The Atlanta Falcons are getting ready for their opening-round playoff game against the New York Giants on Sunday. Despite the Falcons holding a better regular-season record, the Giants will have home field advantage by benefit of capturing a division title. The Giants earned the playoff berth by knocking off the Dallas Cowboys at home in the final game of the regular season this past Sunday.
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin spoke to the press on Monday. One of the topics he touched on was that his team is ready for the playoffs since they've been in the mode of "win or go home" for the past few games now. Here is what he had to say when asked what he will tell the young Giants players about being in a playoff game. These comments come courtesy of Ed Valentine at Giants blog Big Blue View:
I think we have been in playoff games, we have been in playoff games for the last three weeks. We are battle tested in a lot of ways because we have played some really outstanding football teams all down through the second half of the season. What I told them was the straight up truth, this is the playoffs. There are 12 teams in the playoffs and 20 teams go home, it is a single-elimination tournament and if you win, you go on. If you lose, you go home. It is reality. I think a lot of the young guys have a feeling for that. I really felt that what was very good about our football team was the building throughout the week and the outstanding practices and then the peer pressure. Not only the pressure to perform but to play smart and do the smart thing and I thought that was prevalent everywhere on our team.
While it is true that the Giants have a good idea about the realities of being eliminated with a single loss, the Falcons may benefit from their far-from-stressful rout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 17.