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Yasinskas: Quick Take: Seahawks At Falcons


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Quick Take: Seahawks at Falcons

Jan 6 7:33 PM ET

By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com

Five things to know about next Sunday’s Seattle Seahawks-Atlanta Falcons game at the Georgia Dome:

1. Red-hot Seahawks. For the third straight year, the Falcons could be facing an opponent that’s peaking at the right time. Last year, Atlanta lost to the New York Giants in the wild-card round. The year before that, the Falcons lost to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round. Both the Giants and the Packers went on to win the Super Bowl. Even before Sunday’s 24-14 victory against the Washington Redskins in the wild-card round, the Seahawks had won their last five regular-season games and seven of their last eight.

2. Strength on strength. Led by quarterback Matt Ryan, receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones and tight end Tony Gonzalez, an offense that ranked in the top 10 all season is Atlanta’s biggest strength. But the Falcons are going to be facing a defense that allowed a league-low 245 points (15.3) points a game. The Seahawks haven’t given up more than 17 points in a game since Week 12 and only allowed more than 20 points once in the second half of the regular season.

3. Triple trouble. Atlanta’s defense could have its hands full with this matchup. We’ve heard a lot about the brilliant rookie season by Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. He can pass, although he doesn’t have big-time playmakers at wide receiver. Wilson also can run out of the read option and the Falcons have some experience with that after facing Carolina’s Cam Newton (twice) and Washington’s Robert Griffin III during the regular season. But Seattle also often uses a traditional running game with Marshawn Lynch and that could be the biggest concern of all. The Falcons had trouble with power running games much of the season and ranked No. 21 against the run. The Falcons used their nickel package a lot in the regular season, but I think you might see them switch to a heavy dose of their 4-3 base defense with middle linebacker Akeem Dent getting a lot of playing time to try to counter Lynch.

4. Home in the dome. The whole world knows the Falcons are 0-3 in the postseason in the Ryan-Mike Smith era. But two of those losses came on the road. Since Ryan arrived in 2008, he’s 33-5 at home in the regular season. Prior to a meaningless loss to Tampa Bay in the regular-season finale, the Falcons had won 11 straight home games. Despite their impressive win at Washington on Sunday, the Seahawks weren’t a great road team this season. They were 3-5 on the road during the regular season.

5. Getting healthy. While the Seahawks will come out of the wild-card round with some bumps and bruises, the Falcons look to be about as healthy as possible. The bye week gave defensive end John Abraham time to rest an ankle injury and cornerback Dunta Robinson time to get over a concussion. Strong safety William Moore, who missed the final four games of the regular season with a hamstring injury, returned to practice Saturday and should be at full strength for Sunday.

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Good read OP. Two of my biggest concerns are containing Lynch and Wison. Yeah Lynch can tear off some yardage. But look at some of those lanes Wilson had yesterday and the yardage he got. Dude had a reg. season avg. of 5.2 YPC.

I would imagine that Atlanta will use Biermann a good bit to "spy" Wilson. The hard-running Lynch worries me more though. Evidently Atlanta will use its base defense more to try to counteract Lynch. However, that means more of MLB Dent, who is improving somewhat, but still lacks something to be desired against a strong running attack.

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The Falcons D must get penetration and stop Lynch before he can get any down field momentum going. They also must wrap up Lynch and Wilson when they tackle them. They've been was too lax with their tackling all year. It's time to wrap up and bring these guys to the turf and forget all the hit'em and bounce off crap for this game.

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Everyone in the media seems to think the Falcons are in some trouble against Seattle.

The Falcons were built for THIS game. The whole season has been about getting to the playoffs and showing up. We do that against Seattle and beyond. Seattle and any of our other opponents need to start fearing us. Enough about hyping these other teams. It's our time to shine!!

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The skins wrs were runnning open pretty much all night.

Then the skins just totally got away from the run which was killing the hawks.

that's the part that's been killing me about Seattles corners. RG3 overshot a lot of wide open dudes cause he was too gimpy to make the throws. if they play us like that, it's gonna be a long day for Seattle

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Quick Take: Seahawks at Falcons

Jan 6 7:33 PM ET

By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com

5. Getting healthy. While the Seahawks will come out of the wild-card round with some bumps and bruises, the Falcons look to be about as healthy as possible. .

ok, let me understand, an injury which requires surgery to correct is just a bump/bruise? Ok, maybe their pass rusher will be back after they ice his knee Pat.

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Falcons need to blitz Russell Wilson

Jan 7 12:15 PM ET

By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com

Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan isn’t going to give out his game plan in advance. But it’s pretty obvious what the Falcons need to do against the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday’s playoff game.

They need to blitz Russell Wilson often. I’m not just saying that because Wilson is a rookie coming into a loud and hostile environment. I’m saying that because the numbers say it’s a no-brainer for the Falcons to come after Wilson with extra pass rushers.

Let’s turn to ESPN Stats & Information for some support.

First off, although the Falcons used the blitz somewhat sparingly (relative to other teams) during the regular season, they had tremendous success with it. When sending at least five pass rushers, the Falcons allowed opponents to complete only 50.3 percent of their passes – a figure that put Atlanta at No. 3 in the league. Opponents completed 81 of 161 passes for 1,046 yards with four touchdowns, six interceptions and 11 sacks.

When the Falcons weren’t blitzing, the results were pretty ordinary. When sending four or fewer pass rushers, the Falcons allowed opponents to complete 256 of 390 passes (that 65.6 percent figure ranked No. 22 in the NFL) for 3,014 yards with 10 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and 18 sacks.

Now, let’s look at it from another angle. Wilson was far less accurate when he had to deal with the blitz. Against five or more pass rushers, Wilson completed 58.5 percent of his passes. When facing four or fewer pass rushers, Wilson completed 66.5 percent of his throws.

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