This game probably has the Atlanta Falcons feeling anxious for revenge. The Seattle Seahawks met the Falcons in week 6 and the game ended with a huge controversy. Many people feel that the Falcons were “screwed” out of that game with the no call on what looked to be a CLEAR pass interference by Richard Sherman on Julio Jones in the final seconds. That being said, the Falcons still had a good season. They finished with an 11-5 record and won the NFC South division. Seattle had a good season as well, but they struggled a bit with consistency on offense and lost their pro bowl safety in Earl Thomas. They still won the NFC West division where they finished 10-5-1. Let’s remember Seattle is known for being a much more dangerous team in the postseason. Where Atlanta is a team that seems to always fall apart during playoff time. Will that be the case for this game between these two rivals?
The Atlanta Falcons just seems to be a different team this year. They have always had a stout offense led by Julio Jones and Matt Ryan, a.k.a. Matty Ice. But what’s different from past seasons is they have the 8th overall ranked defense behind pro bowl pass rusher Vic Beasley. Beasley finished the season 1st in the NFL in sacks with 15.5. Let’s not forget they also have a rushing attack that has drastically improved from 2015. They were 5th in the NFL in rushing this season, averaging just over 12o yards per game. This is much better than 2015, where they were ranked 19th and only averaging 100 yards per game. Those have moved the Falcons from being a good team to a great team. Matt Ryan is a front-runner for the MVP award and is having the best season of his career. People are thinking Matt Ryan will struggle against that Seattle defense but let’s look back to their week 6 matchup. He threw for 335 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Not too bad of numbers if you ask me. The Falcons defense going up against the Seahawks offense is where this game will be decided.
We all know that when it comes to playoff time, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks are a completely different team. They just find ways to win big games and leave people thinking, “where was this in the regular season?”. Seattle’s offense is coming off a mediocre season where they struggled to run the ball after Marshawn Lynch retired. Thomas Rawls, who was expected to replace Lynch, was injured most of the season. Even when he was healthy, he still looked inconsistent and had some thinking he wouldn’t even be their starter. He silenced all of the regular season noise after his huge performance in the wild card round where he rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown against the Lions. The key to this game is that the Seahawks aren’t playing with the 12th man. In their last 26 playoff games (excluding super bowls) they are 3-10 when playing as the away team. The proof is in the pudding when it comes to saying that Seattle just isn’t the same when they play as the away team.
This game will come down to which offense can sustain drives and keep their defense off the field. The Seahawks defense has 4 pro bowlers and their offense may have got the confidence boost they needed against the Detroit Lions. That all being said, I believe the Atlanta Falcons will win this game 27-21. The Falcons will have their hands full and the score will most likely be close. But Matt Ryan will finally silence the critics and lead his team to the NFC conference championship. This will be the game where he finally earns the right to be called Matty Ice.