Georgia Dome.
If the Falcons sweep, they would have a franchise-best 15-1 mark. The 1998 Falcons, the franchise’s lone Super Bowl team, finished 14-2 under coach Dan Reeves.
The Falcons are the sixth team to start 11-1 since the NFL adopted a 16-game schedule with the 1978 season. Only one of them – the 1991 Washington Redskins – went on to win the Super Bowl.
The 1984 Miami Dolphins, who started 11-1, lost in Super Bowl XIX. The 1990 San Francisco 49ers lost in the NFC championship game. The 2003 Kansas City Chiefs and the 2008 Tennessee Titans lost in the division round.”Share on Facebook