Perhaps no team faced a greater burden going into this postseason than the Falcons (13-3), the NFC’s top-seeded squad for the second time in three years. They’ve yet to win a playoff game under the current trio of quarterback Matt Ryan, coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff — one-and-done in all three appearances going back to the 2008 season, the last two not even close.
Not surprisingly, the players keep insisting the previous years don’t matter; they’re only looking forward to Sunday’s divisional game with the streaking Seattle Seahawks (12-5).
But the senior member of the team, center Todd McClure, concedes there will probably be some additional pressure when the Falcons take the field at the Georgia Dome.
That makes a quick start crucial to Atlanta’s hopes.
“We’ve been disappointed a few times,” said McClure, who’s been with the Falcons for 13 years. “I think we’ve got guys in this locker room who are hungry and ready to get over that hump.”
The Falcons have gone 56-24 in the regular season since Dimitroff and Smith took over in 2008 and drafted Ryan with the No. 3 overall pick — more wins than any team during that span except New England (60-20). But the significance of five straight winning seasons, two division titles and, now, a fourth trip to the playoffs has been undermined by the lack of success in January.