It is no secret that over the past couple of weeks, the Seattle Seahawks have looked like an exposed team despite winning both games by the skin of their teeth, and supporting an 8 – 1 record. Two weeks ago, the Seahawks traveled to face the St. Louis Rams, who had just lost their starting QB Sam Bradford for the rest of the season. Seattle fans, and most everyone else, thought that the Seahawks would plow right over the Rams, but we were all wrong. Despite getting ran all over by Zac Stacy, Seattle escaped with a narrow victory. Most, if not all, ill feelings faded away as Seattle awaited the arrival of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that had yet to win a single game. We all thought “The Bucs haven’t even won a game, and this one is at home! Easy!” Again, we were all wrong. This one brought us a mixed bag of emotions that none of us were prepared for; Seahawks were suddenly down 0 – 21 at home against the Buccaneers one week later. I will not lie to you – I freaked out. However, the Seahawks mounted a tremendous comeback after the nice game from QB Mike Glennon, and even better game from RB Mike James, and the Bucs remained winless.
Yeah, Seattle won both games and they aren’t all going to be easy. This is the NFL after all; any team can win on any given Sunday. Despite that, if you aren’t a little worried about the Seahawks’ offensive line woes or their inability to stop the run over the past couple of weeks, then you either have nerves of steel or just simply aren’t paying attention. I am not suggesting that anyone should be hitting the panic button, but Seattle certainly has gaping flaws right now that the Atlanta Falcons, and the rest of the NFL is aware of.
When the Seahawks take on the Falcons this coming Sunday, they will once again be the favorites to win the game. Atlanta has been terrible in almost every single phase of the game, outside of their overall offense because of the quick handed Matt Ryan. This matchup actually comes as a great disappointment after last year’s NFL Playoff game where – you know what, I don’t even want to say it. Moving on… The Falcons are a banged up team. Most notably, they will be without their best wide receiver Julio Jones, who was lost to a foot injury for the season. Roddy White has not been lost for the entire season, but he is coming off a hamstring and ankle injury. White hasn’t played since week 5, but he states that he is finally at full speed. If that is the case, White will be a big boost for Ryan and company. That is, of course, if White does indeed play this week. About the only thing going well for Atlanta this season, outside of Matt Ryan, is Tony Gonzalez, whom doesn’t seem to age. Harry Douglas has also been pretty good for the past few weeks.
That’s about it for Atlanta. Honestly, they have the 11th ranked offense in the NFL, but that is all Matt Ryan; Atlanta has no running game whatsoever. Their defense is ranked an abysmal 29th, and the special teams is ranked 20th. Even if White returns, he won’t do anything to help Atlanta’s defense and special teams. The fact that Max Unger will be out for the Seahawks does more to help the Falcons’ defense than anything else. Not to mention the fact that while Ryan is hugely responsible for the offensive production that Atlanta has had up to this point, he has also thrown like a million interceptions the last couple of weeks.
Seattle, meanwhile, simply needs to play better. Look, I don’t expect a giant leap forward for the offensive line, at least not until next week when the line should be looking a whole lot better with the return of Russell Okung, Breno Giacomini, and presumably Max Unger. The important thing is for Seattle to stop the worst running team in the NFL. If they cannot even do that, then I think we have a major problem. I don’t even care if Seattle doesn’t pick Ryan off two or three times, just stop the damn run.
Golden Tate and the Seahawks’ S.T. unit should have another great day / Seattle Seahawks Facebook Page
The Bottom Line: Atlanta hosts a Seattle team that ranks 13th overall in offense, but the Seahawks also supports a defense that is ranked 2nd, and a special teams unit that is ranked 5th in the league. Unlike Atlanta, Seattle also still has huge upside. The offense is easily capable of being within the top 10, and the defense and special teams unit can each be ranked number 1 overall by the end of the season. One huge difference between these two teams that no stat sheet will tell you is the depth. Seattle has it; Atlanta has none of it. Seattle has been banged up all season long, just like Atlanta. The difference in depth can be seen in their record. That is a testament to Seattle’s coaching staff and general manager, John Schneider.
I for one will not be as cocky heading into this game, but I will be as confident. I predict that we will see the defense get back to their dominant form, even without big Red Bryant this week. I believe in the coaches and the players to get it done. The Seahawks’ offense could also have a nice game against the Falcons’ defense – key word being “could” because you never know what will happen with that shaky offensive line. I think I am mentally prepared for anything to happen this game. After all, the Falcons are surely a better team than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
*All stats provided by Football Outsiders!
Tyson Sweet is a Seattle Seahawks writer for cascadiasports.com. Follow him on Twitter @The12thDude, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google