Found January 08, 2013 on
Updates. With AP Photos. By CHARLES ODUM AP Sports Writer The Atlanta Falcons have more than home-field advantage to help them against Seattle in the playoffs.
The Falcons also have history on their side.
The Seahawks won their wild-card game at Washington and will have to make another cross-country trip for Sunday's game at Atlanta.
According to STATS LLC, the 1989 Los Angeles Rams are the only West Coast team to win back-to-back postseason games on the East Coast - at Philadelphia and the New York Giants. STATS' research included teams from Seattle, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Arizona.
Falcons offensive tackle Tyson Clabo downplayed the Seahawks' repeat trip across the nation.
''It's not like they're going to be going to the moon or anything,'' Clabo said Monday. ''They have a schedule they follow when they travel and I'm sure they're going to keep it the same.''
The Falcons claimed the top seed in the NFC with a 13-3 record. They also held the top seed two years ago before losing at home to eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay. They lost last year's playoff opener at the Giants to fall to 0-3 in the postseason under coach Mike Smith.
Smith said he adjusted last week's practice schedule based on lessons learned in the bye week two years ago. Players had more time off before the loss to the Packers.
''We did it a little bit different this time,'' Smith said. ''We worked a little bit longer. I think one of the things we had to do was to get some work done between playing games. We needed to work on some things fundamentally that we didn't do well at the end of the season.''
Fundamentals were emphasized in four practices Wednesday through Saturday. The team was off Sunday and met Monday morning for its first briefing on the Seahawks.
''I think if you do it the same and you didn't get the results you want, that's probably not the right way to approach it,'' Smith said. ''We approached it differently this time.''
Clabo said there were no complaints from the players.
''We needed to work on some things,'' Clabo said. ''We're not perfect. As a player and as a team you're always striving to find things you can improve. We did a little self-scout and said `Let's do this.'
''It was good but it was quick. Coach Smith wanted it to be quick so it didn't run us into the ground or anything like that. I think everyone was on board with doing whatever it took to win this game.''
Smith said he hopes the bye week gives three defensive starters a chance to play against Seattle: defensive end John Abraham (left ankle), cornerback Dunta Robinson (concussion) and safety William Moore (hamstring).
Abraham and Robinson were hurt in a 22-17 loss to Tampa Bay to close the regular season. Moore missed the last four games but returned to practice last week.
Smith, who doesn't provide a full injury report before Wednesday, said Abraham will participate in Wednesday's first practice of the week.
''We will have almost a full boat,'' Smith said. ''We won't have everybody there.
''The workload for some of these guys was limited last week and this week we'll limit some early in the week and hopefully we'll have everybody ready to go by the end of the week.''
Smith said the three postseason losses in his first four seasons left this Falcons team better prepared for success.
''We're a much more mature team because of our experiences,'' he said. ''I think you learn from your previous experiences in the playoffs. This is a team that has been very focused from the very beginning of the season and we've got a lot of guys who have experienced the playoff atmosphere. They're going to be able to help some of the younger guys who haven't.''
The playoff losses have raised the pressure on Smith and the Falcons to end the drought, even if the coach insists his approach will not change.
''To me it's no different than any other game,'' Smith said. ''It's 100 percent on our football team to go out and play our best, whether it's a preseason game or regular-season game or whether it's the postseason.
''I think every team that's in this tournament respects every other team. I don't think there's anybody not respecting other teams. This is a very good football team. We feel like we accomplished what we needed to accomplish to get here and we are looking forward to playing against Seattle this weekend.''
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Given the Falcons' recent playoff history, right tackle Tyson Clabo and his mates will stare across the line at the hottest team in the league. ... again. Seattle, winners of six straight, advanced to face the Falcons, who are hoping to end a four-game playoff losing streak that dates back to the short-lived Jim Mora era. Last season, the Falcons faced the streaking New York...
According to Albert Breer of NFL.com, Atlanta Falcons director of player personnel David Caldwell is close to signing with the Jaguars.Falcons director of player personnel David Caldwell has a third interview scheduled with the Jaguars for today.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 7, 2013A great deal for HC Mike Mularky’s future, it is vital for the Jaguars to seek and sign...
The Atlanta Falcons know what it takes to win in the regular season.
When it comes to the playoffs, that's another matter.
Perhaps no team faced a greater burden going into this postseason than the Falcons, the NFC's top-seeded team for the second time in three years. They've yet to win a playoff game under the trio of quarterback Matt Ryan, coach Mike Smith and general...
The Seahawks bandwagon is overflowing and the questions about the Falcons ability to win in the post season keep coming.
The Wildcard round provided us with one really good game and three pretty poor ones.
Here's a first look at the Divisional Round
Baltimore vs Denver - The Ravens were able to beat a young Colts team but it was not an impressive victory. Yes Flacco...
(Eds: APNewsNow. With AP Photos.) By GEORGE HENRY Associated Press Last year's playoff disappointment hit so hard that Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith needed to change his staff from the top.
It seems Smith made the right decisions when he hired Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator and Dirk Koetter to run his offense.
Atlanta earned the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed for the...
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Falcons head coach Mike Smith said that defensive end John Abraham, the team's leader in sacks, will practice on Wednesday for the first time since injuring his ankle in the regular-season finale.
Abraham's 10 sacks were easily the most among Falcons players this season, with Vance Walker (three sacks) ranking second. Abraham, who got hurt against...
Note: I normally don’t do picks this early, but Chris Clemons is expected to be out with a torn ACL. Once news of that is confirmed, this line will go up from -2.5. I like the Falcons either way, but I like them a lot more at -2.5 than -4.5, so I’m going to get this one locked in before the line moves. And if Clemons doesn’t have a torn ACL, well I was going to make this pick...
It was almost destined to happen. On Sunday afternoon, the sixth best passing offense will face the sixth best passing defense. Two should-be Pro Bowlers face up against two should-be Pro Bowlers. The battle to appear in the NFC Championship Game could come down to two matchups — Seattle cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner against Atlanta wide receivers Roddy White...
The Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons will meet on Sunday in the second round of the NFC playoffs. FOX will carry the game between the Seahawks and Falcons with coverage beginning at 1 pm EST from the Georgia Dome.
Seattle fell behind early last week against Washington but then flipped a switch and dominated the games final three quarters. Atalanta marched to the NFC’s best...
Even with the surging Seattle Seahawks standing in the way, the Atlanta Falcons are confident they can end their recent playoff struggles.
The top-seeded Falcons look to avoid a fifth consecutive playoff defeat while the Seahawks try to continue their postseason run with a seventh straight victory in Sunday's NFC divisional contest at the Georgia Dome.
Atlanta (13-3) is 56...
In the 2010 playoffs, the Atlanta Falcons got beat by a dominant offensive team in the Green Bay Packers. In 2011, the Giants defense dominated the Falcons offense. This year the Falcons will not be matched up with a team that is as dominant on one side of the football as the Giants and Packers were in past years.
On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks weathered an early storm...