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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.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.