Howard predicts Super Bowl for Falcons

Dwight Howard thanked the Atlanta fans for their support after a 110-93 Hawks victory over the 76ers Saturday night at Philips Arena.

And then the Hawks center started an impromptu pep rally for the Falcons on the eve of their NFC Championship game against the Packers Sunday.

“Rise Up,” Howard shouted to the crowd. “The Falcons are going to the Super Bowl!” The unprompted cheer was met with a loud response.

Later in the locker room, the Atlanta-native Howard stood by his prediction.

“I said this is preseason, I don’t want to jinx myself, but I did say the Falcons and the Patriots would be in the Super Bowl. That was my prediction. Hopefully it happens. I don’t want to jinx them, either team. Both are my favorite teams.

“That would be great for the city to see the Falcons go back to the Super Bowl. It’s been a while. I would love to see that happen, especially coming from Atlanta. Go Falcons. Let’s rise up.”

The Falcons are hosting the Packers in what will be the final football game at the Georgia Dome. It will be their fourth NFC Championship game. Their only Super Bowl appearance came following the 1998 season after they beat the Vikings on the road. They lost Super Bowl XXXIII to the Broncos 34-19. Howard was a 13-year old at that time. He is hoping for a return trip and a different result 18 years later.