After re-watching the Week 6 game against Seattle, I've come away with a few keys to victory for tomorrow's game
Establish the run early and often: The running attack was virtually non-existent the entire game. Seattle's defenders were often times in our backfield at the snap of the ball and disrupting our entire running game. Freeman had 12 carries for a total of 40 yds and 3.3 ypc. His longest run was 18 yds and he had 0 TD's. As a receiver he had 3 receptions for 10 yds and 0 TD's. Coleman didn't fare much better. He ran for a mere 10 yds on 5 carries (2.0 ypc) with his longest run being 4 yds. As far as receiving is concerned, he only had 1 reception for 7 yds and didn't reach the endzone either. Our ability to run the ball will be critical in this matchup. An effective run game will cause Seattle's defense to respect the run which will open up more plays in the play-action passing game. An effective running game will also help keep Matt Ryan upright. He was sacked 4 times and hit about 356 more. Judging from Week 6 and comments to media, Seattle will be trying to hit Ryan every chance they can. If we're able to run effectively, Seattle will have to focus more on stopping the run and less on rushing up field to kill our QB. It'll also mean that Ryan will drop back less and limit the number of times Seattle is able to hit him basically neutralizing their pass rush. A good rushing attack will be key to maintaining the dynamic, balanced attack that makes our offense so difficult to defend.
Contain Russell Wilson: Russell Wilson is one of the best in the league when it comes to extending plays with his legs and throwing on the move. For this reason, it's important that we not only pressure him while he's in the pocket but limit his scrambling ability. When defenders rush up field to sack the QB, they tend to leave open running lanes for more mobile QB's like Wilson with his 4.5 speed to take advantage of. I expect us to use a variety of stunts and QB spy's to contain him. We did this often against San Francisco (Beasley's sack) and I expect a similar strategy against Seattle. Wilson was suffering from multiple injuries in his knees and ankles in the first matchup and still managed to make some key plays when running. He'll be fully healthy this time so it's important for us to limit his running ability as much as possible
3rd Down Conversion: We were awful on third down in the first matchup, 2/10 to be exact (0/6 in the first half). Our lack of efficiency on first and second downs contributed to the poor third down conversion rate. Either way, we'll need to do a much better job converting on third downs this time around
Win the Turnover Ratio: We've been great all season in this area with a plus 11 advantage. However, the last time we played Seattle we were minus 2 in this category with one of them being in our own territory. Teams that win the turnover battle, especially by such a wide margin, typically win the game and I expect the trend to continue in this game. Quinn emphasizes the turnover margin every week and the team has embraced this mindset all season so they'll need to gain an advantage in TO's again this week to win
What are your keys to victory??