Notes from cocktail napkins...(Falcons-Seahawks)

Notes from cocktail napkins...(Falcons-Seahawks)

We've been waiting for this game since August when the Falcons began pre-season camp, check that, we've been waiting for it since the Falcons put 2 points up against the Giants last January. Actually we've been waiting for this game since Keith Brooking forgot to cover a tight end named Spock in Arizona back in January of 2009, let alone those painful few seconds before the half against Green Bay 2 years ago...Even amongst the players and coaches there's been the feeling that it's not "if we make the playoffs" but "when we make the playoffs" this year so this team can makes things right, get the monkey off it's back and shake off Atlanta-itis.

"Atlanta-itis", or "Coming close but no cigar-itis" is an affliction that hits all the local teams seemingly every post season. Whether it's the Braves, Hawks, Georgia Bulldogs, Tech or the Falcons it has to stop Sunday. No team from Atlanta will ever get the respect it thinks it deserves until it earns it. And once again the stage is set for what the rest of the country perceives as another el foldo by the Falcons.

No respect from Vegas that's for sure. The #1 seed 13-3 Falcons are only a 2 1/2 point favorite against a team with a rookie qb that has to fly cross country for the second time in as many weeks...

Its a 1pm start on Sunday at The Dome and much of the nation's focus and FOX's number one broadcast team of Buck & Aikman will be in San Francisco for Saturday night's Packers-49ers game...

Woke up this morning to hear every talking head on ESPN proclaiming the Seahawks are the team right now...

Once again anyone who is not a Falcons fan views Atlanta as nothing more than a red white and black speed bump in the NFC Divisional Playoffs

Just took a survey of Atlanta's media elite here at Flowery Branch, and those who didn't have a mouthful of complimentary Papa John's Pizza or fudge cookies all feel the Falcons will get it done Sunday. The prevailing opinion is that Mike Nolan will come up with some new looks and schemes that will confuse and confound Russell Wilson.

Seattle is the hot team right now with arguably the best defense and most dangerous young QB in the game. They came back from 14-0 vs the Skins with 24 unanswered points. The destroyed the 49ers at home a few weeks ago. Hey its the playoffs, it's not supposed to be easy.

How about looking at it from Seattle's point of view. You have to come back to the East Coast for a 1pm start, You have to find a way to stop Matt Ryan and all his playmakers: Roddy, White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, Harry Douglas, Michael Turner and Quizz Rodgers. And our defense has done a great job taking the ball away too.

Mike Nolan has done an amazing job this year, when you consider he's had no consistent pass rush and a rash of injuries in the secondary to work around. His multiple looks and schemes have confused quarterbacks with a lot more experience than Russell Wilson, (see Peyton & Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, Drew Brees). I have faith the defense will step up again. You have to assume that Marshawn Lynch is gonna get his yards rushing. The Falcons need to avoid the alligator arms while tackling and avoid what Smitty calls the explosive plays.

We all know that all the pressure is clearly on the Falcons and Mike Smith. There's also the matter of a new stadium for the owner. Getting to the conference championship if not The Super Bowl, will go along way to getting folks in this city on board with this team and getting the stadium built with minimal static.

At some point the worm has to turn for the Falcons and this city...doesn't it?