The Seahawks defeated the Redskins on Sunday and not have the luxury of heading to Atlanta to face the Falcons. Seattle is one of the hottest teams in the NFL with 6 straight wins and 8 in their last 9 games. Seattle has been extremely impressive this year on the shoulders of Marshawn Lynch and rookie Russell WIlson. The offense has come on strong as of late that included a three game stretch in which they averaged 50 points per game. This has be a point of concern for Atlanta whose defense has been up and down much of the year. Statistically, the defense is below average, but has improved lately.
The bigger matchup has to be the Falcons offense against the Seahawks fierce defense. More specifically, Matt Ryan and his receiving corps against the elite cornerback duo of Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. Ryan has been elite QB all year. He made the Pro Bowl over the likes of Eli Manning, Tony Romo, and Drew Brees among others. The problem is that he has never had success in the playoffs. He won’t have an easy task this week which leads to an extremely interesting matchup. It is true battle of strength against strength. Julio Jones and Roddy White may be the best 1-2 combo at WR and Seattle’s corners may share the same honor at their position.
The concerning part is that Atlanta has shown almost no sign of a running game all year. Seattle should be able to drop back several in coverage to limit the effectiveness of Ryan. Seattle on the other hand has a well balanced offense led through their running game. Marshawn Lynch has resurrected his career with Seattle and has shone in playoff appearances. Everyone remembers his incredible run against New Orleans two years ago, and he shredded the Redskins defense last week. He has had problems with ball security though, so that may be a point of attack for the Falcons defense.
Ultimately, the Falcons should be favorites in this game. Seattle has a lot of talent, but also some weaknesses at some key positions. They are very inexperienced when it comes to the playoffs and led by a rookie Quarterback. Then again, Russell Wilson has won more games in the playoffs in his career than Matt Ryan.