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Sunday, December 2, 2012
Atlanta Falcons clinch NFC South

By Pat Yasinskas

The Atlanta Falcons didn’t play a game Sunday, but they clinched the NFC South title.

With Tampa Bay’s loss to Denver, the 11-1 Falcons now are the division champions for the second time since the arrival of coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan in 2008. The Falcons also won the NFC South title in 2010.

With Atlanta clinching, an infamous streak continues. Since the NFC South came into existence in 2002, no team has won the division in back-to-back seasons.

The Falcons also caught one other break elsewhere. The San Francisco 49ers, who entered the day with only two losses, lost to the St. Louis Rams. That puts the 49ers at 8-3-1 and gives the Falcons a little more cushion in their attempt to secure the NFC’s No. 1 seed for the postseason.