Playoff matchup: Falcons run offense vs. Seahawks run defense

Here's Michael Turner getting past New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma for yardage during 1st quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, November 29, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Here's Michael Turner getting past New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma for yardage during 1st quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, November 29, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — Here’s a look at how the Falcons run offense matches up against the Seahawks run defense.

Falcons’ starters: Running back Michael Turner and fullback Mike Cox.

Falcons’ key reserves: Jacquizz Rodgers, Jason Snelling and Antone Smith.

Seahawks’ starters: Outside linebacker Leroy Hill, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and  outside K.J. Wright.

Seahawks’ reserves: Malcolm Smith, Heath Farwell, Mike Morgan and Allen Bradford (Inactive for Washington playoff game).

Matchup to watch: Turner vs. Wagner

The Seahawks gave up 103.1 yards per game during the regular season, which ranked 10th in the league.

The Falcons, as they transformed into more of passing team this season, ran the ball just as a function of trying to keep defense’s honest.

The Falcons averaged 87.3 yards per game, which ranked 29th in the league. Turner led the Falcons in rushing with 800 yards on 222 carries. Rogers had 362 yards on 94 carries.

Backup running back Jason Snelling will also see some action against the Seahawks.

“We have three capable backs who all have different strengths and weaknesses,” Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said. “We are going to see all three guys. Mike, Quizz and Jason will all be used on Sunday.”

The Seahawks are led by Wagner, who had nine tackles against the Redskins and Wright, who had eight.

Wagner is a rookie from Utah State. He finished the regular season with 140 tackles. He started 15 of 16 games in the regular season.

The linebackers flow well behind the Seahawks’ mammoth offensive line.

“We know who they are,” Turner said. ” We know what they are capable of doing.”

The Falcons offense plans to match the Seahawks’ physical style of play.

“We have to go out and be in the right mindset to play a physical football game because that’s how Seattle plays,” Koetter said.

Advantage: Seahawks

LATEST NEWS

View from Seattle: Seahawks busting myths?

Seattle pass rusher Clemons out for playoffs

Falcons determined to have playoff breakthrough

Atlanta Falcons: Q&A with head coach Mike Smith

John Abraham set to return to practice on Wednesday

Playoff buzz: Falcons are 2 1/2 point favorites

Playoff matchup: Falcons’ special teams vs. Seahawks’ special teams

OTHER RECENT STORIES

Dirk Koetter to stay with the Falcons

Smith to ramp up bye-week practices

Smith expects Abraham, Robinson to be ready for playoff game

Falcons’ run defense to be tested in divisional playoff game

Falcons to open playoffs at 1 p.m., Sunday Jan. 13th

74 comments Add your comment

Season Ticket Holder

January 9th, 2013
1:46 pm

Season Ticket Holder

January 9th, 2013
1:48 pm

I would like to see more of Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling in the running game against the Seahawks!

big slammu

January 9th, 2013
1:59 pm

Seattle has an outstanding defense, unlike any Atlanta has seen this year. I think Seattle wins this Sunday

Adogg36

January 9th, 2013
2:04 pm

Big boi taking da falcons. TI to. Dey was on first take. Like big boi say RISE UP!!!!

Go Hawks!!

January 9th, 2013
2:20 pm

Atlanta Hawks that is!

Will

January 9th, 2013
2:21 pm

Falcons will win this game by at least 10.

old man

January 9th, 2013
2:26 pm

Seahawks win this count, 4-3-1

OFF PPG-FALCONS
Falcons 7th
Seahawks 9th

OFF YPG-FALCONS
Falcons 8th
Seahawks 17th

DEF PPG-SEAHAWKS
Falcons 5th
Seahawks 1st

DEF YPG-SEAHAWKS
Falcons 24th
Seahawks 4th

FALCONS PASS VERSUS SH PASS DEFTIE
Falcons 6th
Seahawks 6th

FALCONS RUN VERSUS SH RUN DEF-SEAHAWKS
Falcons 28th
Seahawks 10th

SH PASS VERSUS FALCONS PASS DEF-FALCONS
Falcons 22nd
Seahawks 27th

SH RUN VERSUS FALCONS RUN DEF-SEAHAWKS
Falcons 21st
Seahawks 3rd

Samuel

January 9th, 2013
2:44 pm

I’d like to see Michael Turner become the burner in this game. He knows the stakes are high, and I’m not counting him out. Also you get Q

Samuel

January 9th, 2013
2:53 pm

I like to see Turner become the burner in this game. besides he knows the stakes are high, and I’m not counting him out. Also Quizz can do damage, if you get him out in open space. Jason Snelling hits the holes quickly and is excellent out of the backfield catching passes. Don’t be suprised if they use Antone Smith to get out on the edges. He has the speed to take it to the house. If the Falcons are successful running the ball, I believe that passing game will flourish. But by all means stick with the run, don’t abandon it like the Washington Redskins did last week. Riseup!!

falcfan

January 9th, 2013
2:56 pm

I think Turner will be the surprise of the game…everyone is dissing him, but he has shown flashes this year where he has to be accounted for….he will score two TDs on sunday as the Falcons whip Seattle. This is our year.

WC

January 9th, 2013
3:11 pm

falcfan
January 9th, 2013
2:56 pm

I think Turner will be the surprise of the game…everyone is dissing him, but he has shown flashes this year where he has to be accounted for….he will score two TDs on sunday as the Falcons whip Seattle. This is our year.
_____________________________________

Throughout the entirety of Mike Smith’s reign as coach of the Atlanta Falcons, he has always preferred to use Michael Turner in the red zone, especially between the goal line & the 5 yard line mark. Thus, the number of touchdowns Michael Turner has is not truly the best reflection of his capabilities as a running back.

Of note, the relative silence from our players, including Roddy White and D-Block (no slight to them, but they are social people, they just are) suggests to me that these guys are highly focused on winning this game. Hope the Falcons pull a win, preferably dominate, on Sunday against the Hawks for the fans, for Tony, and Arthur Blank.

The Real Falcon

January 9th, 2013
3:20 pm

WhiteShoes

January 9th, 2013
3:39 pm

Cannot travel from west coast twice in one week and expect to beat a team like the Falcons. Also, with a primary pass rusher down, it will make it very hard fro Seattles DB’s to drop back and still keep an eye on the run. Seattle is a good team, but it’s simply not their year. Falcons appear very poised, very focused and extremely honed in as to what they need to do to win this game. Simply put, we need to shock them off gaurd early with no huddle, then ameba D the crap outta them so they’re playin on their heels in the 1st half. Then, 3rd qtr, Turner plays keep away. On D, it needs to be whats been done all year…a “bend don’t break” mentality. Lynch will get his yards, but The Falcons will get stingy inside the 20. I see Lynch with 80 yards, but I do not see Wilson being able to hadle the talent in ATL’s secondary. They’ll take chances and force mistakes merely due to the quick change d looks and hostile crowd. Falcons 24-13

amused in seattle

January 9th, 2013
3:41 pm

I see Turner being refered to as the burner. Please! He averages 3.6 yds a carry. Marshawn Lynch has an avg of 5.0 yds per carry. Give it to Jaquizz more? Why not, his average is clear up to 3.85 yds a carry. Lynches backup Turbin averages 4.4 yds per carry. I don’t know why you think either Turner or Quizz are going to suddenly become players that they obviously aren’t

backatcha

January 9th, 2013
3:48 pm

Everybody relax, & get some rest! Everything will alright! Experts analysis, opinions, statistics, & predictions will not matter once the ball is snapped… We gotta chill out!!! Go Falcons!!!!!!!

falcfan

January 9th, 2013
3:59 pm

Hey Amused in Seattle: you won’t be very amused for long…turner has one less td than Lynch with about half the carries….but the key is that the Falcons are built around the pass….what I’m predicting is that they will unleash a surprisingly effective run game on top of that and make it impossible to stop…..your boy Russell is in for a rough day against nolan’s D….all adds up to a LOOOONNNGGGG day for Seahawk fans…..

MG3

January 9th, 2013
4:09 pm

I love that the Seahawks fans are buying into the media hype about their team. That team will be overwhelmed when the Falcons come out at home and start fast on them. Just ask the Manning brothers and Drew Brees. Russell Wilson hasn’t seen anything like this yet.

single white dove

January 9th, 2013
4:17 pm

amused in seattle

January 9th, 2013
3:41 pm
I see Turner being refered to as the burner. Please! He averages 3.6 yds a carry. Marshawn Lynch has an avg of 5.0 yds per carry. Give it to Jaquizz more? Why not, his average is clear up to 3.85 yds a carry. Lynches backup Turbin averages 4.4 yds per carry. I don’t know why you think either Turner or Quizz are going to suddenly become players that they obviously aren’t

Look, the falcons are more of a passing team now. Its about style now. If we change to run, then the yards per carry might go up.

DrLDawg

January 9th, 2013
4:19 pm

Is this supposed to be informative? Orlando — you just phoned this in. If you are holding yourself out as a sports reported, please have something to say rather than a roster list and a few stats. When the only thing that is edgy is your unwillingness to write, the AJC is in a sad state.

Say what

January 9th, 2013
4:34 pm

Amused, you cling to your stats like a sinner clings to her rosary beads. The simple fact is the Falcons have used all their weapons in various ways and at different times to overwhelm defenses, beating every team they have faced this year. On the defensive side, they create turnovers and get very tough in the red zone. Your stats will be cold comfort come Sunday evening.

Organized NoiZE

January 9th, 2013
4:35 pm

The only reason Seattle beat the Skins is because RGIII was a gimp by the 2nd quarter. That “defense” got ran thru the 1st quarter when the QB was healthy. Run and pass. and the big tight end Paulsen feasted on DB’s and LB’s. And Paulsen in no Tony G by a long shot. Reskins almost exposed this great defense, AND the sack leader is out. In addition to that, they dony play well on the road. My prediction 35-17 Dirty Birds.

SeattleMike

January 9th, 2013
5:13 pm

MG3: Buying into the media hype? I would like some supporting stats behind the “hype”. Let me give you some fun facts and then we’ll see if it is indeed hype.

1) Wins against teams with winning records
Atlanta: TWO Denver week 2 (when Manning was still getting a feel for his new team); Washington week 5 with RGIII in only his 5th game. Both at home.
Seattle: SEVEN (4 of those teams making it to the playoffs) Yes, 5 were at home
2) Strength of schedule AFTER the season (pre-season SoS is crap)
Atlanta: 32nd (just to help out, DEAD LAST or EASIEST SCHEDULE IN LEAGUE = 13 wins)
Seattle: 1st (just to help out, DEAD TOUGHEST or BATTLE TESTED AND TRUE)
3) Seattle’s offensive ranking covers the entire season which is misleading and simply giving hope to fans who don’t really pay attention.
YPG is 17th overall but over the last half of the season they moved up significantly
PPG is 9th overall but over the last 7 games they are 1st
DPG is 1st and that includes playing (at the time we played them) 4 top 10 offenses and it still didn’t waiver (at the time we played 2 of those teams they had the #1 ranked offense coming in and 1 of the others had the #2 offense when we played)
SH Pass is 27th overall but over the last half of the season they moved up into the teens and have the QB with the highest passer rating and truly one of the most poised and intelligent QBs in the game. Good luck “rattling and overwhelming him!” He didn’t bat an eye when they went down 2 TDs ON THE ROAD! You think he will worry in this game against a team that is set for a RUDE AWAKENING?

Gotta love all of the Atlanta fans that are buying into the hype that their team is battle tested and ready for a team like Seattle! Paper champions in Atlanta!

GABE KNOWTLON

January 9th, 2013
5:16 pm

Atlanta, you have an advantage being at home. We’ll give you that. You are also a very pass-oriented team and have been successful and we give you that. You have been effective against the run and we will give you that. However, do not underestimate the Seattle Seahawks. They can win on the road and unlike the Falcons are undefeated at home. They were tied with the hardest schedule in the league this year beating the likes of Green Bay, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, Minnesota, and New England and now Washington. They have already beaten 70% of the existing playoff teams. Their Defense is ranked #1 in points allowed at only 15 per game and going into the playoffs were ranked the #1 team in the league in DVOA total stats. Russel Wilson, not Matt Ryan has the #1 QBR down the final 8 weeks in the regular season. I could go on with more reality. The point is that when you throw the numbers in the soup it comes out blue and green. Stats surely don’t mean everything, but it would be foolish to dismiss them. After all, they represent the facts for a whole season of play. Good luck both teams! Go HAWKS!

amused in seattle

January 9th, 2013
5:23 pm

All the back and forth is a good time. Truth be told, I believe this will be a real fun game. When you look at it, it really has everything you want. The battle between your receivers and our secondary. Can Atlanta generate a run game against our defense, and can the Falcon defense slow down our run game. Its going to be a blast to watch all these things unfold. as a Seahawk fan the thing that scares me most, and isn’t talked about here much, is Tony Gonzales. I watch this guy and am flabbergasted that he does what he does at any age. To me he is the wild card. can’t wait for sunday. GO HAWKS!!!!

SeattleMike

January 9th, 2013
5:25 pm

At Say What: STATS don’t lie. How many top 15 defenses did Atlanta face this year with that great offense? Let’s see.

Denver: Manning ‘threw’ that one away early with INTs early and still almost came back to beat your team
San Diego: big win on the road against one of the worse teams in the AFC.
Both of the above happened in the first 3 weeks of the season. Both defenses got significantly better in the following weeks and weren’t playing at their final level this early.
Carolina: split with these guys. Divisional opponents always have that uncertainty so splitting with all 3 can’t really be held against Atlanta.
Arizona: Their D is still good but when it provides 5 picks for an offense and they can’t get more than 19 points that is attributed to their offense LOSING the game than yours winning it.

And, wait, that’s it. Just 4 with 2 of them coming in the first 3 weeks of the season when most D’s aren’t clicking together.

Okay, now for Seattle. Total number of top 15 Ds played: 8! Double what your team played. And 3 of them the Seahawks had to play TWICE so that’s really 11 of the 16 games they played were against tough D’s.

So stats don’t matter? Guess not. I think the only stat that is going to affect this game is the fact that Seattle had to travel across country twice in one week. But in the end I really don’t think it will matter.

BobP

January 9th, 2013
5:31 pm

Just read all the network and NFL prognosticators. Very few give the Falcons a chance vs Seahawks. Would love a Falcons blowout to pipe them down for good.

1990_Champs_GT

January 9th, 2013
5:43 pm

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but until the Falcons win, the media will say they can’t.

If they beat the Seahawks, the NFL “experts” will say they can’t beat either the Packers or Niners. Then if they do that, the experts will say they don’t have a chance in hell of beating the AFC team.

Then if the Falcons do that, the experts will overhype them like they did the Aint’s. That is just the way it works.

The chip on the Falcons’ players should be about the size of the entire state. They need to keep that us-against-the-world mindset. If they do, they can shut everyone up once and for all!

1990_Champs_GT

January 9th, 2013
5:47 pm

Also, I’d like to see a virtual show of hands from Falcon fans that have invaded Seattle blogs to talk trash with their fans. My guess is not many.

These Seahawk trolls didn’t exist before this week. Ignore them, and like their team after Sunday’s game, they will go away.

ToccoaBird

January 9th, 2013
5:49 pm

I hope the Falcons draft a Rb to go with Jaquizz Rodgers, nothing against the burner Turner but he has slowed down.

amused in seattle

January 9th, 2013
6:03 pm

This is why Seattle will probably win come Sunday, you guys set your sights too low, Why not draft a running back to replace Rogers. He’s not that good. I think its because you play in the second worst division in football (the nfc east takes that crown, another division you has some sucess with) So that when you win your division, you think you’ve accomplished something, and then the reality of the playoffs, moneyball time, and you fold like a house of cards……always. No wonder the sights are set so low

Larry

January 9th, 2013
6:10 pm

Just what, exactly, have the seachickens ever done or won?

And who in their right mind could pull for a coach that walks, act and chews gum like a pimple faced 12 year old?

The #1 seed Falcons easily win this by 10+ points while looking forward to some real competition in the NFCCG.

old man

January 9th, 2013
6:13 pm

Ok, Falcons first possession, 1st and 10 on the Falcons’ twenty.

WHAT IS THE FIRST PLAY YOU WOULD RUN?

That first play, in my opinion, says a lot about your strategy for the entire game.

old man

January 9th, 2013
6:14 pm

If you were going to run a “spy” on Russell Wilson,

WHO WOULD YOU PICK TO DO THAT?

old man

January 9th, 2013
6:20 pm

MY FIRST PLAY OF THE GAME: I would play action pass, read Gonzalez, read Julio, and last read a home run ball to Roddy. They will be expecting Julio on the deep jump ball, not Roddy.

Just my two cents. We have to set up the run with the pass. Seattle is too good. We don’t have the luxury of trying to establish the run first. We need to start the game like we are down by 7 with 15 minutes to go.

amused in seattle

January 9th, 2013
6:40 pm

Hey Larry. Its easy to pull for coach Carrol. In three playoff games with the Seahawks, he is 2-1. Whats your guys record in his last three playoff games? Oh…thats right…..0-3 OUCH!!!!!
Not going to improve this weekend

Ban KKiller

January 9th, 2013
7:06 pm

Seattle running game too much for Atlanta. Not a close game. 42 Seattle 13 Atlanta…Lynch with three running touchdowns.

Sure

January 9th, 2013
7:10 pm

WWe CCan Aall DDream KKiller.

206

January 9th, 2013
7:28 pm

Run game? what run game? who is Michael Turner? he is no Beast Mode like ours. Russell will hand off to Lynch and he will grind out the clock. What does that equal? No possession for the Falcon “high powered offense”. Have fun trying to figure out what to do about stopping the read option. The Redskins couldn’t…neither could the Bears, Cards, Niners, Patriots, Panthers, Bills, Rams, Packers, and of course the Falcons. Russell will surgically slice and dice the Falcon defense. Onward to the NFC championship when the Seahawks blow up the Niners once again!

206

January 9th, 2013
7:29 pm

It should be easy running against the 24th ranked defense in the NFL

206

January 9th, 2013
7:31 pm

old man…thanks for giving us your secret play…I’ll pass it on to coach Carroll….chuckle

206

January 9th, 2013
7:33 pm

Hey Larry! I bet if you asked nation who the coach for the Seahawks was they would know…but if you asked who the Falcons coach was I bet maybe three people would know….and they all live in Georgia….LOL

Wake me up

January 9th, 2013
7:39 pm

Onward to the NFC championship when the Seahawks blow up the Niners once again and the beer be free and my wife will be pretty!

Longtimefan

January 9th, 2013
7:45 pm

I’ll let my Falcons on Sunday do my talking. The rest is just chatter.

rm

January 9th, 2013
7:48 pm

206…is that the area code in seattle? What are you a rapper? Really astute anaylsis you graciously offered. Thanks so much I will be sure to tell our coach…Mike Smith in case the 3 folks in GA that know him arent on the boards…not to bother showing up. big tough seattle is coming to town

rm

January 9th, 2013
7:49 pm

longtimefan…well said

206

January 9th, 2013
8:57 pm

rm …..There are some smart people in that part of the country…yes, 206 is the area code of Seattle and no I’m not a rapper….sounds like a racist statement to make don’t you think? Just proud to live here where we have a major airplane manufacturer, major software companies, the best coffee in the world, and the best team in football. Go Seahawks!!! the pressure is on the Falcons….

WhiteShoes

January 9th, 2013
9:11 pm

Ya know whats funny is that the only thing about the Seahawks that I know is Bo running over Bosworth like a house of cards…that was so funny.

Winna

January 9th, 2013
10:06 pm

Devil’s gonna come down to GEORGIA come Sunday!

Winna

January 9th, 2013
10:09 pm

Seahawks have MILLER time now too!

rm

January 9th, 2013
10:57 pm

relax 206…it was a joke and I was just busting your chops. kind of like you were doing to atlanta in your earlier posts. No need to be sensitive my friend. We can talk smack with out taking it personally.