by Shane Bacon
With the playoffs less than a week away, here is everything you need to know about Wild Card Weekend.Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals
When -- Saturday, Jan. 3, 4:30 PM EST
Where -- University of Phoenix Stadium
Channel -- NBC
How They Got Here -- Atlanta, in a must-win against the Rams in Week 17 for a potential two seed, took care of business behind running back Michael Turner. The first-year Falcon had 208 yards and a touchdown in the 31-27 win over the Rams to secure a playoff bid. Arizona struggled down the stretch but won a lagging NFC West division that only had one team with a winning record.
2008 Meeting -- None
Last Five Games -- Atlanta - 4-1. Arizona - 2-3.
Best Win -- Atlanta taking down a hot Minnesota team in Week 16, 24-17. Arizona beat Dallas in Week 6, 30-24.
X-Factor -- For Atlanta, it is the rookie Matt Ryan. When the play-caller has a quarterback rating of 94 or higher, the Falcons are 8-1. For Arizona, it is the running game. With Edgerrin James being pushed out as the top back, Tim Hightower and J.J. Arrington have been asked to carry the load. Kurt Warner and his great receiving core will get theirs, so it is up to the running game to balance their offensive attack.
Who Will Win -- In terms of least intimidating stadiums to play in, the one in Phoenix has to rack up. Living in the area, I know what Cardinals fans come to expect, and if the team falls behind 10-0 early, you can bet the Card hopefuls will be basically saying to one another, "No surprise here." For Ryan, a playoff game is a different beast, but he has a pretty favorable match-up to get his feet wet. I think the Falcons go to Glendale and beat the Cardinals.