(NEW YORK) — With two games to go in the regular season, the Atlanta Falcons still have a lot to play for.
The Falcons (12-2) can clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs Saturday night by going into Ford Field and defeating the Detroit Lions (4-10), a reeling team that has lost seven-straight games.
Atlanta has had strong finishes the past two seasons, going 13-3 in 2010 and 10-6 last year but lost in the first round of the playoffs each time.
“I think it’s important that you’re playing efficiently and effectively in December and January, and I think that’s what every team is striving for,” said Falcons coach Mike Smith who is 0-3 in the playoffs.
Quarterback Matt Ryan is enjoying a fine season, breaking his own team records of 369 completions and 4,202 passing yards through 14 games.
The Falcons are coming off a 34-0 drubbing of the World Champion New York Giants, a team who defeated them in the playoffs last year while the Lions were trounced 38-10 by the lowly Arizona Cardinals.
Meanwhile, the Lions are looking to break an NFL record. Star wide receiver Calvin Johnson needs 182 yards to break Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving record of 1,848 yards.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Lois M. Collins, Deseret News