Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints: Meet the Team ESPN Doesn't Know About

John SmithCorrespondent IIDecember 27, 2010

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 19:  Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons rushes against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on December 19, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Since ESPN and the media have simply not given the Atlanta Falcons their due, I have decided that instead of doing what they're doingjust a simple preview of the game featuring statsI will take a new approach.

I will factually state what the 2010 Atlanta Falcons have done in the first 15 weeks of the season, and do it in the form of a letter. Amazingly, it is something ESPN and the National Media just haven't taken notice of. They are 12-2; a record and team that speak for themselves.


Dear ESPN, the National Media, the Rest of the NFL, and their Fans

Let me present you with the 2010 Atlanta Falcons, a bird that has clearly flown under the radar. Instead of boring you with another 10 keys to a Falcons victory or a preview about the game here, I will provide you something that is unique and not something that will be found on ESPN or any other major sports site.

I want to introduce to you, sports world outside the city of Atlanta, to the Atlanta Falcons. Since ESPN has really failed to give the Falcons the respect they deserve, I find it necessary to inform you about the NFC-leading 12-2 Atlanta Falcons and the season they have had so far.

Led by third-year stars Matt Ryan and head coach Mike Smith, the Falcons have a combined 34 wins in their first three years in the league. Only the Colts (34) and the Patriots (35) have more regular season wins in this stretch.

Offensively, this team has the most consistent game plans in the NFL, which is a reason why they are the most consistent offense in the NFL this year. They aren’t the best offense, but simply the most consistent.

If there is one word to describe this Falcons offense, it’s methodical. They will methodically move down the field led by a steady attack of their rushing and passing offense.

Michael Turner is someone that will not ‘WOW’ you in regards to the plays he makes, but he will wear down the opponents' defense. Those 2-3 yard gains in the first half will become 8-10 yard gains in the second half; just wait and see.

The passing attack is led by 25 year old youngster Matt Ryan. He has a great offensive team and system that is built to let him strive. Tony Gonzalez, the best TE in the history of the NFL, and Roddy White, the best receiver in the NFL this year, lead the passing attack.

Another thing that stands out about this offense is their ability to never give up. Ryan has led the Falcons to six fourth quarter comebacks; four of these coming in the final minute or in overtime. Matt Bryant has kicked three game-winning field goals in the final seconds or in overtime.

The Falcons' offense will not shock you. They are not a sexy team, but they will dominant you. They won't do anything special. The opposing teams' defense knows what is coming, but they can't stop it.

On the defensive side of the ball, they aren't anything special. They have struggled at times this year, but when they needed to, they stepped up late in games to secure Falcons' victories.

The Falcons' defense has stepped up in two particular games this year. The first being their week four game against the San Francisco 49ers. Yes, I know they aren't a good team, but after falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter, the defense was able to shut the '9ers out in the final three quarters.

This resulted in giving Matty Ice a chance to lead the Falcons down the field and to one of Matt Bryant's game-winning field goals. The Falcons would win this game, 16-14.

Then, there is the week nine game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs had it fourth and one from the two yard line with a little more than two minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Falcons' defense manned up and helped secure a Falcons' 27-21 victory.

The special teams really isn't anything too special. They have had Matt Bryant and those game-winning kicks, but other than that, only one play stands out. Eric Weems returned a kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown to help energize the Falcons against the Bucs in week 13. His return made it a three point game with less than 10 minutes left. After forcing a three and out, Matt Ryan would lead the Falcons down the field to a game-winning touchdown drive. The Falcons would win 28-24.

The reason why you don't know about the Falcons is simple: They are not a sexy team. They will not "WOW" you. But they will do the only thing that matters, and that is win. They do it more consistently than any other NFC team.

ESPN and the media don't give them respect because there isn't anything that is interesting about the team. They don't have the T. Ochocinco Show; the Rex Ryan-like press conferences; a divide in the locker room; or a coach that will criticize his players. They have nothing that is TMZ-like about them.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy, Nation. You are about to see what this Falcons team is all about, and there is nothing ESPN can do about it. They will be stuck with airing an Atlanta Falcons game and have coverage on them for three consecutive hours.

I am not saying the Falcons are impossible to beat. They can be. The Eagles and Steelers have shown that they can be beaten. But remember, every other team in the NFL can lose as well. See week nine, Cleveland Browns 34 New England Patriots 14. The Falcons have just shown that this is something that is very difficult to do.

Even if the Falcons lose, they will only need a week 17 win against the Carolina Panthers at home to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They will have to do it against a team that has already locked up the number one pick in the NFL Draft.

The Falcons could lose Monday night, and if they do, ESPN and the rest of the media will say that they aren't a good team. They will discredit everything that they have accomplished this season.

Regardless of what they say, the Super Bowl will go through Atlanta. Losing next week just makes them human. I know for a fact that every other NFC team that will be in the playoffs has at least four or five losses.


An Atlanta Falcons Fan