Home, sweet home..The Seahawks have a great opportunity here. Looking at the match ups I feel like the Falcons have so many areas vulnerable to attack, we may win despite our sluggish offensive performances up to now.I tend to disagree with the pundits who say that the Falcons have an identity crisis. I believe its more about their offensive line, lack of confidence in their run game, and what the falcons feel gives them the best shot to win. You will never convince me that a coach would refuse to use a well oiled running game, just because of the draft deal made for a rookie WR (Julio Jones). Not going to happen. I fully expect the Falcons to give their running game another shot in the beginning of Sundays game, and if they can find any success, that will be big trouble for the Seahawks. Thing is, at Century Link, against our top rated run defense, I’ll submit that Matty Ice will be in drop back mode as usual.
The Matchups to watch when the Seahawks have the ball:
So far this season the Seahawks offensive line has allowed 9 sacks, 15 hits, and 16 QB pressures according to Profootballfocus.com. That’s not going to get it done over the long haul, and we need to shore that up quickly as we conclude the first quarter of the season.
This is the match-up I’m worried sick about. Russell Okung is not playing franchise left tackle type of football, and leads the line in pressures allowed (8), and sacks given up (3) through 3 games (and we thought James Carpenter was the problem). John Abraham is a nightmare, and has consistently made his way to opposing QBs this season. He is coming off a nice game against the Bucs, and his 6 QB pressures, and 2 sacks make him one to watch over there. The Seahawks will probably ask Zach Miller to pretend to play lineman again, and its not something he is really doing well this season. Here’s hoping two wrongs make a right over on the left side.
WR Sidney Rice vs CB Dunta Robinson.
It was great to see a little movement in our offense last week with the debut of Sidney Rice. Rice made an impact immediately, and led the team with 10 targeted passes, 8 catches, 109 yds. I find it very difficult to believe that CB Dunta Robinson, at 5-11, 174 lbs, will be able to handle Sidney Rice. Dunta Robinson is one of the worst cover corners in football after week 3, and is the most targeted CB on the Falcons because of it. This will be another week where a team will have to take a safety, and dedicate him over the top, as well as add a lB zone inside to try to bracket Rice, and lower his impact on the game. This is a great opportunity to get another crack at establishing two players: Marshaun Lynch, and Mike Williams. Paging Darell Bevell!
The Matchups to watch when the Falcons have the ball:
After watching the Falcons in the first 3 games it’s easy to see why they are struggling. Due to the lack of faith in their running game they have been pass happy to the tune of a 70/30 pass ratio. That’s almost Madden 2012 like in approach.
What makes it worse is when they are choosing to pass.
So far this season the Falcons break out like this:
1st Down: 59/41 Pass to Run %
2nd Down: 77/23 Pass to Run %
3rd Down: 95/5 Pass to Run %
Those stats validate my thoughts on the Falcons. No run confidence, leading to long second downs, leading to QB pressures/Hits/Sacks, leading to 3rd and longs, and more of the same. Are you excited yet Seahawk fans? I’m pumped.
Sam Baker has to hate the film study sessions the last couple weeks. Something tells me, his bladder may find a way to need emptying every time the coach focuses on the offensive line. Coming off a decent 1st game against the Chicago Bears, he has crumbled in his last two, allowing 13 QB pressures, 3 sacks, and 3 hits. I’ve been mentioning on twitter how excited I am to see this match up all week. This is such a great opportunity for Chris Clemons to be a monster once again. He is currently tied for second in the NFL in pressure behind the Eagles’ Trent Cole, and was a huge reason the Seahawks came away with a win against the Cardinals. Pull up a chair big fellah, the table is set, and its time to feast.
CB Marcus Trufant vs WR Roddy White.
This is the other matchup I’m pretty worried about as well. Initial injury reports list White as questionable…Hmm, from reading tons of Falcons sites, this is pretty normal so I’m going to stop hoping he stays on the sidelines. Roddy White is one of those receivers that will give a secondary fits. The only way Marcus Trufant has a chance in this match up is if Chris Clemons, and the Seahawks D line can get to Matt Ryan early, and often. So far the majority of the passes thrown to Roddy White have been to the short ride side of the field (54%). Marcus Trufant will have to get a good bump on White and throw the timing of his route off or the YAC numbers will be huge.
With starting Strong Safety Kam Chancellor, arguably one of the best defenders on the field this season in the secondary, out for Sunday, the Seahawks might just have to concede a match-up victory here. I’m okay with that as long as Julio Jones and Tony Gonzales are kept in check.
TE Tony Gonzalez VS the Seahawks underneath coverage.
Long passed our the days that Tony Gonzalez could stretch the middle of the field, or run away from defenders. But don’t be fooled. Like all Hall Of Fame caliber players, he has adapted his play to match his age. When Michael Jordan could no longer elevate, he found the turn around jumper. Tony Gonzalez has found ways to separate with exceptional route running, great releases, and an uncanny ability to catch the football in tight windows. So far this season, Matt Ryan has really looked for his TE in the middle of the field, and he has been a consistent success, catching 112 of his 173 yards there. Leroy Hill, Atari Bigby and co, better be ready.
Final Match up thoughts:
Both teams have glaring weaknesses going into this game. You can look at the 1-2 records to gather that without having to look deep into the stats, or watch the games. But I’ll leave you with this: When you have a 1-2 team (Falcons) that’s only win came against another 1-2 team (Eagles), and is seriously considering benching it’s starting LT prior to a game in hostile surroundings, I’ll take the home team.
Special thanks to ProFootball Focus, for their QB pressure stats!