Seattle tough but Falcons have some advantages (updated)

Are the Falcons ready for Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Seahawks? (AP photo)

Are the Falcons ready for Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Seahawks? (AP photo)

(Updated: 8:50 p.m. with opening odds.)

The Falcons last won a playoff game eight years ago (47-17 over St. Louis, Jan. 15, 2005). The have lost four straight since.

For that trend to change, they are going to have to beat a Seattle team that possesses: 1) a mobile quarterback (Russell Wilson); 2) a physical defense that held Washington to only 203 yards in offense (69 after the first two possessions); and 3) a powerful running game.

So you expected easy?

But after three playoff losses in the last four years, there are several positives for the Falcons going into their match-up against Seattle, which advanced after beating the Redskins 24-14 Sunday.

UPDATE: The Falcons have opened as only a two-point favorite over the Seahawks at LVH Superbook. Since home teams generally get three points, the line effectively means Seattle is considered one point “better” than Atlanta.

1.) Beat-up factor: The Seahawks are a tough team, as evidenced by them going 7-1 in the second half of the season after being only 4-4 at the turn, and then winning a road playoff game. But the question is: What do they have left in the tank after winning an emotional and physical game over the Redskins? The win in Washington did not come easy.

• 2.) Home field factor: The Falcons will be at home, where they’ve generally dominated: 7-1 this season and 33-7 in five regular seasons. (Then again, there was that lopsided playoff loss to Green Bay in 2010.) Seattle will be making its second East Coast trip in as many weeks from the upper left corner of the U.S. There’s a potential fatigue factor there.

• 3.) Mobile quarterback factor: The Falcons didn’t face Wilson this season. But they have played and beaten three noted mobile quarterbacks this year: Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton and Michael Vick (as well as Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tony Romo, Phillip Rivers, Eli Manning and Matthew Stafford). So as impressive a season as Wilson has had, he doesn’t present a challenge the Falcons haven’t seen.

• 4.) Julio and Roddy factor: As effective as Seattle’s defense was against the Redskins, it’s worth noting Washington moved the ball effectively early, before Griffin became too beat up to run and function in the pocket. The Falcons’ primary receiving trio of Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez still gives them an advantage that any defense is going to have difficulty dealing with.

• 5) Running game factor: This is Falcons’ biggest concern. Seattle can pound it with Marshawn Lynch (who rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown Sunday). Wilson gives the running game another dimension.If the Seahawks can run, they can control the clock and keep Matt Ryan and the offense on the sideline. The Falcons’ defense struggled against the run much of this season. They improved down the stretch, but then allowed 142 yards to Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin in the season finale. (We can debate how pumped the Falcons were for that meaningless game.) The Falcons’ own running game, meanwhile, has been ineffective for most of the season. They’ll need to get something from Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers on the ground.

The Seahawks are good. But they look less daunting than the New York Giants or Green Bay Packers did the last two years.

By Jeff Schultz

407 comments Add your comment

CSP

January 6th, 2013
8:41 pm

Go Falcons!!!

Sharell, NCFalconFan

January 6th, 2013
8:43 pm

First…I hope you are right Jeff

robertussen

January 6th, 2013
8:43 pm

travel factor: seahawks have to travel cross country again and will be jetlaged

TheOnlyBravesFan

January 6th, 2013
8:44 pm

I have faith… we win a playoff game this year… face the Niners the week after, and go to the Super Bowl!!!

#RiseUp

robertussen

January 6th, 2013
8:46 pm

i should read the whole whole thing before i post you covered travel with home field

since '72

January 6th, 2013
8:48 pm

Honestly the Seahawks don’t look that tough right now..played an average game today and got lucky as heck in the end…

FalconUGAFan

January 6th, 2013
8:48 pm

Good article…Did you have 2 of them written? :)

Sheree Whitfield

January 6th, 2013
8:49 pm

I hope Seattle will be axing how they lost after next week’s game

Big Crimson 75

January 6th, 2013
8:51 pm

No more excuses.
The Seahawks are good, We are better.
We win this Game.

since '72

January 6th, 2013
8:52 pm

It is nice to sit back and watch a team get softened up for you….
Lets go Falcons, time to focus and will your way to the Superbowl. You have all the tools, now go get em!

since '72

January 6th, 2013
8:52 pm

It is nice to sit back and watch a team get softened up for you….
Lets go Falcons, time to focus and will your way to the Superbowl. You have all the tools, now go get em!

Amen

January 6th, 2013
8:52 pm

Jeff — all great points, and I totally agree. Amen!

Johnny Mottola

January 6th, 2013
8:52 pm

GO SEAHAWKS!

LDawg

January 6th, 2013
8:56 pm

Was the “arse” a Freudian slip? I am surprised it got through spellcheck…

dabo

January 6th, 2013
9:00 pm

Oh yea, and Chris Clemons may have an ACL injury. I think he had 11.5 sacks this year and he may not play.

garcia

January 6th, 2013
9:00 pm

The Seattle Seahawks were not soften-up for us; they were toughened.

I believe that we will win. To do that, the Falcons must make this game about themselves. The opposition does not matter. All that matters is optimum performance. That means everyone acting as one. Everyone focussing on playing their role to perfection. That is the Belichick way. That is the winning way.

bowfan

January 6th, 2013
9:00 pm

Rise Up Falcons! Knock off the Seahawks and you can take the rest!

They didn’t beat the Rams (Week 17) until 1:45 left 4th qtr, once you’ve got the lead don’t give up until 00:00

RG

January 6th, 2013
9:01 pm

Nice article. I think the running game may tell the tale of this game. I hope we continue to get the rock to Quiz. Jeff, you might want to get your arse back to editing your work.

YoloMan

January 6th, 2013
9:02 pm

YOLO

SEAHAWKS

FTW

YOLO

Dome

January 6th, 2013
9:04 pm

Cornfuzed

January 6th, 2013
9:04 pm

Jeff great article, but check point 1. Don’t think you meant to talk about their arse.

since '72

January 6th, 2013
9:07 pm

I agree, with you Garcia, but I bet if you ask the seahawks, they would have rather not played today…

MarkATL

January 6th, 2013
9:09 pm

Matt Ryan is no RGIII. No way Seattle can stop all of Atlanta’s weapons. It just won’t happen! :)

Nervous Bird

January 6th, 2013
9:09 pm

I’m hoping for the best, but it seems like every year we draw the hot team.
We have a very talented team that I feel is good enough to take it all the way.
I just hope they prove me wrong and play with confidence and not play scared,
Until I see them prove it in a playoff game, I will continue to be the Nervous Bird.

backatcha

January 6th, 2013
9:09 pm

One thing about Seattle is that they do not care “who you are!” They are not in the least bit impressed or concerned. They are mean, nasty, arrogant (a little too overconfident), well disciplined, well coached and probably match up best with us out of all the teams left in the playoffs besides Houston! We will be the underdog based on past operating experience and that’s not a bad thing! With all that being said, games are won in the trenches, no statistic, “expert” analysis, or prediction has ever won or lost a game! We will win and we won’t waiver from our goal of being Superbowl Champions this year!!! Just a side note: Get some rest while you can!!! Go Falcons!!!

Bopro

January 6th, 2013
9:10 pm

Seattle did not look impressive. Why should the falcons fear a rookie QB when none have ever done well in the playoffs? Even in their win, Seattle looked lucky that RG III was hurt. The falcons are in a great position to host an inexperienced team with an unaccomplished coach and a rookie running the show. After beating Peyton and Eli Manning, Breese, Vick, Rivers, Cam, RG III, and Romo, I don’t think Russel Wilson strikes much fear. Of course, we will hear how the Falcons should be terrified. I don’t think so. It’s Seattle that should worry. Watch for Julio and Roddy to have big games and Turner finally being the x factor with a few big runs of his own. Falcons 34 Seahawks 13

backatcha

January 6th, 2013
9:12 pm

Another side note: If the news is true I am glad Aaron Murray is staying one last year to take care of some unfinished business! The road will be much tougher this year, but who wants it easy (besides myself!) Go Dawgs & Go Falcons (God please be w/ us!!!)

yellowfever

January 6th, 2013
9:13 pm

Jet lag will not be a factor, these guys are professionals and will be ready. This game is easy to pick, protect Matt and we win, don’t and we lose. Simple isn’t it.

falcons_in_the_house

January 6th, 2013
9:14 pm

it’s a 10AM game for WEST coast team.. Also, We are getting healthy on D except Abe.. but Seahawks lost their BEST DE Too.. Chris Clemons

E boogie

January 6th, 2013
9:15 pm

I would like to congratulate the Sea-chickens on making it to the Superbowl. Good luck

Mr_Buckhead

January 6th, 2013
9:15 pm

Yeah baby !!!

Bring it on !!!

The co-founder of Microsoft VS the co-founder of Home Depot !!!

Yeah Baby !!! Bring it On !!!

A week off…at the GA Dome…

GO FALCONS !!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

January 6th, 2013
9:17 pm

Matt Ryan has thrown intermediate and deep passes this year a lot better than he has in past years. If this was last year, I’d give the Seattle secondary the advantage. This year, I think things will be different. Don’t know how far the Falcons will go but I think they break their playoff drought on Sunday, and if nothing else I think the passing game comes to play.

Nervous Bird

January 6th, 2013
9:17 pm

The lack of a running game with Tip Toe Turner scares me to death against that Seattle’s front four.
There will be holes made, but they will not be open long enough for TTT to get throuigh tthem. Gotta use Quez more getting to the hole quicker.

JSS

January 6th, 2013
9:21 pm

You never stopped Newton and a team with less weapons… Garcia said it all, this is going to be war, and you’re not going to scare them off of the running game… The general lack of respect for Wilson and the Seahawks on these blogs just reinforces the widely held feeling, it is going to hurt doubly bad…

If the Seahawks show any return to form with a game on the road under their belts (especially the red zone defense), just pray they have jetlag!

Nomad

January 6th, 2013
9:21 pm

Game result will depend on who hungers the most for a victory. Falcons will have past failures weighing on them. Seattle does not. Past performance this year against teams that the Falcons should have beaten leads me to believe that Seattle gets lucky and defeats Atlanta by a small margin.

MarkATL

January 6th, 2013
9:23 pm

I don’t think there’s enough coffee in Seattle to keep the Hawks awake in next week’s game. Falcons will win BIG! :)

LOL at the Aints

January 6th, 2013
9:24 pm

Seahags look pretty good, if the Falcons show up we should win this game,

JSS

January 6th, 2013
9:26 pm

“Weapons?” All due respect to “those weapons,” ask Tom Brady how that works…

Bartow Falcon

January 6th, 2013
9:27 pm

I’m just SOOO glad we don’t have to play Green Bay until the NFC championship game.

seahawks-better-then-ur-team-lol

January 6th, 2013
9:28 pm

when u look at the teams that have beaten other teams with winning records we were the best we traveled the 2nd most miles out of every team in the nfl i think they were the last to have their bi-week and we have the only rookie qtr back still in the playoffs and if u look at the stats the redskins are arguably better then the falcons lol i dont think that the san fran can win against the packers the broncos won a lot of games but they beat a bunch of nobody’s haha were unstoppable time for the rest of the nation to realize it an bow down to the greatness that is the seattle motha ##ckin seahawks!!!

Old Goober

January 6th, 2013
9:28 pm

The lack of a running game with Tip Toe Turner scares me to death against that Seattle’s front four.

Ditto. Most teams would have discarded Turner during the first half of the season. Rogers can get some yards, but he’s too small to be durable. Without a running game, Matt Ryan is dead meat.

LOL at the Aints

January 6th, 2013
9:31 pm

So JSS,, your’re a big Seattle fan of the sudden LOL,,,

backatcha

January 6th, 2013
9:32 pm

Bopro, Brady was in the same predicament 12 years ago. Why we should be afraid, very afraid b/c Seattle is hungry, passionate, confident (overly), nothing to lose & they believe that they can compete w/ & beat anybody! NO inferiority complex from this team! It’s not like New England in the early 2000’s or San Francisco & Dallas in the 90’s. I believe they would rather play Atlanta than San Francisco or Green Bay! Our resume for the “regular” season is quite impressive but everyone in the playoffs start at 0-0! If we win 34-13 it won’t be easy, as a matter of fact, it will be our toughest game of the season. Seattle has the potential to come into Atlanta, and win, so we can’t let complacency & overconfidence slip in! We will not be favored going into this game, but the Falcons “ain’t your ordinary birds” either! Lets get this win Falcons!!! Go Falcons!!!

Dr. Phil

January 6th, 2013
9:32 pm

I recall an ESPN piece on Pete Carroll’s outreach program to underprivileged kids in LA. He dropped those kids like a hot rock when the NCAA came after USC. Too bad coaches don’t go on probation. Carroll is Bobby Petrino in sheep’s clothing.

FAlco1

January 6th, 2013
9:32 pm

The falcons should have no problem with seattle—they are overrated. Playing in the dome, atlanta wins by 13 to get ready for SF in the title game.

Teddy Riley

January 6th, 2013
9:33 pm

I’ve watched most of all the playoff game this weekend and I wasn’t impressed with the quarterbacks with the exception of A. Rogers and Flacco just a little. RGIII is a good quarterback, but still a rookie and had that leg injury. RWIII is a fearless quarterback that can hurt you if you’re not sound in your pass rush or tackling dept. Atlanta will blitz and I’m curious to see what blitz packages M. Nolan has for the Hawks. You know the Seahawks Richard Sherman will probably be matched up with Roddy White. Roddy probably wants Richard Sherman to guard him cause Roddy is very physically agressive with someone that talks trash. Maybe Richard Sherman will try to guard Julio, but that will be an interesting matchup, nontheless. I think Atlanta has more weapons of talent on both sides of the ball. Spoon has the speed and quickness to get to Wilson and I’m glad Willie Moe will be back at full strength-we’ll need him. Falcons 30 Seahawks 27

LOL at the Aints

January 6th, 2013
9:35 pm

Personnaly I think if RG3 had not been injured the mighty Seahawks would probably had their you know what handed to them,, but we’ll never know,,

jimbob

January 6th, 2013
9:35 pm

Seattle does not look as good as any of the teams that have knocked out the Falcons in recent seasons. No excuses, the Falcons should win this game.

Bartow Falcon

January 6th, 2013
9:35 pm

Hey seahawks -better-then-ur team-lol : They have a giant replica of your team logo on the corner of Roswell Rd. and Hiway 41 in Marietta. Make sure you go see it when you come to Atlanta.

technut

January 6th, 2013
9:38 pm

Big difference in this game is our offense and MR2: he’s got the savvy from years of experience and we will go no huddle where Russell still can’t do that…when the game is on the line MR will make plays and RW will make mistakes.