The Atlanta Falcons are tied for the best record in the NFL at 11-1, and they clinched the NFC South title on Sunday. While Atlanta has been wildly successful so far this season, head coach Mike Smith is not satisfied with coasting into the playoffs. Via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"Ultimately, the number one thing for us is that we want to win as many football games as we can in the fourth quarter (of the season)," Smith said. "Then there will be sub-factors that we'll concern ourselves with. Most importantly, we want to make sure that we go out and we play every game to win. We need to win. We need to win them all. We need to go 4-0 in the fourth quarter."
In three of the last four seasons, the Falcons rode solid regular-season records into the postseason, including a 13-3 mark in 2010. But each year, Atlanta crashed out of the playoffs in its first game. It's clear that Smith wants his team firing on all cylinders when it opens postseason play this year.
The Falcons have been great on both sides of the ball this season. Atlanta ranks eighth in the NFL in scoring with 26.4 points per game, and its average of 19.1 points allowed per game is good for fifth in the league.
Next up for the Falcons is a road date with the Carolina Panthers. Atlanta and Carolina kick off from Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on FOX.