Dome-Field Advantage Could Send Falcons To Super Bowl

The Falcons were frustrated about what could have been in their Monday night loss to New Orleans that allowed their NFC South rivals to qualify for the playoffs. Like most good teams, though, the Falcons won't dwell on their first home loss of the season.

""We come out next week and take care of business, we still have home-field advantage and a first-round bye, all that good stuff,"" Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez said. ""We're going to turn this into a positive.""

""We will make the corrections and prepare for Carolina,"" defensive end Chauncey Davis said. ""We did some good things out there, which we plan to take into Sunday.""

Davis provided the Falcons' most memorable highlight against the Saints — a 26-yard return for a touchdown off a Drew Brees interception. The Falcons' defense did a lot of good things Monday night, although the usually reliable offense produced only seven points.

In their previous six home games, all victories, the Falcons averaged 28.2 points per game. In sweeping their three-game stretch on the road before Week 16, they totaled 93 points. Considering there were some unusual mistakes—such as Michael Turner fumbling near the goal line, his first fumble in 417 touches — what happened Monday should be deemed as a minor hiccup.

It took a gritty effort and a late rally for the Saints to come away with a Georgia Dome upset. In the playoffs, when the intensity is raised, the emotions are higher and the crowd is even louder, the Falcons will remain a strong favorite to reach Super Bowl 45 — if as expected, they lock up the top seed in Week 17. "