Seattle Seahawks vs Atlanta Falcons

Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons: I think it is important to stress how crucial Free Safety Earl Thomas is to the Seahawks. We aren’t just talking about a dynamic play-maker or a hard hitter, we are talking about the leader of the NFL’s most feared defense. Since the hard-hitting defender went down, the Seahawks have allowed a 105.06 passer rating in five complete games. Improving upon that number will not get any easier, as they face Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and an explosive pass attack that averaged 294 passing yards per game (including sacks). With Thomas out, extra pressure will be put on Steven Terrell, a fourth year safety out of Texas A & M. Russell Wilson has been spectacular this season. His statistics don’t do him justice, but he has gone through several ankle and lower body injuries this season and has yet to miss a game. The Seahawks realize that him playing at 75% is almost always better than most teams quarterbacks playing at 100%. His energetic style has led the Seahawks to wins in the postseason every single year since he became a starter. For most Seahawks fans, it probably feels like there has been an endless carousel of starting running backs this season. With Thomas Rawls brutal ankle injury last season, the Seahawks have bounced around with Christine Michael, CJ Prosise, and Alex Collins, all while Rawls was rehabbing from his injury. With Michael now on the Packers, Collins struggling, and Prosise injured, Rawls has returned as the lead man for Seattle. It was somewhat questioned leading up to last week, but after a stellar performance that left even Seahawks players surprised, Rawls has returned to being the shifty back he was last season.
The Atlanta Falcons made it clear in the off season that their gonna build on a defense that sacked the quarterback a mere 19 times. They did just that improving from 19 to 34, the biggest increase of any team. The emergence of quick edge rusher Vic Beasley and rookies Deion Jones and Keanu Neal, the Falcons transformed from a mediocre defense to a respectable one. Neal has quickly developed into the exciting play-maker the Falcons expected him to be after picking him seventeenth overall in the draft. For how much can be said about the improvement of the Falcons defense, twice as much can be said about their fantastic offense that ranked second in the NFL in yards. Their ability to run the football opens up room for them to spread the field with Julio Jones who is second in the NFL with twenty seven 20 plus yard catches despite missing a couple of games. The Falcons running game, spearheaded by Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, both smaller shifty backs have helped the Falcons attain over 120 rushing yards per game (5th in the league). For all of the close calls that Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has had in his career, it is about time for him to win. He has gone through offensive coordinator after offensive coordinator, limited production from his running backs, and offensive lines that have struggled. Finally, this season he has found the perfect mix setting career highs in: passing yards, passing touchdowns, yards per attempt, quarterback rating, completion percentage, QBR, and interceptions (least amount). Ryan has always been known as a big bodied quarterback with good pocket presence and a cannon arm, but has never really been known for being much of an athlete. This season I have been impressed with his mobility and even when he is not moving out of the pocket, his movement in the pocket is very impressive. He bounces around in the pocket waiting for one of his receivers to get open.
I have Atlanta in this one. Seattle is coming off of a dominant week offensively, but I still don’t like their chances on the road against a well rested Atlanta Falcons. It is important to note that not only did Seattle go a sub par 3-4-1 on the road, but quarterback Russell Wilson’s stats decreased in almost every single category. If (and this is a big if) the Seahawks can somehow shut down wide receiver Julio Jones and force the Falcons to become dependent on their secondary options I think Seattle would win. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, Jones torched them with 139 yards in their meeting before Earl Thomas’s injury.

About Sports Talk with Ari

I am a 14 year old sports blogger!
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