Can the Bird Gang defeat the ‘Hawks in Seattle

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 16: Free safety Earl Thomas
SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 16: Free safety Earl Thomas /

Atlanta Falcons have an opportunity to further prove themselves Monday. They will take on a tough, but injured Seattle Seahawks team.

The Atlanta Falcons will face the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night. This matchup has playoff implications, and is a must win for the Falcons. The Dirty Birds will need to play their best game of the season in order to beat the Seahawks in Seattle.

“It’s who makes the fewer mistakes in this game,” Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones said of Monday’s game versus the Seattle Seahawks. To avoid errors you need good timing, and the Falcons’ timing, though you might as well call it serendipity, has been impeccable as of late. Atlanta’s Sunday game against the Dallas Cowboys coincided with the first game of Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension (which is apparently going to actually take this time), and while we’re not about to take away from what the Falcons achieved in the 27-7 win (such as Matt Ryan’s two touchdowns in yet another 200-yard game), the fact remains that the Cowboys sans Elliott are half as dangerous as they usually are.

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The Falcons’ lucky streak continues on Monday when they take on a Seahawks. A team that, while coming off a bye week, is far from the same team that defeated the Arizona Cardinals on November 9th. That victory didn’t come without a few sacrifices, namely Richard Sherman, Cliff Avril and CJ Prosise, who are all on injured reserve, while Kam Chancellor is questionable (and will quite possibly be replaced by Bradley McDougald). Earl Thomas and Jarran Reed have injured hamstrings, but have not ruled out playing against the Falcons. The ‘Hawks are likely to rely on the increasingly dependable Jimmy Graham, who has six touchdown catches in the last five games, including two against the Cards.

Graham and the rest of Seattle’s offense, however, will face a tough challenge in the surging Falcons defense. Atlanta is tied for 10th in the league with 19.9 points allowed per game, and rank 7th with 311.9 yards allowed per contest. Moreover, defensive end Adrian Clayborn recorded a franchise-record six (of eight overall) sacks against the Cowboys, which earned him NFC Defensive Player of the Week honours. This is bad news for Seattle starting quarterback Russell Wilson, who has been sacked 23 times this year. Wilson leads the Seahawks in rushing yards with 209 on 51 carries.

"“Without a doubt he’s special as far as how he scrambles,” Atlanta defensive tackle Grady Jarrett said. “He scrambles to make big plays, and he’s made them over and over again so that shows you that he has a trait, a knack for making big plays.”"

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While the defense is rolling, the offense continues to struggle. The Falcons are averaging 21.9 points per game, still a far cry from their 33.8 points per game last season. to compound matters, running back Devonta Freeman is on concussion protocol following an injury in the second play of the game against Dallas, leaving Tevin Coleman to bear the brunt of the ground attack, though he acquitted himself fairly well, Coleman did, with a career-best-matching 20 carries (only the ninth time over 34 career games that he has rushed 10 or more times in a game) for a season-best 83 rushing yards. Additionally, Coleman, who, like Freeman, is known for being a very receptive back, has 17 catches for 23-yards (11.9 yards per catch) and two touchdowns.