For most of the 2010-11 NFL season, the Atlanta Falcons haven’t been getting much respect. After a home loss on Monday Night Football – only their second loss in the last 21 games at the Georgia Dome that quarterback Matt Ryan has started – the Falcons are again feeling slighted.
The Super Bowl spread has changed and while the Falcons still have the best record in the NFC, fewer experts are expecting them to make it there and even fewer are expecting them to win.
The New Orleans Saints went into the Georgia Dome on Monday night and upended the Falcons, who had previously not lost at home this season. More importantly, it kept the Falcons from securing home field advantage in the playoffs and it made a bigger statement: the Falcons are not invincible at home.
The Saints are still the reigning, defending Super Bowl Champions and while many thought that the Falcons would be the team to knock them off of the pedestal, the Saints showed they aren’t done yet.
The bigger reason for the change in the Super Bowl spread is that the Falcons, with their loss, did not lock up home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The Falcons have now opened up the door for the Chicago Bears or the Philadelphia Eagles to potentially swoop in and steal it, although the Falcons would have to lose in Week 17 to the Carolina Panthers.
The bottom line is that the Falcons are still a force to be reckoned with, they also showed that they still have some weaknesses. Losing at home to New Orleans is nothing to blush about but if the Falcons want to be considered as a preeminent Super Bowl contender, they have to win games like this.