- Associated Press - Friday, December 7, 2012

ATLANTA (AP) - Al Davis would’ve loved these Atlanta Falcons.

All they do is win, baby.

Sure, it’s rarely with a lot of flare.

Who cares?

There’s no voters to impress or computers to win over in the NFL.

“Style points don’t get you a ring,” linebacker Mike Peterson was saying the other day, holding court beside his locker before practice. “Our goal is way bigger than pleasing the media or winning with style points. We’ve got some hefty goals. Everyone knows about them.”

For this team, it’s Super Bowl or bust.

With each grind-it-out win _ seven of the triumphs on their 11-1 mark have been by seven points or less _ the Falcons are looking more and more like a team that can finally bring the A-T-L its first Super Bowl championship. Don’t listen to the skeptics, who seem to think the inability to blow out teams is a sign of vulnerability.

The Falcons are perfectly content to win by one or two or three points, as they should be, especially when they see what happened this past week. The 49ers losing at St. Louis. The Super Bowl champion Giants falling to Washington. The Bears getting tripped up at home by Seattle.

Just win, baby.

“There’s no doormats in this league,” offensive guard Justin Blalock points out. “If you’re not playing well, you can be made to look pretty stupid in any game. They’re not all going to be pretty. But we do our best to make sure we come out on top. At the end of the day, hardly anyone is going remember any games in September or October.”

What they will remember is January.

The playoff-bound Falcons are carrying a troublesome monkey on their back; actually, more like a gorilla. Atlanta has made the postseason three of the last four years. All three times, they lasted about as long as Snooki at a Mensa meeting, including a blowout loss at home to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers as the NFC’s top seed during the 2010 season.

In all likelihood, the Falcons (11-1) will be in that No. 1 spot again, even if hardly anyone seems to think they’re the NFL’s best team. They’ve already locked up their division and hold a 2 1/2 game lead over the next-best team in the conference with just four weeks to go.

So, why should people believe this team _ with many of the same guys from the last three playoff flops _ is suddenly going to shake its reputation as chokers?

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