The Seattle Seahawks travel to Atlanta to take on the top-seeded Falcons tomorrow afternoon after being the only wildcard team to win their first round matchup. Despite great regular season success, the Falcons have yet to win a playoff game with fifth year quarterback Matt Ryan.
For as much that is made about the lack of playoff victories for Atlanta, however, this Falcons team seems better equipped to handle postseason football than in years past.
As long as their mediocre rushing defense can hold up against the dynamic Marshawn Lynch, the home field advantage should play a major factor in this game.
One other advantage that the Falcons will have is the absence of Chris Clemons for the Seahawks, who led Seattle in sacks during the regular season. While Seattle can still get a lot of pressure without him, Clemons’ absence should still buy Ryan more time than he might otherwise have to find his big bodied targets.
Seattle might have one of the better sets of corners in the NFL right now with Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, although Browner showed some rust early on last week after coming back from a suspension.
But going up against receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones will be one of the pair’s stiffest tests of the season. Throw in veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez and you’re looking at potential matchup issues for Seattle.
While the Seahawks have had one of the top defenses in the league this season, the Falcons have had one of the top offenses, and Matt Ryan has matured and become a leader in 2012.
Ryan has achieved career highs in nearly every category, throwing for over 4700 yards, completing nearly 69% of his passes, and connecting for 32 touchdowns while averaging 7.7 yards per pass attempt.
While rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has had a remarkable season in addition to being able to make something happen with his legs when a play breaks down, a look back at Seattle’s regular season schedule does not reveal an overly daunting list of defenses outside of the division rival 49ers. Can Wilson continue the magic?
Perhaps he will, but it still may not be enough. If the Falcons’ receivers can get the better of Seattle’s secondary, the NFC Championship game will be played in Atlanta.
Like this article? Then please subscribe to this author’s articles about the NFL by clicking the subscribe button next to the author’s name or here to receive an e-mail notification whenever a new article is posted.