(photo courtesy of USA today)
This game will be a matchup that gives us a contrast in styles. You have the wide open pass happy Falcons against the defensive minded, run-first Seahawks. If their first game is any indication, this should be a barn burner. Hopefully, the Referees will not be the deciding factor as they were in the Seahawks previous win in Seattle.
Seattle Seahawks- The Seahawks have found their run game again led by Thomas Rawls, Rawls was brilliant in the Seahawks Wild Card win against the Detroit Lions. The key to this game may not be the run game, though, it may come down to the Seahawks being able to throw the ball. Russell Wilson seems to be getting better every week, and Jimmy Graham is a huge weapon at Tight End for him. The biggest problem on Offense for the Seahawks has bee a below average offensive line.
Atlanta Falcons- The Falcons just may be the best Offensive team in football, led by MVP Candidate Matt Ryan. They can run the ball with Freeman and Coleman, and they have the best WR in the game in Julio Jones. On defense pressuring the passer has been a weakness, but they are good against the run, and they will need to be to win this game.
Falcons WR Julio Jones vs. Seahawks CB Richard Sherman- In the past, Sherman hasn’t always shadowed the other teams best receiver, but in the last two years there have been times when he has. I would imagine this will be one of those times. So will the Seahawks choose to double team Jones, or will they put Sherman on him exclusively?
Falcons Run Defense vs. Thomas Rawls- Rawls was fantastic last week, and the Falcons give up less than 100 yards a game on the ground. This matchup could go a long way in deciding this game.
Falcons linebackers/safeties vs. Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham- Graham has had over 100 yards a game receiving in each of the last two games. The Falcons have had trouble with top Tight Ends all year.
The loss of Earl Thomas hurts the Seahawks secondary, and this is a game where it could show. I think the Seahawks will be able to put some points up in this game, but in the end, the Falcons should have too much for the Seahawks. Falcons 31 Seahawks 28