Found January 11, 2013 on
Seattle Seahawks (12-5) at Atlanta Falcons (13-3)
Game Day: Sunday 1:30 p.m. ET, FOX
Line: Falcons -2 ½
Series Record: Seattle leads 8-5
Perhaps the least appreciated NFL playoff game in years, this matchup actually boasts more appeal than meets the eye. Atlantas veteran group, in a widely discussed postseason slump, faces a primarily young group in Seattle led by an aging, but rejuvenated, monster in the offensive backfield. This tilt could have all the makings of a clash of opposites, with no clear-cut favorite known.
Seattle enters Sundays contest on a six-game winning streak, including last weeks 24-14 victory at Washington (just please dont call that game Griffin-gate). Quarterback Russell Wilson has become progressively more comfortable, and the Read Option offense seems to help Marshawn Lynch make up for any alleged step he may have lost. However, the surprise for Seattle this year became its top-flight defense, ranked fourth overall. Amazingly, just three teams have scored more than 20 points against the Seahawks.
Atlanta, on the other hands, comes in as perhaps the most negatively viewed 13-3 team in NFL history. Checking Stubhub will show that nearly 5,000 tickets are still being sold on the secondary market for this game, as cheap as 25 dollars. Many will cite the Falcons soft schedule, lack of blowout wins and three-straight postseason losses as reasons that this team will not make a run to the Super Bowl. Add in a lackluster run game and poor defensive performance throughout the season, and these guys are said to be doomed. However, quarterback Matt Ryan continues to pad his resume as a higher-level quarterback. He is capable of leading a shootout, if needed, and touts one of the best fourth-quarter resumes in the game today.
In essence, this game will be decided by the team whose strength wins out.
Falcons Game Plan
Despite being ranked 29th in rushing attack, Atlanta will attempt to properly utilize the tandem of Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers. While Turner appears to be at the end of his career, he can still be effective between the tackles at times. And Rodgers shows flashes of elusiveness that may allow for a few big plays to set up the pass for Ryan
Meanwhile, Ryan will look to get all of his receivers involved to create big-play opportunities early in the game. Ryan should feel a bit less pressure, as Seattle defensive end Chris Clemons was placed on Injured Reserve this week with a knee injury, suffered last week at Washington. However, if the Seahawks can still manage to penetrate Atlantas offensive line, then Ryan will be forced to settle for short passes and may even need to get a little creative.
On defense, the plan will simply be to contain the Wilson/Lynch running duo as best as possible. Look for Atlantas linebackers to play more of a read-react style in hopes of not giving up large chunks of yardage on the ground. Wilson has proven effective as a thrower of late, but the Falcons will have no choice but to rely on their secondaryand a loud Georgia Dometo thwart Wilsons passing efforts.
Seahawks Game Plan
Head Coach Pete Carroll, a former USC/Pac-12 man, seems to have taken a page out of the SECs playbook this season. Relying on a quick-thinking run game and a sometimes-bend-but-rarely-break defense, Carroll and Seattle have found themselves in position to make a solid postseason run.
Look for more of the same come Sunday. The Seahawks will run the football on offense until the Falcons proven they can stop them. Then, Wilson will look to connect with Sidney Rice and Golden Tate just long enough to back Atlantas defense off of the line of scrimmage. Then, repeat the process. This offense does not have to get any more creative than the Read Option, simply because the Read Option has worked to Wilsons strengths so well.
Facing Atlantas passing attack will prove Seattles toughest test in the game. The Seahawks will need to create a lot of pressure for Ryan, and they will need to do so without the aforementioned Clemons. Expect a few clever wrinkles in their blitz packages to throw off Atlantas checks. And when the Falcons attempt to gain ground yardage, it is of utmost importance for Seattle to ensure Turner, or more importantly Rodgers, do not get to the edge and break off any big runs.
There are so many variables at play in this matchup that an easy pick simply does not exist. Seattle will make its second west-to-east coast trip in as many weeks. Atlantas unconvincing season has been mentioned in this story. Seattle is plagued by injuries (they also lost kicker Steven Hauschka last week). Atlantas inability to stop the run, and the pass, this season comes to mind again.
However, playoff success still typically comes down to the hot hand. The top seeds continue to give way to teams with lesser win totals who streak just before the seasons end. Considering this is what leads to an ultimate decision on this games winner.
Seattles offense will likely give the Falcons defense fits at times, controlling the treasured time of possession. That should be enough to keep Matt Ryan at bay.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Matt Ryan has to shoulder all of the pressure for the Falcons' franchise this weekend.
The Wildcard round brought us some pretty bad games. The marque quarterbacks were on a bye so this week should be a lot better.
Here are the quarterbacks and how they stack-up
1) Manning - Peyton Manning is the MVP of the League this year so he has to be the best QB on the board. He...
The Falcons and Matt Ryan have the worst match-up against Seattle if they want to get their first playoff win.
The Wildcard games disappointed for one reason, quarterback play. That will not be a problem this weekend. The marquee quarterbacks are off their bye weeks and are ready to lead their teams onto the field.
Here is a look at the games and my selection of the winners...
I look good in neon Juan…
Russell Wilson was the only one of the big three rookie QBs to make it out of the Wild Card round last week as the Seahawks will roll into Atlanta this weekend. Atlanta claims they are being disrespected, but that’s what happens when your QB has never won a playoff game. I’m kinda feeling a Seahawks ‘upset’, but I haven’t fully committed to my...
Will Matt Ryan get his first ever postseason victory, or will Russell Wilson continue to steamroll the opposition on his way to his second-plus victory?
Arguably the most intriguing game of the entire weekend (save SF-GB), this is finally the game we have all been waiting for though.
Marshawn Lynch (foot) has been running like a man possessed all season long and he has tasted the...
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has played in three postseason games since being drafted in 2008, he's 0-3, but says he's not feeling the pressure to win.
“I don’t worry about it. I don’t think about it,” Ryan said Wednesday before practice. “My focus is for this locker room and for the guys and the coaching staff that we're all together. We want to...
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was held out of practice the last couple of days but was back on Friday practicing with the team on a limited basis.
Coach Pete Carroll told reporters Lynch has a sprained foot and is listed as probable, but he will play on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
Atlanta Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel is calling himself "Swag 100" for the postseason because he says he's a playmaker. "I'm swag 100% of the time," Samuel told USA TODAY Sports. "In order to have swag, you have to be balling -- doing your thing and making game-changing plays, like I've been doing." "It's all about being a...
Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez says this is his last chance to win a Super Bowl.
"For me, obviously, this could be it," Gonzalez said. "There is no tomorrow. There is no saying, 'We'll get 'em next year.' It's about going out there and trying to finish on the right note."
Click Link Below to Read More!
We already covered Saturday’s games, and here is everything you need to know about Sunday’s games.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
All year long, I have never been overly impressed with the Falcons. Early season wins against the Broncos and Redskins were the only games they played against teams that made the playoffs. That was before either team found their identity and...
Seattle Dominates Second Half
The Seattle Seahawks came into Sunday’s Wild Card match-up riding high, as did the Washington Redskins. After a week of off-field trash talking it finally came time to lace ‘em up. And just as expected, things got chippy early on.
The post whistle activities were in abundance on the torn up grass at FedEx Field. There were many great personal battles...
They share the honors for the best record in the NFL this season at 13-3 with Denver. But, going into Sunday's divisional playoff against Seattle, most of the regular NFL experts say Atlanta fattened up on the easiest schedule in the league.The talking heads are also quick to point out that the Falcons were not only beaten but embarrassed in their playoff appearances the past...
After the Atlanta Falcons were embarrassed 24-2 in New York to the Giants in the Wild Card round of the 2011 playoffs; their main focus in 2012 was to secure home-field advantage.With the best record at 13-3 in the NFC, the Falcons did exactly that. The Falcons start their quest for a Super Bowl against the battle tested Seattle Seahawks.While Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has an...
The National Football Conference's representative to the Super Bowl is determined tonight in the NFC Championship Game. This has been a highly competitive year in the NFC, but in the end, three teams emerged out of the regular season as favorites to be the NFC representative. Tops among those are the Atlanta Falcons, a team with an explosive offense led by quarterback Matt Ryan...
Time to pass on the Falcons Juan…
NFL Lines Divisional Playoffs – NFL Football Line
Divisional Playoff Games
NFL Game Lines 1/12 – 1/13, 2013
Date & Time
1/12 4:30 ET
1/12 8:00 ET
At San Francisco
1/13 1:00 ET
1/13 4:30 ET
At New England
On to the divisionals
It started with a bang, just not the bang the Seattle Seahawks were looking for.
But being the team that no one picks all year long, the way the Seahawks won this game was in typical fashion of a so called “underdog.”
Yes, we were technically the favorite, but for anyone who knows the history of this team, an away game against anybody is never a gimme, just...