NFC First-Round Playoff: Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons

It seems fitting that our birds, so charmed in 2008, will meet the NFC’s other enchanted avians, who, in the post-Michael Vick era, are led by a big, burly Cinderella Man named Matt Ryan (pictured). The rookie QB from Boston College was recently named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and his numbers are insane for a rook. Still, the numbers pale in comparison to the dude’s leadership qualities and poise. Ryan and first-year coach Mike Smith have the Falcons sitting pretty at 11-5. In fact, despite being a division winner hosting a wild-card team in a stadium where they’re 6-2, the Cards are a two-point underdog to Atlanta.
Sat., Jan. 3, 2:30 p.m., 2009


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