Can the Falcons wash away my sports fan blues?

Published 3:33 pm Friday, January 12, 2018

In the span of one year, I have watched my two favorite football teams blow large leads in the biggest games, on the biggest stages.

The Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl. The Georgia Bulldogs in the National Championship.

What’s a fan to do?

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Keep cheering, I guess. The heartbreak only cripples you if you let it. I’m choosing to pick my spirit up by the bootstraps and get back to work. Nothing will change the outcome of those games now, so I’m looking ahead.

Fortunately, I don’t have to look far. The Falcons play in the NFC divisional game against Philadelphia this Saturday. I’ve watched games on and off this season. I’ve been nervous about getting too invested in this team after how everything came crashing down last February.

Welp, I can’t help it now. They looked great for most of the game against the Rams. This defense is coming alive at the perfect time. The offense still is shaky, and I think a lot of that has to do with offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. He’ll call a string of great plays and then ruin everything with one bad call, usually going directly against a player’s strength.

The Eagles have a stout defense (I should know, they won me a few Fantasy Football games this season) and excellent personnel on offense. With one exception, their X-factor: Carson Wentz.

Wentz has been injured since December with a season-ending tear, and quarterback Nick Foles stepped up to take his place. Does Foles have what it takes to go on a playoff run? Not like Wentz did. The Eagles won’t have the same level of confidence they had with Wentz, especially in the high pressure environment of an NFC divisional game. The Atlanta defense will come through strong.

If Atlanta can finish strong and go to the conference championship, I like their odds of making the Super Bowl again. Atlanta is a momentum team, and if last year is any indication, once they start going, it’s tough to stop them granted, that was last year, and also granted, they lost in the worst way possible against the Patriots in the Super Bowl. But this team is made up of most of the same players and staff. It might be a stretch, but I have confidence in what they can do.

Hopefully, the Titans pull a miracle win off against New England and knock them out of the playoffs. That’s even more of a stretch, but it sure would be nice to not have to worry about Atlanta playing them again in the Big One.