Falcons vs. Seahawks: Revenge is a dish best served in the Georgia Dome
By Phil Wilds
Round two of the Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks cannot get here fast enough.
The Atlanta Falcons endured five losses this year, but none more painful than the October 16th loss at CenturyLink Field. The Falcons gave up the lead on a 44-yard, Steve Hauschka field goal with less than two minutes remaining. Atlanta still had a chance to win, but Matt Ryan’s deep ball to Julio Jones hit the turf on a 4th and 10 play.
Many fans, including myself, believe that new Falcons’ nemesis, Richard Sherman, committed a blatant pass interference on the final play. That play has eaten at us for two-and-a-half months, but the chance at revenge comes tomorrow.
Atlanta plays host to the Seattle Seahawks with a trip to the NFC title game on the line. It’s in “our house” this time around; our fans and our energy. This isn’t the same Atlanta Falcons team that fell a few points shy of knocking off the “12th man” back in Week 6. Atlanta has been much better both sides of the ball since then. I can’t say the same for Seattle.
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Offensively, we can expect Atlanta to put up their typically-high numbers against a less-than-100 percent Seattle defense. Matt “MVP” Ryan is once again primed for a huge game. I believe the Falcons will also put together a better rushing attack than they did during the first Seattle contest.
The Falcons’ defense has also grown up significantly since the beginning of the season. Expect another big game from hard-hitting rookie, Keanu “Willie Snead is still asleep” Neal. Atlanta corners Jalen Collins and Robert Alford have come into their own since Desmond Trufant went on season-ending injured reserve.
The in-game match-up to watch will be any time Julio Jones lines up on the left side of the Seattle defense. We all know how great “Jones vs. Sherman” was the first time around. Another interesting match-up will occur if and when Vic Beasley is running down Russell Wilson outside the pocket.
Chancellor is back, but the more important presence of Earl Thomas will be missed.
Seahawks’ fans gripe is they were missing safety Kam Chancellor and running back Thomas Raws back in Week 6. Chancellor is back, but the more important presence of Earl Thomas will be missed. I fully expect Matt Ryan to exploit this by looking deep early. Rawls will be the new threat, having exploded for 161 yards and a touchdown vs. Detroit last weekend.
The Falcons weren’t overly impressive at home (5-3), but Seattle has been atrocious (3-4-1) on the road this season. The Seahawks’ road woes include a 6-6 tie at Arizona and a loss to the Rams. Tomorrow won’t be any easier as the crowd inside the dome will be drowning out Seattle’s offense. You can also expect the “MVP” chants to be louder for Matt Ryan than they were back in Week 17.
I like the Atlanta Falcons to win the game behind the strength and passion of a sold out, Georgia Dome crowd. This may be the venue’s last game ever. The Falcons will get out to an early lead, Seattle will battle back, and Atlanta pulls away late. If I had one wish, the final score of the game is a Matt Ryan bomb to Julio Jones…with Richard Sherman draped all over him.