2012 NFL Playoffs: Seattle Seahawks vs. Atlanta Falcons Pick and Preview
The Seattle Seahawks will travel back to the east coast to take on the Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional round of the 2012 NFL playoffs. Atlanta has had a week off to rest up and prepare while Seattle went into D.C. and pounded out a comeback win against the Redskins.
Both teams have the potential to go all the way, and both have interesting story lines. Seattle is the underdog with the rookie quarterback and fiery head coach in Pete Carroll, while the Falcons are that would-be elite team that just can’t seem to win in the playoffs.
When: 1:00 pm ET on Sunday, January 13th, 2013
Where: Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA
Here’s what I’m looking at in the “battle of the birds” in Sunday’s Divisional Round showdown in Atlanta:
The Atlanta Falcons have a tremendous passing attack that led the way for them to secure the top spot in the NFC playoffs. QB Matt Ryan is as smart a QB as there is and can read defenses extremely well; checking out to a big-play audible. He has weapons galore with big-play deep-threat WR’s Roddy White and Julio Jones. TE Tony Gonzalez will hit the open spots across the middle for key third downs.
The running game is decent for Atlanta. Michael Turner, Jacquizz Rogers and Jason Snelling all bring a different dynamic to the field. A defense has to be alert and on their toes at all times to know who is in the backfield. Seattle did a decent job of limiting the Redskins’ Alfred Morris in the first round. They definitely have the front to stop Atlanta’s run.
The main thing to watch here is if Seattle’s corners Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman can tame Atlanta WR’s Roddy White and Julio Jones. Browner and Sherman might be the most physical corners in the league. They jam you hard at the line of scrimmage and don’t allow a free release; disrupting your route right from the start. At 6’3″ and 6’4″ respectively, they have size to challenge receivers as well. If Seattle’s corners can hold up the defense should be able to slow Atlanta down enough to pull out a win. If Roddy White or Julio Jones are allowed to break free even once it could mean the game. Seattle’s corners are the key!
The last rookie QB standing is Seattle’s Russell Wilson. He has done it all this season. He isn’t dominant in one particular area of the QB position. He just does everything well. He doesn’t turn the ball over. He runs and gets necessary yards when he has to. He also makes the right passes and doesn’t try to overdo anything. He takes what he’s given and that’s why he’s been so successful.
Wilson has also had one of the top running backs in Marshawn Lynch behind him. Lynch had an encore year of “beast mode” this season and had 132 rushing with a TD last week against the Redskins. If you can’t stop Lynch forget it.
Atlanta’s defense is not a strong suit. They rank in the 20′s in passing and rushing defense. Clearly, Atlanta has to stop the run in Marshawn Lynch. The gameplan for Atlanta will be to try and slow Lynch down and make Seattle’s passing game beat them. Seattle doesn’t have huge threats at WR but QB Wilson makes up the difference to extend a play and allow them to get open.
I’m all aboard for the Seattle Seahawks. They just have that something about ‘em that they’re peaking at the right time. They may not have flashy parts at all aspects but they do work together extremely well as a whole.
Seattle’s corners will be the key. I think they can limit Atlanta’s passing game just enough to pull out a 28-24 win and head to the NFC Championship.