Sep 7, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons fans celebrate the game tying kick in their game against the New Orleans Saints at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons won 37-34 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Make the Georgia Dome a fortress
When you look at each 2014 division winner, what is a common trait among the majority of them? Getting the job done at home.
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Denver and Green Bay went 8-0 at home; Seattle and New England were 7-1, with the Patriots’ only loss coming in a dead rubber in Week 17; Pittsburgh and Indianapolis went 6-2.
The two anomalies?
Dallas and Carolina. The Cowboys went 4-4 at home, but made up for it with a perfect 8-0 road record. The Panthers barely made it out of the division with a 7-8-1 record and needed to rely on their rivals’ poor form.
Winning on the road in any sport is tough, but particularly in the NFL because communication can be almost impossible in the most hostile environments.
Jan 18, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; A general view of the stadium as the Seattle Seahawks take the field to face the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Georgia Dome can be as intimidating for opposing teams as any NFL venue, but they need a reason to get loud. Atlanta needs to step up and take care of their home games. Better play will generate more noise from the fans, and therefore put more pressure on the road team.
Looking at the Falcons’ schedule, there is no reason why they can’t post a strong record at home. Outside of the division, the biggest challenges will be the Colts and Eagles.
Games against Houston, Minnesota and Washington are all winnable. Add in three division wins and the home win tally is up to six.
Once you dominate your home field, it makes the mental challenge that much harder for visitors. Seattle, Green Bay and Denver are examples of this; the prospect of playing them on the road becomes that much more daunting.
The Georgia Dome needs to be a fortress in 2015.
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