(NEW YORK) — The Atlanta Falcons will look to finish 8-0 this season at home on Sunday when they host the sliding Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9). The Falcons will finish with the best record in the NFC, win or lose, but would like to head into the postseason on a high note.
Tampa, however, will miss the postseason for its fifth year in a row and the Falcons are looking to reverse their postseason problems.
“We’re going to play the game to win, and that’s how we’re going to approach it,” said Atlanta head coach Mike Smith. “It’s an important game because it’s a division game. We want to win every time we go out and play.”
Atlanta is 0-3 in the playoffs under Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan, but the teams focus right now is only on the Buccaneers.
“I think every week you want to start fast and that’s something we try and do,” said Ryan, who is one touchdown shy of setting the franchise touchdown record. “Every time we’ve played this team, it’s come down to the wire.”
As for their playoff struggles, the team believes that this is a battle-tested team at 13-2.
“You learn from your experiences,” said running back Michael Turner, who has ran for 782 yards and nine touchdowns this season. “I think this team is more mature than two years ago and we’ll be ready.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
John Newsome and Anne Woolsey, CNN