The Atlanta Falcons played their starters in the team's regular season finale at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Mike Smith's squad still lost the game at home by the score of 22-17 while also losing a few players to injury in a game that meant nothing for Atlanta.
While the Falcons loss isn't the starting discussion point, the Falcons had a chance to win a game their players had trouble getting up for. But instead it is whether or not teams should play their starters, especially as much as the Falcons did, when the team already has everything wrapped up.
The Falcons opted against two weeks of rest, playing their starters plenty on Sunday and a few of them had their days cut short due to injury, including John Abraham. But as James Rael writes on SB Nation's Falcons blog, The Falcoholic, the Falcons are still in the playoffs as the No. 1 seed and have plenty of time to rest up.
Abe is the real question mark. If his injury is de minimis, I don't really mind this loss. We're still in the playoffs and we're still the number 1 seed. Rest up boys, we've got playoff games to win.
Ending the season at 13-3, Atlanta can now wait for an opponent to come visit them for the playoffs.