They knocked us out of the 2008 playoffs, then they stole our jerseys after stealing our avian theme and seven-lettered location name that begins and ends with A's (GO WITH IT). The Falcoholic has revenge on its mind, and SB Nation's Cardinals blog has revenge in its title. What do tournament-eliminated and swagger-jacked Falcons do?
Comparing resumes: The Cards outlasted Sam Bradford's 55-pass barrage, with Larry Fitzgerald grabbing a 21-yard score late in the fourth to put away the Rams, 17-14. (Larry Fitzgerald touchdown -- I think we know what that looks like.) Meanwhile the Birds (Dirty, not Dry) rugbied with the Steelers for four quarters before letting slip a single big play that decided the game in overtime, 15-9, which sounds more like a police radio code than a football score.
Series history: Cards lead 15-10.
Last meeting: Matt Ryan always snaps on one, a Dan Patrick punchline for a week. Darnell Dockett big man with ball. Fitzgerald flea-flicker. Glove-handed Kurt Warner death from above. Michael Turner is human? Keith Brooking's last goofup as a Falcon. "They're like the Saints, minus a running game. We'll crush the Cardinals." The entire American Southwest and parts of Mexico jumping the snap, every single snap, all day long. All of this is from memory.
Cardinals to watch: Besides Fitzgerald, the guy I've now mentioned three times because I'm totally not worried about him at all, we have surprise insta-starter Derek Anderson, one-time Browns Pro Bowler. Their defensive line is still a wrecking ball, but safety may be their strongest starting set, with Adrian Wilson and new guy Kerry Rhodes looking to top fellow safety Troy Polamalu's week-one treatment of Ryan.
Fun fact: Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt played tight end for the Falcons from '85 to '88, and was one of Georgia Tech's best tight ends ever.
Also monitoring: We're wearing our throwback jerseys this week. Will the Cardinals decide to replace their own throwbacks with ours?
How we feel about all this: Though the Cardinals play in the ACC Atlantic, they're still back-to-back conference champs who have won four playoff games in two years. They lost a lot of big names this offseason (including Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, Antrel Rolle, and Karlos Dansby), but any Falcons fans who assume that makes this game easier ... well, one way or another we've all accidentally seen Dockett's Twitter shower photos. Ryan will be running from that guy at several points Sunday. Still feeling confident?
Vegas says: Falcons -7. I don't always bet against my own team, but when I do, I prefer to bet that they win without covering.