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Falcons vs Seahawks: Key Matchups


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Gentlemen, 

Back with a playoff matchups preview. Preferably click the link, but if you can't, give it a read and let me know your thoughts.

Thanks! #InBrotherhood 

 

http://profootballspot.com/nfl/news/nfl/nfc-south/atlanta-falcons/falcons-vs-seahawks-key-matchups-r3304/

The Atlanta Falcons are set to take on the Seattle Seahawks this Saturday at 4:25 in the Georgia Dome. The Falcons secured the number two seed in the playoffs, while the Seahawks secured the number three seed. Earlier this season, the Seahawks defeated the Falcons 26-24 in Seattle in a tightly contested and controversial game. The rematch looks to be another excellent matchup on paper and here are three key matchups to keep a close eye on during the game. 

1. Vic Beasley vs Gary Gilliam

It can be argued that most NFL playoff games are decided in the trenches, and this matchup will be critical in deciding the outcome of that battle. Vic Beasley led the NFL with 15.5 sacks and 6 forced fumbles this season. He will be lined up across from Seattle's right tackle Gary Gilliam on Saturday. According to Pro Football Focus, Seattle earned the lowest pass blocking grade in the NFL this season. Gilliam will have his hands full with Beasley and will likely receive help from a tight end or running back. If Beasley consistently wins this battle and keeps Russell Wilson under duress, the Falcons defense could force critical turnovers that give their juggernaut offense an extra possession. 

2. Taylor Gabriel vs Jeremy Lane/DeShawn Shead

Atlanta has a creative offensive coordinator in Kyle Shannahan who understands the matchups he can exploit throughout a game. In the Denver game earlier this season, Shannahan used running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in the passing game to take advantage of Denver's slower linebackers. In this matchup against Seattle, Shannahan could use a similar strategy with explosive wide receiver Taylor Gabriel. Seattle's two cornerbacks that would likely be tasked with covering Gabriel will be Jeremy Lane and DeShawn Shead. They are both taller and more physical corners but lack the elite foot speed Gabriel possesses. There will be points during the game where Seattle will play man to man coverage in order to double Julio Jones and when they do, expect Taylor Gabriel to see some targets deep down the field. 

3. Keanu Neal vs Thomas Rawls

Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn's background is in the Seattle 4-3 under defense that relies on a physical presence from the strong safety to slow down the opponents running game. In Atlanta, that presence is rookie Keanu Neal, who has quickly made a name for himself as a hard hitting physical safety. Neal forced 5 fumbles this year and was a force against the run game. Seattle's Thomas Rawls ran for 161 yards against Detroit in the wild card round and his name will be called a lot in this game due to Atlanta's lackluster run defense. The key for the Falcons is Neal, who will spend a lot of time near the line of scrimmage and will have chances to blow up plays in the backfield or making game changing hits. 

 

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7 minutes ago, SnellingSomethingGood said:

1. Vic Beasley vs Gary Gilliam

It can be argued that most NFL playoff games are decided in the trenches, and this matchup will be critical in deciding the outcome of that battle. Vic Beasley led the NFL with 15.5 sacks and 6 forced fumbles this season. He will be lined up across from Seattle's right tackle Gary Gilliam on Saturday. According to Pro Football Focus, Seattle earned the lowest pass blocking grade in the NFL this season. Gilliam will have his hands full with Beasley and will likely receive help from a tight end or running back. If Beasley consistently wins this battle and keeps Russell Wilson under duress, the Falcons defense could force critical turnovers that give their juggernaut offense an extra possession. 

Love this matchup. Beasley might get 3 sacks. 

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50 minutes ago, SnellingSomethingGood said:
3. Keanu Neal vs Thomas Rawls

Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn's background is in the Seattle 4-3 under defense that relies on a physical presence from the strong safety to slow down the opponents running game. In Atlanta, that presence is rookie Keanu Neal, who has quickly made a name for himself as a hard hitting physical safety. Neal forced 5 fumbles this year and was a force against the run game. Seattle's Thomas Rawls ran for 161 yards against Detroit in the wild card round and his name will be called a lot in this game due to Atlanta's lackluster run defense. The key for the Falcons is Neal, who will spend a lot of time near the line of scrimmage and will have chances to blow up plays in the backfield or making game changing hits. 

 

As much as is being made of Rawls, he's no David Johnson and isn't used nearly as much in the passing game.  If we can recall, DJ only got 58 yards rushing on us and I think that's the limit of Rawls here as well.  Procise might be a whole different animal in the passing game if he plays healthy but he's not likely to be very sharp after the time he's missed. I think our main focus here is not Rawls so much as it is Jimmy Graham. If Neal can administer one of his special hits on Graham early in the game, he's likely to become a much smaller factor because he doesn't like to get hit! 

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