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Falcons spank the Lions, clinch home-field advantage

Atlanta Falcons v Detroit Lions Getty Images

The road to the Super Bowl in the NFC goes through Atlanta.

The Falcons went to Detroit on Saturday night and did what they needed to do, out-playing an out-classed Lions team and winning 31-18 to wrap up the No. 1 seed in the NFC and home-field advantage through the NFC Championship Game. The Falcons can now, if they so choose, rest some key players in next week’s finale. They have nothing more to play for in the regular season.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had a huge day, completing 25 of 32 passes for 279 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Two of those touchdowns went to Roddy White, who also had a huge game, with 153 yards on eight catches. The porous Detroit secondary had no answer for the Ryan-to-White combination.

The best player on the field, however, was Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, who had 11 catches for 225 yards and broke two records on Saturday night: Most receiving yards in a season and most consecutive 100-yard games.

But football is a team game, and Megatron can’t do it all by himself. The Lions have major flaws on defense and special teams, and a lack of offensive playmakers other than Johnson. The Falcons, however, are looking like a complete team, and like a team that’s peaking at the right time late in the season. Now the Falcons have one meaningless Week 17 game and one off week during the wild-card round, before they host a divisional round game three weeks from now. And we’ll see if Atlanta can maintain this momentum into the playoffs.

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55 Responses to “Falcons spank the Lions, clinch home-field advantage”
  1. seenoland54 says: Dec 22, 2012 11:39 PM

    WELCOME TO GEORGIA!

  2. hartcarluncarlun says: Dec 22, 2012 11:40 PM

    The Falcons offense will be tough for any team to deal with. This could def be their year…..

  3. iamthorny says: Dec 22, 2012 11:40 PM

    Everyone knows Home Field Throughout means ONE home game for Atlanta in the playoffs.

  4. norcalmafia says: Dec 22, 2012 11:44 PM

    Atlanta is impressive but I think they would have a hard time beating some of the other NFC playoff teams like the Niners..

  5. packfntk says: Dec 22, 2012 11:44 PM

    Everyone beats the Lions.

    Congrats to ATL on an amazing season thus far though.

  6. ilovefoolsball says: Dec 22, 2012 11:44 PM

    The rest of the NFC has got them right where they want them.

    Time to choke on another big one hotlanta! Make sure that all Falcon fans showing up to the stupid circus tent park close by so they can get to their car by halftime as they tuck tail for another embarrassing early playoff exit.

  7. anyonebutbrady says: Dec 22, 2012 11:47 PM

    I really do feel bad for Johnson, he is an absolute class act who is an all around beast, and he deserves to have a record like this without an asterisk. If gruden wonders about how much of those 1,882 yards were “meaningless”, what are Megatron/lion haters going to say…

  8. niners816 says: Dec 22, 2012 11:47 PM

    They will still lose come playoff time.

  9. noring4youstill says: Dec 22, 2012 11:47 PM

    Is it a moral victory if Notlanta scores 3 pts this year?

  10. kenorv says: Dec 22, 2012 11:50 PM

    Considering this team that hasn’t won a playoff game in the Smith/Ryan era, I wouldn’t rest anyone next week. They need to stay sharp heading into the playoffs. If this was a veteran team that had a bunch of playoff wins then that would be different, but this team doesn’t have the playoff success to be resting guys. They need to stay sharp, stay hungry and stay focused.

  11. richiesaurus310 says: Dec 22, 2012 11:53 PM

    This means nothing if they cant win at least one playoff game.

  12. 8man says: Dec 22, 2012 11:53 PM

    We’ll see….

    As long as Eli Manning and Aaron Rogers have a shot, I’m not betting against them.

  13. daknight93 says: Dec 22, 2012 11:55 PM

    Failcants have been down this road before winning top spot in nfc, but when it comes down to the playoffs..these failcants won’t be playing the lions, but a real team that will punch them in the mouth.

  14. dzor22 says: Dec 22, 2012 11:56 PM

    Oh; it looks like a few people are worried about the Falcons. You should be.

  15. noeffinway says: Dec 22, 2012 11:56 PM

    The Lions played about as well as I expected. There secondary is very weak as we all have known all season. And the offensive threats are not there. But when you write that, “The Lions have major flaws on defense and special teams, and a lack of offensive playmakers other than Johnson”, it would be fair to follow it up with an explanation of why this is……..not as an excuse for a loss, but as a very real reason for the loss. Two position groups have been decimated with injures – receivers and db’s. They played about as well as they could with the talent they have left.

  16. steviaquinn says: Dec 23, 2012 12:00 AM

    Congrats John Abraham with another forced fumble…three more to be the greatest all time on your way to the HoF!!!

    Congrats Matt Ryan tieing the faclons season record for tds- 4td no ints much better than Stafords 440 meaningless yards!!!!!

    Congrats ATL for winning homefield!!!

    Congrats roddy white your 153 yards and 2 tds- much better than megatrons meaningless 225!!!

    And Florio, if you picked the falcons every week you would have wrapped up the picks championship 3 weeks ago!!!

  17. steviaquinn says: Dec 23, 2012 12:01 AM

    noring4youstill says: Dec 22, 2012 11:47 PM

    Is it a moral victory if Notlanta scores 3 pts this year?

    ___________________________

    At least atlanta can beat the rams…………………easily

  18. tdrundmc says: Dec 23, 2012 12:06 AM

    Yep it’s that time of the year when Atlanta lays an egg in the playoffs. The falcons have no running game and we all know melted ice will show up in the post season.

  19. steviaquinn says: Dec 23, 2012 12:19 AM

    Falosn undefeated at home, should be easy to get to the superbowl. Please let Mike Nolan face Peyton Manning in the bowl!!!

  20. andrewproughcfe says: Dec 23, 2012 12:19 AM

    It’s not right that a guy like Schwartz is taking no heat for an abomination of a season, whereas someone like Rex Ryan is being flogged publicly despite keeping an injury-ravished team in the playoff hunt until the 14th game of the season. Schwartz has the best offensive weapon in the game (Johnson), a brilliant young qb with an outstanding arm, and a terrorizing stud on defense (Suh). Ryan has lost his most productive players on offense and defense (Holmes and Revis) to injuries in addition to many other role players, and has had to cobble together wins with one of the worst performing starting qb’s in the league. And yet, Ryan has more wins at this point than Schwartz.

    The Lions play a terribly undisciplined brand of football in all 3 phases of the game – a real reflection on the coach.

  21. trbowman says: Dec 23, 2012 12:42 AM

    Luke McCown vs the Bucs!

    Week 17, folks.

  22. japmen says: Dec 23, 2012 12:48 AM

    Not much of a game as expected. No matter how it turns out, Atlanta was a top team this year and impressed. Lions, back to normal with terrible coaching staff. Schwartz wasnt outgunned but he’s definitely outmatched…every week.

  23. sixjak says: Dec 23, 2012 12:52 AM

    I guess I look forward to DET fans trolling the 9er threads muttering things about the handshake, fluke season, one and done etc etc yay.

  24. monkeyhateclean says: Dec 23, 2012 12:53 AM

    Won’t matter. ATL will once again be a one-and-done team. They are gutless.

  25. fishguy1812 says: Dec 23, 2012 1:12 AM

    Or, With the 28th pick of the 2013 draft, the Falcons have traded….

  26. wcoastsaintsfan says: Dec 23, 2012 1:18 AM

    They’ve still only played two teams with winning records all season. Lets see what they do against a good team. They be out after the first game.

  27. polegojim says: Dec 23, 2012 1:21 AM

    Pathetic offense… Pathetic… outside of Johnson and usually Stafford.

    Great job with all those fumbles and field goals boys.

    Defense can’t SPELL 3 and out.

    Offense can’t hold on to the ball.

    Let’s hope the Lions FUMBLE Schwartz and Linehan VERY quickly. Keep Gunther.

    Go LIONS!

  28. captainwisdom8888 says: Dec 23, 2012 1:42 AM

    My premonition:
    NFC Championship Game = Packers vs 49ers
    AFC Championship Game=Patriots vs Broncos

    Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers are 3 future hall-of-famers that would make it quite interesting. The 49ers have truckloads of talent and the best defense of the bunch.

    Ultimately, I believe this SB will have the 49ers squareing off with the Broncos…sounds crazy even to me. This is simply my gut feeling.

  29. derek1800 says: Dec 23, 2012 1:50 AM

    You also have the ability to triple team Megatron due to home being on a terrible team with no other options on offense. I promise rice was triple or double teamed on 98% of his snaps. Actually watching his highlights from that season I notice a lot of single coverage.

  30. ronaldjones says: Dec 23, 2012 1:57 AM

    Atlanta is a fraud team until they prove otherwise in the playoffs. A meaningless win against the lowly Lions doesn’t change that. They’ve had a number of close calls against bad teams this year (Carolina, Oakland, Arizona) and came really close to losing to Washington and Tampa Bay. This team could easily be 10-6 or 9-7. I have them as the 3rd or 4th best in the NFC right now (behind GB, SF, and maybe even NYG at their best).

  31. kattykathy says: Dec 23, 2012 2:03 AM

    The weakest road ever taken

  32. johnnyballsack says: Dec 23, 2012 2:09 AM

    Is Schwartz the worst coach in the NFL or just one of the most clueless? He almost single handedly lost that game with his choices at the goal line and his predictable formations. His team was obviously not prepared and it showed on the Safety kickoff / punt.

  33. 3yardsandacloud says: Dec 23, 2012 2:11 AM

    “lack of offensive playmakers”…

    They are without:

    Burleson, Young, Boyles and Best. They also didn’t have Pettigrew tonight.

    I agree Detroit got their butt kicked, but to say it’s because of the lack of playmakers on offense is misleading. It’s the lack of playmakers on the field due to injuries. Looking at this roster, there are certainly holes, but there is also a lot of talent, if they can keep them healthy and not acting like children.

    Maybe that is too big of an “if” for Schwartz

  34. bh83 says: Dec 23, 2012 2:15 AM

    Ha, who saw Stefan Logan take a knee after the post-safety punt? Even if it were a kickoff what was he thinking? He had 20 yards clear ahead of him and wasn’t in the endzone! You can’t put someone on the field like that.

  35. hutch119 says: Dec 23, 2012 3:52 AM

    Best player on the field? Really? He wasn’t he the best WR. . .

  36. hutch119 says: Dec 23, 2012 3:53 AM

    He wasn’t even the best WR*

  37. chipwade says: Dec 23, 2012 4:33 AM

    Detroit has the same issues on defense year after year. They never address their most glaring defensive needs. They always draft the best player available. That’s great that they drafted Reiff for depth on the line. Your CBs are terrible. Draft a corner and address that need. It doesn’t make sense.

  38. teambringitstrong says: Dec 23, 2012 4:48 AM

    Out of the playoffs by MLK day.

  39. hoopieguy says: Dec 23, 2012 5:14 AM

    You just KNOW it’s coming; Falcons are pretty much off for the next two weeks. Just long enough to cool off and lose the first playoff game

  40. denverdude7 says: Dec 23, 2012 7:08 AM

    Still a one and done playoff team.

  41. beckzhere says: Dec 23, 2012 7:13 AM

    Even with the Falcons recent playoff history, I guarantee that no team is thinking that beating this years Falcons team at home is going to any easy task.

  42. zack2482 says: Dec 23, 2012 7:57 AM

    Not a Falcons fan but don’t know how people think ATL is going out one and done in the playoffs. Over the last two weeks they have done their job. Smacked the crap out of the Giants and beat Det. Their offense can give fits to the top teams in the NFC. It will be interesting.

  43. FinFan68 says: Dec 23, 2012 8:25 AM

    I’m still trying to figure out why the returner took a knee on the 4 after the safety. There was nobody around. Did he think he was in the end zone? That sums up the Lions’ season – stupid undisciplined mistakes.

  44. hater79 says: Dec 23, 2012 8:27 AM

    Congrats to Atlanta for clinching home field thru out the playoffs. It is a very deserved honor for them.

    Now when they lose during their first home game like every year it will be all the more entertaining.

  45. censoredagain says: Dec 23, 2012 8:29 AM

    What a waste of HFA. They should be disqualified from getting it, since they are incapable of going anywhere with it.

  46. chc4 says: Dec 23, 2012 9:01 AM

    You mean the 49ers team that is 0-1-1 against the sorry Rams and got waxed by the same NYG team Atlanta just shut out? Harbaugh’s decision to go with Kaep will blow up in his face. Only NFC team with a good shot to beat the Falcons is GB.

  47. mannyicey says: Dec 23, 2012 9:21 AM

    As a Falcons fan,

    I simply LOVE the hatred! LOL!!!

    Wow! Imagine this: The Falcons winning the Super Bowl in the New Orleans Superdome!!! That’s going to be great! It’s going to be so much fun having the Falcons parade through the French Quarter during Mardi Gras!!!

  48. dzor22 says: Dec 23, 2012 9:26 AM

    hey ronaldjones- that fraud team also beat Denver and then San Diego when they were 3-0. They beat every team in the great NFC East and the AFC West. 13 out of the 15 scheduled. How did your team do?

  49. source7769 says: Dec 23, 2012 9:54 AM

    yea right the atl defense looked real stout against Detroit another 1 and done season for atl i feel bad for tony gonzalez

  50. hatesycophants says: Dec 23, 2012 10:04 AM

    Fair and accurate assessment, Michael.

  51. whatjusthapped says: Dec 23, 2012 10:06 AM

    If the Lions were smart (and there is no evidence of that), they would fire Schwartz and start over. The Lions have more talent than the record shows and that falls on the coaching staff.

  52. xx4zu1 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:11 AM

    For Calvin’s sake I hope he doesn’t wind up being the next Barry Sanders for Detroit. Arguably the best player ever at his position and never able to achieve success due to the Lion’s inability to put a competitive team around him.

  53. 49erclaven says: Dec 23, 2012 11:28 AM

    All year I have been paying attention to the Packers rebounding, the Saints mid season run that seems to be running out and the Giants staying alive. After watching the Falcons barely beating bad teams earlier in the year i was thinking typical one and done again. Last night’s team scared me. Ryan, White and Jones are clicking as much as any qb/wr crew right now. And if they meet up with the niners it’ll be on that fast track inside? Be a tough one.

  54. nickynick04 says: Dec 23, 2012 11:58 AM

    Remember when Aron rogers and the Green Bay Packers paid the Falcons a visit a few years back….

  55. eatitfanboy says: Dec 23, 2012 12:14 PM

    I cannot believe that Johnson is able to have the games he has when the Lions have absolutely no other viable options. Every time Stafford dropped back to pass, you knew where he was going with the ball and they couldn’t stop it.

    Amazing. Think of what he could do with a legitimate threat lined up on the other side of the formation.

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