Atlanta Falcons: Falcons to face white-hot Seahawks at 1 p.m. Sunday at Georgia Dome

Mike Turner Seattle

The Falcons' Michael Turner (center) rushes against Seattle in first half action last season. (Associated Press).

FLOWERY BRANCH – Coach Mike Smith, the winningest coach in team history, has the Falcons poised to make an unprecedented third straight appearance in the NFL playoffs.

The Falcons, the No. 1 seed, will host the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC divisional round at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome. The Seahawks advanced with a 24-14 victory over Washington on Sunday.

The Falcons are 0-3 in the playoffs under Smith, but are determined to reverse the direction of their recent playoff fortunes.

Each time they lost to the team that went on to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl and the last two playoff defeats were to the eventual Super Bowl champion in Green Bay and the New York Giants.

Smith doesn’t have to look too far for a signal that things are going to change.

“Matt (Ryan) has had a great regular season for us this year,” Smith said of his quarterback. “He’s got the individual accolades. He’s led our team through some tough ball games and been able to pull them out. Those experiences will help us in the post-season.”

In a meeting with Seattle last season on Oct. 2, 2011, the Falcons jumped out to a 27-7 lead, but had to hold on for a 30-28 victory.

Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka missed a 61-yard field goal attempt at the buzzer. It was short and wide left.

In the last meeting, Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch was held to 24 yards on eight carries and one touchdown. He rumbled for 131 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown against the Redskins.

The Falcons faced quarterback Tarvaris Jackson in that previous matchup. The Seahawks are a much different team with rookie Russell Wilson at quarterback.

“I’m just very impressed with his maturity,” said Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, who broadcasts Seattle’s games in an interview on 790 The Zone. “His work ethic and the way he just comes to work with a sense of purpose every day; it doesn’t change. It doesn’t waiver. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. It doesn’t matter if they won the game by 50 or lose by 7, he comes to work with that same attitude each and every day.”

The Seahawks also received a boost against Washington from the return of cornerback Brandon Browner, who was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Unlike in 2010 when the Falcons were the No. 1 seed, the Falcons had a full week of practice during the bye week. They are hoping the extra work will allow them to stay in a rhythm.

The players contend this playoff trip will be different.

“The coaching, the locker room, the brotherhood in the locker room is totally different than 2010,” defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux said. “I think that guys are eager to get into the playoffs and make our presence known. We are a team that’s going to be able to make this run in the playoffs.”

The Falcons know that stopping Lynch will be a key to their efforts against the Seahawks.

“Every play starts with the (defensive) line,” Babineaux said. “What we do up front dictates a lot of what happens on the back end. It’s our job to fill in our gaps, secure our gaps and make sure that the ball doesn’t run in our gaps. If it does, we have to make the tackle. That’s the type of attitude that we have to have from here on out. We have to be stout in everything that we do.”

The Falcons are facing arguably the hottest team in the NFC. The Seahawks have won their last six games.

Before the playoff game, the Seahawks had outscored their five previous opponents 193-60, including a 58-0 rout of Arizona and a 42-13 rout of San Francisco.

The Seattle defense has not given up more than 28 points in one game this season.

The Seattle won all eight game home games, but they had to learn how to win on the road.

“That was the hurdle they had to get over,” Moon said. “When you have a young football team. When you have a young quarterback, you just have to figure out what it takes to win out on the road, especially in close football games.”




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277 comments Add your comment

Draggin' Fly

January 6th, 2013
7:40 pm

Seahawks beat a one-legged quarterback. Let’s see what they can do against a two-legged one.

Archibald Leach

January 6th, 2013
7:41 pm

Matt Ryan chokes again. Falcons go down

Draggin' Fly

January 6th, 2013
7:41 pm

And the games at 12, not 1.

Michael M.

January 6th, 2013
7:46 pm

How true Draggin’ Fly…………………………..Rise up Falcons!

phil

January 6th, 2013
7:47 pm

Worst nightmare….

A red hot team. Again.

It was fun while it lasted. Sunday won’t be pretty, most likely. We might not score 10.

UGA ECONOMICS MAJOR

January 6th, 2013
7:47 pm

GEORGIA DOME…GET LOUD VERRRRRY LOUD LIKE A PLANE LANDING AT HARTSFIELD!!!!!!!!!THIS IS FALCON TIME!!!!!!!

phil

January 6th, 2013
7:48 pm

Matt Ryan can’t block the relentless pressure he’s about to get….

We are cursed in this state.

Michael M.

January 6th, 2013
7:49 pm

lmao at the Fox bunch……………they already bragging about the Seabuzzards, they will have the Falcons as the underdogs playing at home before the night is over…………………….

MarkATL

January 6th, 2013
7:49 pm

Let go Falcons!! Beat Seattle!!!

sflanagan21

January 6th, 2013
7:51 pm

Stop Lynch and contain RW! All of our guys on both sides are back and healthy, we will be in fight till the very end but we got the Hawks…

sflanagan21

January 6th, 2013
7:53 pm

Phil, pull for another team my man!!!

Wow.

January 6th, 2013
7:54 pm

The talking heads on NFL gameday are already at it. It didn’t take them long to start talking about how the Falcons a Smith are under pressure with a hot Seattle team coming to town.

MarkATL

January 6th, 2013
7:55 pm

So the National Media is already trying to pick Seattle as the favorites? Really? That’s alright. Come on haters!! Keep the hate coming. Let’s fuel the fire boys. Go Falcons!! :)

Wow.

January 6th, 2013
7:56 pm

Falcons have to be ready and have to commit to stopping Lynch. Seattle’s running game is as essential to their offense as opposing teams turnovers are essential to their defense.

TechNut

January 6th, 2013
7:56 pm

yeah really, RG
3 was limping since the first quarter…neither of those two teams scares me; our D is good enough to force TO’s and hold them in the red zone while MR2 will get pass happy and run draws to keep them honest.

RB

January 6th, 2013
7:56 pm

IF (and that’s a bigggg IF), the Falcons beat the Seahawks, they will beat everyone else. GET IT DONE DIRTY BIRDS!!!!!!!

Kim Zolicak

January 6th, 2013
7:57 pm

boy, you just go from blog to blog, dont you !?!?

MarkATL

January 6th, 2013
7:58 pm

Focus on Lynch and have a spy on Wilson. That should cover most of the Seattle offense. We’ll be ready.

Jamaaliver

January 6th, 2013
8:02 pm

Notice that none of the teams they beat up on and healthy, elite, experienced quarterbacks at the helm.

The Falcons do.

We win this game convincingly. And Nolan will have some serious surprises for the rookie QB.

sflanagan21

January 6th, 2013
8:03 pm

No way do these chumps come into OUR HOUSE and beat us!

Mike In Minnesota

January 6th, 2013
8:05 pm

We need to keep their offense off the filed and let our running game
eat up the clock…worrisome isn’t it ?

Eric C.

January 6th, 2013
8:06 pm

Line opens with Atlanta -1…watch that shift the other way this week because no one believes Atlanta can finally get over the hump. If Atlanta survives a physical beating from Seattle, then they get the honor of facing another tough defense (SF) or Greenbay. If the Falcons reach the SB…will be taking the toughest path imaginable…whew. Go Falcons!!!

Eric C.

January 6th, 2013
8:07 pm

Btw, has a line ever been so low for a #1 seed in the divisional round?

Eric C.

January 6th, 2013
8:08 pm

Jamaaliver, that is what I’m hoping

Wow.

January 6th, 2013
8:08 pm

Yeah, what running game is going to keep their offense off the field?

MarkATL

January 6th, 2013
8:09 pm

No way Seattle can match our offense. Too many weapons for Atlanta. I hope we embarrass the Seahawks next week.

SeenThisBFalcon

January 6th, 2013
8:09 pm

FALCONS will be at full strength for this one will be tough but one or twol turnovers will win this Falcons 26-17.

Michael M.

January 6th, 2013
8:10 pm

Think they fear the Falcons?…………….

Doctor Weatherspoon

January 6th, 2013
8:10 pm

SeaHawks will leave Atlanta SeaSick

OHLORD

January 6th, 2013
8:10 pm

Falcons get their butts kicked! We always get the hot team.

Eastpoint

January 6th, 2013
8:10 pm

All Eyes will be on falcons…can they handle pressure and rise up from the dead, which Falcon team will show up is the mystery..A falcon team beating giants and lions or Falcon team losing badly to lowly panthers and bucs, we shall find out Sunday.

Elvis is Alive

January 6th, 2013
8:11 pm

The Sea-Chicks QB drops back 10-15 yards and it appears he wears down the
defense by running away from them.
Mobile QB, Good running back and good defense for the Sea-Chicks.
The R-Skins defense gave up on covering the receivers.
Be aware of his non-stop scrambling.
Rotate the defensive line and cut the angle. Keep our defense fresh.
Does he run more right or left?
Appeared to run right!
Relax fellas and play your game..you know how to win!
But don’t take your foot off the gas!!!
It’s Now or Next year..
Ditka believes you can win!
And I think you can win..
Rise Up..angry Birds..Rise Up..

UGA ECONOMICS MAJOR

January 6th, 2013
8:11 pm

MATT RYAN ,RODDY WHITE, ABRAHAM,WITHERSPOON…AND MR CLASSY HARD WORKING TONY GONZALEZ(THE MAN)= EXPERIENCE…ATLANTA 27 SEATTLE 10…GEORGIA DOME GET CRAZY !!!REALLY CRAZY AND LOUD

OHLORD

January 6th, 2013
8:11 pm

@MARKATL…You better hope we win by 1 point! Seattle is a very good football team my friend!

NumberOneDirtyBird

January 6th, 2013
8:11 pm

Who is afraid of these Sea Hawks (Chickens)? We put up 30 last year on this same defense in Seattle! We will score on this defense! Stop being afraid because Dirk Koetter is not Mike scared Malarachy…so we will take shots down the field and not bang our head trying to run the ball with Cheesburger Turner!

willie

January 6th, 2013
8:12 pm

They are good and we are good. We are at home. Win the game, boys. It’s that simple.

Big Al

January 6th, 2013
8:12 pm

Man, I can’t stand little Petey. Will be pulling for the Falcons. After next Sunday, it is Green Bay all the way.

William

January 6th, 2013
8:13 pm

‘Hawks in a rout …
can’t see any way that the Falcons can hang ..

Eddie from acworth

January 6th, 2013
8:13 pm

Kickoff is at 1pm, the Fox coverage starts at noon @dragonfly

Its our time. Let everyone in media and around the nfl pick the sexy, hot seattle team. Exactly what we need.

Turner goes nuts-150 yds and 2 tds cuz everyone thinks hes done-including Seattle.

Birds get it done 35-21

hey now.....

January 6th, 2013
8:14 pm

phil, why do you bother? Falcons will win!

Jerry Schwindler

January 6th, 2013
8:16 pm

You guys did not play anyone good this year…Go Hawks

sam

January 6th, 2013
8:16 pm

It’s the playoffs for Pete’s sake! The cupcakes have hung up their jock straps and it’s time to RISE UP. I say bring ‘em on and Pluck the SeaHawks.

Samuel

January 6th, 2013
8:16 pm

I see some holes in that Seahawks defense, but the Falcons can ill afford to make mistakes. Turner has to be effective in this game. Also it will be interesting to see how they stop all the weapons on this offense. Harry Douglas will be crucial come Sunday. I saw The Redskins dominate that offensive line in the first half. But couldn’t sustain it over four quarters. They beat a quarteback who was banged up badly after the first quarter. He simply coudn’t make those throws on one leg. Now will see Mike Nolan and Koetter earn their keep. I want to see if Nolan can confuse this kid Wilson. And keep him off balance. Who’s afraid of the Virginia wolf? I don’t think the Falcons are.

Michael M.

January 6th, 2013
8:16 pm

Beat the Seabuzzards and move on to take on the Packers……………….don’t think Niners will beat GB but the Packers are not as good as they were 2 years ago either and Atlanta owes them a big payback anyway……………………………………..

DieHardFalconsFan!!!!

January 6th, 2013
8:19 pm

Ryan will have 4 TD’s sunday and our defense will confuse wilson like crazy! We just have to get turn overs and turn them in to points. We got this! GO FALCONS!!!! RISE UP!!!!

DirtyBirdinCali

January 6th, 2013
8:19 pm

The only way is game is at 12noon is if you live in Central Time Zone. The 1pm start is good advantage for the Falcons against a West Coast team. That’s like a 10am game for the Seahawks. Falcons have them right where they need them, at the Birdz Nest (GA Dome) at the usual time the Falcons are used to winning like they did the past 11 times before the Tampa Bay game.

Dilla

January 6th, 2013
8:20 pm

Seattle didn’t impress me by beating a limping RGIII, they had to blitz to get pressure just like everybody else. They have good DBs, but we’ll see how they handle backs catching the balls out the back field and a TE that catches everything. If we spy Russell Wilson and keep him contained I’m not that worried about Lynch, he can get +100 yards they’ll still lose if Wilson is contained.

Jerry Schwindler

January 6th, 2013
8:20 pm

you have not played anybody good all year

Ghost of Norn van Brocklin

January 6th, 2013
8:21 pm

The Falcons will eat the Seahawks with their blitz d-fence and wide receivers attacks. Ryan will pass for at least 3 TD’s and the rookie will be welcomed to the NFL playoff. These birds have something to prove coming off a lost. Go Birds.

Falcon Fan

January 6th, 2013
8:23 pm

Hey Jerry…and who did the Seahawks play again in the weakest division in the NFC? LOL you are the one to talk. Falcons have beaten the Broncos, Washington, SHUT OUT the Giants.

Crickets from you my friend.