If you’re an NBA fan, you grew up with announcer Marv Albert saying these words during crunch time, “And it all comes down to this.” That catch phrase rings true knowing the Atlanta Falcons realize their 2017 season comes down to beating the Carolina Panthers this Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Their scenarios are simple: If the Falcons win, they make the playoffs. If not, they’re likely missing the playoffs and cleaning out their lockers January 1.

The NBA analogy also echoed throughout the facility at Flowery Branch. Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn talked about a last second play the Phoenix Suns drew up, emphasizing the acute attention to detail needed to flawlessly execute while in an extremely tight situation.

‘We went so far to show even an example from an NBA game with the Suns and the Grizzlies where they executed a play with 0.6 seconds left, and they called it ‘Rim’,” Quinn explained Thursday. “You can imagine how hard it would be to inbound a play with less than a second. Well one, they had never done it in a game before. Throw it to it where there’s no goaltending on an inbound pass, tipped it in, and it was just an example of, for us, some of the ones that we work on here at practice. They don’t come up, but when that moment does, ‘Alright, we’ve been through this scenario before.’ So I thought that was a good topic I wanted to share with you guys regarding trusting our training. Division game, there are going to be all sorts of matchups. These two offenses, defenses are closely paired in a lot of ways, so you just have a sense it’ll come right down to those situations and who executes better in that spot.”

From that perspective, the Falcons are extremely fortunate to be where they are right now. Win-and-you’re-in. It’s the only thing that matters to the Dirty Birds right now.

Meanwhile, tight end Levine Toilolo has been ruled out of Sunday’s game with a knee injury. Center Alex Mack has been labeled as questionable with a calf. The Panthers’ Kurt Coleman (ankle), CB Ladarius Gunter (illness), G Trai Turner (concussion) are questionable for Sunday’s game.


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