Given the Falcons' recent playoff history, right tackle Tyson Clabo and his mates will stare across the line at the hottest team in the league. ... again.
Seattle, winners of six straight, advanced to face the Falcons, who are hoping to end a four-game playoff losing streak that dates back to the short-lived Jim Mora era.
Last season, the Falcons faced the streaking New York Giants. After the 2010 season, they faced the Green Bay Packers. Back in 2008, the Arizona Cardinals rallied late in the season on their way to the Super Bowl.
"It just kind of works out that way," Clabo said. "But winning streaks don't have anything to do with what is going to happen out there on Sunday. It's all about how we perform on that day. How they perform on that day. The past isn't anything to concern yourself with."
In addition to the three playoff defeats under Mike Smith, the Falcons lost the NFC Championship Game to Philadelphia 27-10 on Jan. 23, 2005. The franchise's last playoff victory was a 47-17 rout of the St. Louis Rams at the Georgia Dome on Jan. 15, 2005.
The pressure is on the Falcons to strike a playoff breakthrough.
"Our mindset is that we want to win," Clabo said. "We need to remain focused. We need to convert on third downs and we need to protect the football. Offensively, I think that if we do those things we'll like the outcome."
Clabo said there wasn't any griping about the players staying around last week for four practices. In 2010, Smith felt the team needed rest and didn't practice as much.
Upon their return, there was an ice storm that threw off the practice regimen and they went scrambling into their showdown with Aaron Rodgers in the Packers.
The extra work was welcomed.
"We needed to work on some things," Clabo said. "We're not perfect. As a player and as a team you are always striving to find things that you can improve on. We did a little self-scout. We even took some unusual looks from each potential opponent and went over those, watched some film. It was good. It was quick. I think everybody is on board with doing whatever it takes to win this football game."