Is Matt Ryan ready to lead the Atlanta Falcons to that elusive playoff win over the Seattle Seahawks?
Here is the Pick for Seahawks vs. Falcons
Seahawks vs. Falcons - The Falcons have been one of the winningest teams in the NFL the past five years. Mike Smith has emerged as one of the top coaches, and Matt Ryan has become a top QB. But with all of the success the Falcons have had, one thing has eluded them. Winning in the playoffs. And during this five-year stretch, this will be their fourth playoff game, but they’ve lost all three before this one.
This fact has become a thorn in the side of the Falcons, and despite the fact that they have become a consistent winner in the league, many pundits and analysts have been reluctant to jump on the Falcons bandwagon due to their lack of success in the playoffs. With a win over the Seahawks, the Falcons can begin to put that reality behind them. But lose, and the stigma of playoff futility will haunt Smith, Ryan and the Falcons for a whole other season.
The pressure is squarely on the Falcons, and the Seahawks come in as one of the hottest teams in the league. Coach Pete Carroll is pushing all the right buttons, and QB Russell Wilson has emerged as the leader in a remarkable rookie season. There isn’t nearly as much pressure on the Seahawks as there is on the Falcons, and I expect them to play with poise in the hostile environment of the Georgia Dome.
However, even though they beat the Redskins last week there is a part of me that feels that if the Redskins had a healthy Robert Griffin III in that game, it would be the Redskins facing the Falcons and not the Seahawks. The Redskins had control of that game until it became apparent that Griffin III could no longer perform at the level he started the game at.
I bring this point up, because the Seahawks will not be facing a hobbled QB this week. They will be facing a QB in Matt Ryan who will be on a mission to win, and has had an MVP caliber season. The Seahawks will also be missing one of their best pass rushers in Chris Clemons, and while rookie Bruce Irvin is an adequate replacement, losing Clemons is still a big loss against a QB like Matt Ryan.
Also, the Falcons defense is better than the Redskins, especially in the secondary. So Russell Wilson should face a greater challenge in the passing game. Another advantage is the Falcons nearly went unbeaten in the Georgia Dome this season at 7-1, and Matt Ryan rarely loses there. I think this is the week the Falcons exorcise the demons of playoffs past, and fly to the NFC Championship game. Falcons win. 28-21 – Falcons
- Final Word: Seahawks at Falcons (espn.go.com)
- Seattle Seahawks vs. Atlanta Falcons Divisional Playoff Preview (bleacherreport.com)
- CBS Local Predictions: Divisional Playoffs (tampa.cbslocal.com)