NEW YORK (AP) Comments on the Atlanta Falcons by the AP Pro32 panel (ranking in parentheses):
ATLANTA FALCONS (4)
Chris Berman (ESPN, 5) - An allowable mulligan, we think. Nobody needs a playoff win worse than Falcons.
Clifton Brown (Sporting News, 6) - In one week, it will be put-up or shut up time for Falcons in playoffs.
Cris Collinsworth (NBC Sports, 3)
Rich Gannon (CBS Sports/SiriusXM NFL Radio, 5) - Well, we've been waiting all season for this ... can they win in the playoffs.
Bob Glauber (Newsday, 2) - And now we find out the only thing left to know about these Falcons: Are they finally ready to make a meaningful playoff run after an 0-3 record in the Mike Smith-Matt Ryan era?
Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News, 2) - For the second time in the last three seasons the Falcons are the NFC's top seed. But Atlanta hasn't won a playoff game since the 2004 season.
Clark Judge (CBSSports.com, 3) - Now we find out about these guys. They haven't won a playoff game with Matt Ryan, and these playoffs will be his - and coach Mike Ryan's - defining moment.
Ira Kaufman (Tampa Tribune, 5) - Few franchises have entered the postseason with more to prove.
Pat Kirwan (SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com, 5) - It was a surprise to see the Falcons play their regulars in a meaningless Week 16 game and lose to the Bucs. There is a lot of pressure on the Falcons that have not won a playoff game under Matt Ryan.
John Lynch (Fox Sports, 4) - The Falcons did not look sharp in their season-ending loss to the Bucs and two of their better defensive players were injured. Nonetheless, I like this team to end its previous playoff woes and do some damage this time around.
Alex Marvez (Foxsports.com, 2) - As long as defensive end John Abraham (ankle) and cornerback Dunta Robinson (concussion) are OK for the second round of the playoffs, playing starters throughout a loss to Tampa Bay didn't backfire on Falcons coach Mike Smith.
Dan Pompei (Chicago Tribune, 7) - Bad way to head into the playoffs: they lost their last game and possibly lost their top cornerback and top pass rusher.