Falcons coach Mike Smith has learned that little credit is given for regular-season success when it is followed by postseason flops.
Smith is hoping the Falcons' impressive 34-0 shutout of the New York Giants on Sunday generates momentum to end the streak of disappointments in the playoffs.
The Falcons (12-2) need one win to secure home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs.
Atlanta has five straight winning seasons but is 0-3 in the playoffs under Smith.
The Falcons have had better regular-season records than the Super Bowl winner in two straight seasons. That meant little as they lost to the eventual champion each year in the playoffs.
Smith says "it's all about December and January."
Atlanta plays Saturday at Detroit before closing its regular season at home against Tampa Bay.
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