Matchup to watch: Falcons versus Seahawks

Posted on Jan 11 2017 - 8:23pm by Chase Irle

Atlanta Falcons’ offensive line vs. the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive line

The Falcons versus the Seahawks is one of the best matchups you could have asked for in the divisional round. There are stars all over the field resulting in numerous key matchups across the board. Richard Sherman, one of the league’s best cornerbacks, will have to matchup with possibly the best wide receiver in the league in Julio Jones. However, these two teams met up in week 6, and like most games, the battle in the trenches is where the game was won.

In the first half of that week 6 matchup, the Falcons had all sorts of problems getting into an offensive rhythm. That has not happened much all season, but Seattle’s suffocating defense was not allowing anything to get going, and that starts up front with the defensive line. Matt Ryan was under constant duress in the first half. His receivers were not getting into their breaks, and Atlanta was held to just three points at halftime.

The second half was a totally different story. The Falcons’ offensive line, which has become one of the best in the NFL, turned the game around by dominating the Seahawks’ defensive line. They were able to give Matt Ryan all day to throw in the third quarter, and he torched the Seahawks’ secondary, throwing for over 200 yards and 3 TDs in the third quarter alone. The Falcons ended up losing the game in extraordinary fashion, but the offensive line was dominant in the second half.

The Seattle pass rush has been one of the best in the league for a while now. Michael Bennett leads a group that got after Mathew Stafford in the Wild Card round. They were a huge part in why Stafford was only able to muster 205 yards passing, and why the Lions only managed to score 6 points on the evening.

Atlanta’s offensive line received a huge boost coming into the season with the addition of Alex Mack. He has been not only a stellar player for the Falcons, but a leader on the offensive line that Atlanta desperately needed. The line has also benefited from continuity. They have all been able to stay healthy and play nearly every snap together as a group. That continuity should help them significantly come playoff time and hopefully help deliver a great performance Saturday against the Seattle.

 With the Seahawks missing Earl Thomas in the matchup, the focus shifts even more to the Seattle defensive line. The Falcons receiving core is absolutely terrific, and the Seattle secondary has no chance at staying with them for a long period of time without Earl Thomas. If Seattle’s pass rush does not get after Matt Ryan early and often on Saturday, it is going to be a long day for the Seahawks.

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