As it stands now, the Atlanta Falcons are in prime position to clinch home-field advantage in the playoffs. They have an 11-1 record with a two and a half game lead over the next team (the San Francisco 49ers with an 8-3-1 record).
If you were to ask if the Falcons absolutely needed to play at home in order to get that elusive playoff win, you would be met with a resounding “yes!”
But saying Atlanta absolutely needs to play in the Georgia Dome to win is ill-formed and lazy. Although the Falcons have a 6-0 record at home, they are 5-1 on the road.
Let’s compare the Falcons at home versus the Falcons on the road this season.
Yards Per Game:
Away – 408.5
Home – 346.1
Yards Allowed Per Game:
Away – 337.5
Home – 367.5
Points Scored Per Game:
Away – 28.6
Home – 24.2
Points Allowed Per Game:
Away – 19.2
Home – 19.0
The Falcons are only better at home in one category, and it’s only a difference of two tenths.
Since it’s a quarterback-driven league, let’s look at Matt Ryan’s performance at home versus his performance on the road.
Away – 169/236 (71.6 percent) for 1945 yards, 15 touchdowns, 4 interceptions (110.2 passer rating)
Home – 143/226 (63.3 percent) for 1645 yards, 7 touchdowns, 9 interceptions (78.9 passer rating)
Ryan is a completely different quarterback on the road this season.
People will still call the Falcons a “dome team” and say they can only win at home, but it’s because they clearly haven’t done any research, or they refuse to give the Falcons any credit.
And really, that’s nothing new.