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Falcons Clinch No. 5 Seed; Blast Bucs 45-24

Hoping for a fast start, the Falcons set a team record with 42 first-half points, including two touchdown runs by Turner, and Atlanta cruised to a 45-24 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday to clinch the No. 5 seed.

Julio Jones caught two touchdown passes in a span of 26 seconds in the first quarter as the Falcons gave the Buccaneers their 10th straight loss.

“We didn’t want to come down to the wire, backing into the playoffs,” Turner said.

The Falcons were motivated by two blowout losses — 48-21 to Green Bay in last year’s playoffs and 45-16 at New Orleans last week.

“Getting embarrassed like that last year, that’s not who we were,” Turner said. “We just wanted another chance.”

The Falcons (10-6) and Detroit (10-6) are the NFC wild cards. Atlanta, which beat Detroit on Oct. 23, won the tiebreaker with the Lions for the more favorable seeding.

The Falcons will go on the road in the first round of the Playoffs to face the New York Giants on Sunday, January 8 at 1 ET.

“We wanted to play our final regular-season game with a lot of intensity and energy, and I think we did that in all three phases,” Falcons coach Mike Smithsaid.

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