Rooting for the Home Team


Dec 30, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas (83) celebrates with wide receiver Roddy White (84) after a touchdown in the second half at the Georgia Dome. Tampa Bay won 22-17. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

“Let me Root, Root, Root for the Home Team, If they don’t win it’s a shame.”

I know it’s a baseball tune and yet that half of verse fits any sport.

But this weekend the Home team Birds don’t play because they’ve secured through a sixteen game
Schedule the top seed in the playoffs and a bye week.
So who do the Falcons and fans Root for ? Players and Coaches will play it safe and usually say it does not matter who comes to town, as long as Atlanta plays their “A” game. ( I also believe that, this year more than ever ). Beat writers and fans like to dissect this matter until it’s debated way too much for occupying time before next game. I simply would like to root this weekend for Minnesota. I know going to Lambeau field in January is as difficult as any place, and going against the NFC North division winner and the top rated quarterback in the NFL (Rogers – 4,295 yards and 39 touchdowns) does not make the Vikings a Las Vegas favorite, even with the points. But these teams know each other well, usually play a tough brawl game between these rivals and Minnesota has a very good weapon in their corner named Adrian Peterson, the top rated rusher in the NFL. ( 2,097 yards – and a six yard per carry average even when defenses have targeted him all year.) They have played each other twice in the month of December and split the two close games.
Minnesota was one road game worse than Green Bay or these teams would have been tied in the standings.
I don’t perceive a blow out by either team, but if there is a chance to eliminate Aaron Rogers from this years playoffs then I’m going with the Nordsmen for sure. A Green Bay victory will send them to the West coast to play the Forty Niners. A Minnesota victory will send the Vikings from Green Bay to Hot-Lanta, and you would think if they pull off this upset that Adrian would have had a monstrous game and been used and hit nearly every other offensive play. He is a workhorse of an athlete but the work he has exhibited in December and likewise if there is a Viking win in this game would be tough for a body to sustain excellence so late in a season. I’m thinking Mike Nolan can draw a defensive plan to stop the best rusher in the game rather than the best quarterback, a mobile yet accurate slinger who has come to town a couple of years ago and showed why he is the best. Brady and Manning have arguments – but not being so fleet footed makes them no where near as dangerous. I still have the visions and hear Smitty’s 2010 post game comment on how Atlanta had Rogers in the grasp more than a few times only to have him escape and then make the third down conversion. I’d use Voodoo to avoid Déjà vu. If Minnesota pulls out my wish, I don’t see them faring well coming into Atlanta after a tough road game and keeping up offensively with Matt and company at the Dome. (One of the Birds greatest playoff victories came against the Vikings some time ago, it would be fitting to get the Smith /Ryan playoff Jinx off the record against this same franchise at our nest for sure.)
The other NFC game this weekend is Seattle at Washington. Both these teams showcase rookie quarterbacks but both are mobile and more dangerous than Minnesota’s Ponder. I understand Atlanta will likely see one of these teams, both carry good and bad stats, and I believe Atlanta can keep their edge against either for the playoff victory we’ve waited three years for. Washington is led by RG3, the third rated quarterback in the league and by Alfred Morris who is second only to Adrian Peterson in rushing. The Falcons did a good job after a slow start of the match up in week five at Washington, dominated most of the stats and except for a Kerrigan interception return for a touchdown could have had an easier time of it. The Redskins defense has allowed 24.3 points per game but offset that with a fifth ranked offense thanks to the two young impressive offensive weapons just mentioned. Stats can be misleading and bloated at times, but one stat I find accurate for success in the NFL is third down conversions. Atlanta was poor in that stat in all three losses this year, but finished ranked seventh in the league in that category while Washington ranked twenty seventh on third down conversions, only last place teams were lower in the league in that stat.
If Seattle were playing at home, they would win this game. They are the best home team but must travel all over the country to make the Super Bowl. The defense gives up around fifteen points per game, a field goal better than the Falcons. They are a solid unit. The offense is led by quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch, who are both ranked in the top five in their respected category’s. On third down conversions they ranked fifteenth. They are within a point of Atlanta in points scored per game, but they may have great stats from the home games for they are 3 – 5 on the road. This game may well be decided by who stays on the field healthier. If Seattle manages the road win, then they would have traveled from Seattle to D.C, then back to Seattle and must go down to Atlanta for the next match, logging in around 7,500 miles in air travel which is a tough week for a not so great road team, who’ll be coming into a tough place for a visiting team – The Georgia Dome. I’m going to Root for the Vikings, while waiting our turn to fly.