In the 2010 season, the Falcons were 13-3, the #1 seed in the NFC Playoffs, and obviously had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. During the bye-week before the division round of the playoffs, the Falcons gave their war-weary players the entire week off, a rare treat for the players.
History tells us that didn’t work out so well, as the Falcons got blown out by the visiting Green Bay Packers in the division round, 48-21.
This time around, the 2012 Atlanta Falcons are 13-3. They’re the #1 seed in the NFC Playoffs. They have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. During this, the bye-week, the Falcons will not give their team time off. They will hold 4 practices during this week.
I think Mike Smith realized that teams abhor extensive time off. As much as having time off and letting the body heal is nice and feels good, it doesn’t allow a team to stay in a routine. For the previous 5 months, these players have rarely had more than a couple days of rest. It keeps them sharp, both mentally and physically, and is great for maintaining momentum, and if not momentum then certainly team continuity.
In the interest of not losing that competitive edge, the Falcons will/have practiced 4 times this week. Hopefully they will have plenty of time to prepare and get ready for their next opponent, and this practice will help them be ready when the big game comes.