Could it be fate that helped the Atlanta Falcons reach Super Bowl 51 in their 51st season, or could it just be that this is one of the best offenses in recent memory? The Falcons were not really on anyone’s radar at the start of the season, as it was assumed that the Carolina Panthers would once again waltz away with the NFC South. The Falcons lost the opening game of the season, and all the predictions of a mediocre season appeared as though they might be quite accurate. What happened after that is now known to everyone who follows the game, but it’s certainly worth recapping just in case some of you haven’t been paying attention. Before you wager on NFL playoffs, click here to cash in on the updated Super Bowl 51 promos.
How Did The Atlanta Falcons Get To NFL Super Bowl 51
After a Week 1 loss to the Buccaneers, Atlanta went on a 4-game winning run, but that was followed up with back to back losses to the Seahawks and the Chargers. The NFC South was not really shaping up as expected, to the point where it looked like no-one really wanted to win it. The Falcons were looking good offensively, but there were still a lot of questions being asked on the defensive side of the ball. Atlanta went 3-2 in their next 5 games, taking their regular season record to 7-5. They were atop the division, but were starting to feel pressure from a suddenly hot Buccaneers team. They seemed to thrive under that pressure, winning out their final 4 games, and finally playing well on both sides of the football. Their 11-5 record was good enough to win the division and get them into the top in the conference, thus avoiding a Wild Card game.
The fact that the Falcons weren’t really considered a contender at the start of the season seemed to spill over into the playoffs. There were a lot of people who though that the high-powered Falcons offense would have a hard time getting past the Seattle Seahawks D in the Divisional Round, especially since they had lost to them earlier in the season. The problem here, though was that the Seahawks were heading into Atlanta very battered, bruised, and missing some of their best players. The Seahawks struck first, going up 7-0 on their opening drive, but it was all downhill after that. Matt Ryan took over, throwing for 338 yards on the road to a 36-20 win for the Falcons.
Green Bay Packers were the next team up for the Falcons, and they arrived in Atlanta on a real roll, after reeling off 8 straight wins. They looked like a team of destiny, and also an offensive team that might be able to handle a shootout with the Falcons. Jordy nelson played for the Packers with broken ribs, and was not really a factor, which was a major blow for the visitors. It probably wouldn’t have mattered if he was healthy, as the Packers D was simply unable to stop Ryan repeatedly hitting Julio Jones en route to a convincing 44-21 win.