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Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch's surgery could pay dividends for Atlanta Falcons

Fact: Marshawn Lynch is considering a career change; he wants to teach public speaking

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons fell out of playoff contention yesterday after the Seattle Seahawks defeated the middling Pittsburgh Steelers. It's a disappointing turn of events. Just a week ago, any Falcons fan could capably cope by just reminding him/herself that, "heck, the team isn't playing well, but if the season ended today, at least they'd be in the playoffs." And so we're left on the outside, looking in, wondering where we go from here.

Well, to be frank, this isn't overly complicated. The Seahawks need to lose games and the Falcons need to win them. At 7-4 and with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, the Green Bay Packers seem harder to catch.

"Thomas Rawls has been a revelation when featured, including a 209-yard game against the 49ers in Week 11, and the undrafted rookie has averaged about six yards per carry on 101 attempts. The Seahawks will get more time to evaluate him down the stretch. Lynch carried the ball at least 280 times a season in four straight years (2011-2014) [and that] workload would eventually catch up to anyone."

Basically the question becomes "can Rawls hold up over the last seven games?" It appears Marshawn Lynch may be done for the year, so the burden lies squarely on Rawls' shoulders. The Seahawks have become a good team recently because they're finishing games. Rawls emergence has certainly played into that. While he's played well in Lynch's absence, one has to wonder whether he can continue to play at this level. That seems implausible, no matter what Seahawks fans believe. Eventually he's going to wear down a bit.

At best, the Falcons are hoping that Rawls regresses to his mean and the Seahawks start struggling again, if only for 2-3 games. That creates an opportunity, albeit a limited one that will require the Falcons to actually win some games. Seems straightforward enough, no? Discuss!