Falcons Plan to ‘Play to Win’

Falcons Plan to ‘Play to Win’

Jay Adams

Published December 23, 2012 at 3:01 PM

The biggest question after the Falcons earned the NFC’s No. 1 seed and homefield advantage throughout the postseason with a 31-18 win over Detroit on Saturday didn’t have anything to do with how they would react in their third straight trip to the playoffs.

Instead, it revolved around what is now a largely meaningless game in the grand scheme of things against Tampa Bay: Will head coach Mike Smith play his starters against the Buccaneers?

Smith said during his press conference Sunday that the game is, in fact, important, as all division games are, and that the Falcons will prepare this week like they have for any other game.

“We’re going to play the game to win,” Smith said. “That’s how we’re going to approach it. It’s an important game because it’s a division game. All games, I think, are important. In terms of the importance of it, does it have no bearing? It really does, because we want to win every time we go out and play.”

Because of the No. 1 seed, the Falcons will have a first-round bye in the postseason, giving them an extra week to rest. Smith now has to tussle with whether two weeks off for his starters is more of a risk than playing them against Tampa Bay.

The Falcons are taking another brief rest this week as players have been given Sunday, Monday and Tuesday off. They’ll report back to Flowery Branch on Wednesday to begin preparations for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against Tampa in the Georgia Dome.

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