"You learn a lot about your preparation going into them," Ryan, a Penn Charter product,said earlier in the week when asked what he has taken from his three postseason disappointments. "At the same time, I think you learn you have to be on top of opportunities that present itself during the game."
As is the case this season, the Falcons were the NFC's top seed in the 2010 season. But a week off did nothing to prevent the 48-21 thumping from the Packers back then.
Seattle has won six consecutive games, outscoring opponents by an average of 24 points. In Washington on Sunday, the Seahawks scored the game's final 24 points to rally past the Redskins and the ailing Robert Griffin III in the wild-card round.
Texans at Patriots
The first time Houston faced the Patriots, top cornerback Johnathan Joseph played while still struggling to get healthy, and outside linebacker Brooks Reed sat out with an injury.
That game turned into an embarrassing 42-14 loss to New England. Now both are back to full strength, and the Texans, who visit New England Sunday, believe that makes their defense much stronger this time around.
"Right now, I can probably say this is the best I've felt all year," said Joseph, who was slowed by a hamstring injury that kept him out the two games before the first matchup against the Patriots. "Right now, I can say I'm 100 percent."
Packers at 49ers
Michael Crabtree is making people remember why he was a top prospect out of Texas Tech and not the bust of last season for the San Francisco 49ers, who host the Green Bay Packers Saturday night.
He finished this season with career highs of nine touchdowns, 85 catches and 1,105 yards this season. Crabtree also had five TDs and 30 catches on third-down plays - both stats among the top five in the NFL.
Ravens at Broncos
Quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens remember the last time they played Denver - and can't wait to change the script.
In that Week 15 meeting, Anquan Boldin was shut out by the Broncos secondary and Torrey Smith, who had just one catch that day, was knocked out by a concussion early in the third quarter. His top wide receivers blanketed, Flacco played one of his poorest games of the season.
"They do some funky things on third down where they play zones and [blitz] some different guys," said Flacco, who leads his team into Denver on Saturday. "I think the big thing for us will be to hit guys early and let them do some damage running after the catch."