It's the fourth time under Carroll that Seattle has been an underdog in a divisional playoff game on the road and Seattle has lost each of the first three - the Bears game in 2011, at Atlanta in 2013 (30-28 when the Falcons were favored by three) and at Carolina in 2016 (31-24 when the Panthers were favored by 2.5). He has no plans to grease game officials Saturday, or do anything differently. Jones caught seven passes for 139 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting.
Playoff veteran teams such as the Patriots, Seahawks and Packers, behind top quarterbacks, know how to win in the postseason, Pittsburgh has the most talented offensive trio, Dallas has the best offensive line and running game, Kansas City might have the best (non-playoff) coach and no team can match Atlanta's offensive firepower.
"The last few days has been hella amusing and so dope to see my Falcons Family hitting me up asking if I know what I'm going to play for the game on Saturday", DJ Jay Envy wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post featuring a Future-centric playlist, per TotalProSports.com. Improved playoff production by Ryan can change all that, starting Saturday against the Seahawks, who come off a resounding 26-6 home win over the Lions in the wild-card round. He really did his damage against the other Seahawks defensive backs (99 yards, one touchdown.) So, if and when he gets to go against Shead or Lane, that's when I think he'll go off.
Seattle and Atlanta open the divisional round of the National Football League playoffs Saturday afternoon at the Georgia Dome (4:35 pm ET, Fox).
Jones said if the referees are as hands-off as last time, he's going to be a little more hands-on. Then we're going to go out here and play. Russell Wilson's mobility not only allows for extending plays, but also advancing the ball himself when nothing is open downfield. Atlanta is just above them, surrendering 104.5 yards per game. "We're good enough to get the job done every week". If Russell Wilson can avoid the early pick-six like he threw past year in the divisional round in Carolina then this game will be in the balance in the fourth quarter. Never mind that Ryan has never really been able to lean on a great defense. You've got to score when you're in the red zone. The offensive line has struggled to protect Wilson all year.
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You put together the process and the winning formula and you need to go out and execute it. "If you don't execute it, you lose". We talked about that over the course of the whole season, but none of that stuff really matters if we don't do that this week.
The Seahawks, though, may have benefited from playing last week after their sluggish finish to the regular season.
Despite the Seahawks recent success against Atlanta, they are heading into the Georgia Dome as a five-point underdog. Look for quarterback Matt Ryan to pass early, but potentially get frustrated by a strong secondary dedicated to stopping the 295 yards per game that Atlanta averages through the air. He's been nowhere near the Falcons' high-powered offense this season as coordinator Kyle Shanahan, quarterback Matt Ryan and the gang has built habits. "You're also recognizing that this player will not go into the game and do the exact same things". Or should we? All the reading and hype this week actually suggests the Atlanta Falcons are more than a just a "close favorite".
Thomas had three pass breakups and the Seahawks' lone interception when they beat the Falcons 26-24 in Seattle on October 16.
NOTES: WR Julio Jones (toe).