NFL Week 17: Birds To Big Apple After Giants Beat Cowboys

The Falcons flattened the Bucs and the Giants won the NFC East title, sending Atlanta to New York for their playoffs opener.

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2012 NFL Playoff Picture Finalized: Falcons Vs. Giants The Last Matchup Booked

Despite a late comeback effort, the Dallas Cowboys fell 31-14 to the New York Giants in the de facto NFC East championship game, meaning the Atlanta Falcons will head to the Meadowlands in next week's 2012 NFL playoffs opening round.

Dallas and New York are similar teams, with capable-if-flaky quarterbacks, many offensive weapons, and fierce pass rushers, but the rooting interest clincher for many Falcons fans was the fact that the Giants play outdoors up north and the Cowboys play beneath a roof. Numbers show Matt Ryan's better indoors, for one thing, but Atlanta's going to just have to pack some long sleeves.

According to Football Outsiders' numbers, the Giants are the NFL's 13th best team (Atlanta ranks No. 10). Their offense ranks No. 7, while their defense stands at No. 21. They rank fourth in passing yardage and last in rushing yardage, which does not play to Atlanta's defensive strengths at all. However, Michael Turner, Roddy White and Julio Jones should be able to damage a defense that ranks in the bottom 11 in yards allowed against both the run and pass.

Expect New York to be favored, though perhaps by only four or five points.

2012 NFL playoff TV times and channels, all p.m. ET:

NFC

Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints: Saturday at 8, NBC

Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants: Sunday at 1, Fox

AFC

Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans: Saturday at 4:30, NBC

Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos: Sunday at 4:30, CBS

Divisional Round:

Saturday, Jan 14

  • 4:30 p.m. - NO/NYG/ATL at San Francisco
  • 8 p.m. - DEN/PIT/CIN at New England

Sunday, Jan 15

  • 1 p.m. - HOU/DEN/PIT at Baltimore
  • 4:30 p.m. - NYG/ATL/DET at Green Bay

Head to SB Nation's NFL news section many NFL blogs for more. For more on this game, vist Falcons blog The Falcoholic and Giants blog Big Blue View, plus SB Nation New York.

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Falcons Vs. Buccaneers Final Score: Falcons Win 45-26, Lock Up No. 5 Seed In Playoffs

With multiple starters- including Matt Ryan- not coming into the game at all during the second half, the remainder of this football game was fairly quiet. Brian Van Gorder engaged his classic "prevent" zone defense against which the Bucs were able to put some points on the board, but nowhere close to what was needed to catch the Falcons.

While Chris Redman wasn't able to really put any points on the scoreboard, Atlanta was still able to hold on for the 45-26 victory. For the Falcons this win not only locks up the No. 5 seed in the playoffs, but also should help this team build some confidence going into the postseason.

Whereas last week's loss to the Saints was perhaps the worst this team has to offer, today gave witness to the Falcons at their very best. Matt Ryan broke the franchise record for passing yards in a season, Michael Turner broke the franchise's all-time TD record on his way to 172 yards rushing, and as a whole the defense played much, much better.

Now all that remains for Mike Smith and the Falcons is a bit of scoreboard-watching to determine whether they'll be facing the New York Giants or the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs.

Head to SBNation.com for more Week 17 NFL playoff scenarios as the field comes into focus. For more on this game, visit Falcons blog The Falcoholic and Buccaneers blog Bucs Nation.

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Falcons Vs. Buccaneers Update: Atlanta Off To Hot 21-0 Start In The Dome

Coming into this game, the Falcons were expected to win handily over a struggling Bucs football team, and so far that looks like it will hold true. With over three minutes left in just the first quarter, Atlanta already leads 21-0 in the Georgia Dome, and two more Ryan-to-Jones TD connections are in the books.

Michael Turner, who struggled back in week three against Tampa, already has 56 yards rushing on only eight carries, including a 26-yard run on his first touch of the game. The Falcons would embark on a 12-play, 80 yard drive, capped off by a one-yard TD run by Jacquizz Rodgers.

After the defense forced a three and out (Kroy Biermann would sack Josh Freeman on third down), the Falcons marched right back down the field for another score. This time, Matt Ryan would find Julio Jones on a drag route, and he'd run it in for a 17-yard touchdown catch:

Then Dominique Franks, filling in for an inactive Brent Grimes, would intercept a poor Freeman pass around midfield, giving the ball right back to a red-hot Falcons offense. What would follow is quite possibly the most impressive Falcons play of the year.

On the first play following the turnover, Ryan would heave the ball downfield and hit Jones again in double coverage. Having not been touched, Jones regained his feet and fought through multiple would-be tacklers for a 48-yard touchdown, his second of the day. Watch and be amazed:

The Falcons now lead 21-0 and are rolling in the Georgia Dome. With Packers now all but guaranteed of holding on to beat the Lions, that's a double win for the Dirty Birds.

Head to SBNation.com for more Week 17 NFL playoff scenarios as the field comes into focus. For more on this game, visit 49ers blog Niners Nation and Rams blog Turf Show Times, plus SB Nation Bay Area and SB Nation St. Louis.

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Buccaneers Vs. Falcons: Game Time, TV Schedule, Radio Streaming And More

Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stand between the Atlanta Falcons and the 2011 NFL playoffs.

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