We continue our “Falcons 50” countdown with a look at the biggest games of the 2016 for the Atlanta Falcons. You can follow along with the full countdown here.
Falcons five biggest games of 2016 #4: @ Seattle Seahawks, Week 6
This will be tipped as Dan Quinn’s homecoming. As defensive coordinator, Quinn helped the Seattle Seahawks reach two straight Super Bowls, winning the first in emphatic style over the Denver Broncos.
Quinn is aiming to build a similar defense with the Falcons, but now he returns to Seattle as the enemy.
But this game is much more than just Quinn’s return to CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks are an NFC powerhouse looking to reach a third Super Bowl in four years. A suffocating defense as well as one of the league’s best young quarterbacks has seen them dominate in recent years, particularly at home.
This will be a huge challenge for this Falcons team early in the season. They will need to go into one of the most hostile environments in all of football and stand tall against a heavyweight. The Falcons have got the better of the past five meetings of the two teams, however.
Last five meetings with Seahawks
November 10, 2013: Seahawks 33, Falcons 10
January 13, 2013: Falcons 30, Seahawks 28*
October 2, 2011: Falcons 30, Seahawks 28
December 19, 2010: Falcons 34, Seahawks 18
December 30, 2007: Falcons 44, Seahawks 41
*Indicates playoff game
Of the past five games between Atlanta and Seattle, it’s the Falcons who have come out on top. The Seahawks won the most recent meeting in 2013, a convincing 33-10 victory. Quinn was defensive coordinator and they would go onto win the Super Bowl.
Times have changed, but what’s clear is these two don’t meet all that often in the regular season — they have done so just three times since 2007.
Teams that have succeeded in Seattle have been able to control the clock with a strong run game. Behind an ever-improving offensive line, Devonta Freeman might hold the key. Julio Jones will need to play at his best to overcome the “Legion of Boom”, while Matt Ryan will have to be ultra careful with the football, but not scared to throw deep.
Defensively, there will be no Marshawn Lynch to worry about, but there are a number of playmakers to slow down, none less than quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson is a pass-first quarterback, but it’s hard to ignore his unique rushing ability.
Overcoming Seattle on the road is a tall order. After all, they are 24-5 at home over the past three years.
If Quinn can pull out a victory over Pete Carroll, it might be his greatest accomplishment as a head coach yet.