ATLANTA As statement games go, the Atlanta Falcons could not have made a more emphatic one on Sunday.
Coming off a humbling loss to an inferior opponent, the Falcons took advantage of two first-half interceptions to jump all over the New York Giants en route to shellacking the defending Super Bowl champions 34-0, delivering a hit to the Giants playoff chances in the process.
The Falcons who were humiliated in a 24-2 loss to the Giants last January in an NFC Wildcard game improved to 12-2. With Atlanta already having won the NFC South, a loss by San Francisco on Sunday night against New England could earn the Falcons a first-round bye. Home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs is just a win away in Atlanta's final two at Detroit and home against Tampa Bay.
Meanwhile, the Giants fell to 8-6 and were passed in the NFC East race by surging Washington, which defeated Cleveland for its fifth straight win, and Dallas, which beat Pittsburgh in overtime.
The Redskins are 3-1 ...