After last weekend’s wild-card playoff games came to a close the stage was finally set for the Falcons as they play host to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in the Georgia Dome in a NFC divisional game.
Let’s jump right in and put it all on the table, according to commentators, journalists and sports gurus across the nation the Atlanta Falcons are probably the least respected team in the playoffs. The justification behind their rationale is that the Falcons have yet to show up in the playoffs.
But this year is a different year and a different type of game, and I’ll tell you why.
First off I will admit that the Seahawks are the NFC’s momentum team going into the playoffs. They’re comparable to the New York Giants team that won the Super Bowl last year and the Green Bay Packers team that won the year before that. The Seahawks are winners of their last seven games and have caught fire at the right time. But I feel that the Falcons are in the perfect position to defeat them.
Look at it this way; the Seahawks are in a difficult position to win despite their seven consecutive victories. For one the Seahawks will be road-weary from all of the traveling. For the second week in a row the Seahawks have to travel cross-country. They managed to avoid this during the regular season, but now that it’s the playoffs it is a lot more difficult to knock off more talented teams.
On paper there’s no doubt that the Falcons are one of the NFL’s strongest teams. As part of their 13-3 record, they went 7-1 in the Georgia Dome, only losing the season finale against Tampa Bay. The most impressive part of their home resume was the 34-0 shutout of Eli Manning and the Giants in Week 15.
The Seahawks’ weapon number one is rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, who in my opinion is a viable candidate for MVP. Unfortunately he will face a Falcons defense that’s only allowed an average of 17 points per game, plus the Falcons will have Dunta Robinson and John Abraham back in the lineup so this will be Wilson’s toughest challenge thus far.
Weapon number two Marshawn Lynch was recently listed as having a sprained foot. He’s missed practice most of the week but is probable for the Falcons game. I expect the injury will hinder Lynch and the Falcons should be able to contain him.
The biggest thing to watch will be matchup against the Falcons’ receivers and the Seahawks’ defensive backs. Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner simply won’t be able to contain Roddy White and Julio Jones.
The Falcons cannot and will not lose this game. The overall hunger and wanting to put the playoff shortcomings of the past behind them makes the Falcons a better team. The Falcons have a feel for what they need to do to make it to the Super Bowl.
I pick the Falcons in this one, 27-17.