It’s Week 11, and the Falcons are back above .500 at 5-4. Next up is a very tough game against the 6-3 Seahawks in Seattle—on Monday Night Football, no less. It’s going to be a difficult challenge for Atlanta to get the win that they so desperately need, but they’ve backed themselves into a very precarious position this season. A win here keeps things rolling and makes a shot at the playoffs start to look like a genuine possibility. A loss means there is no more margin for error—period.
Let’s take a closer look at how these two teams compare statistically on offense and defense.
|Points/game||21.9 (16th)||23.4 (11th)|
|Total yards/game||368.0 (8th)||368.4 (7th)|
|Yards per play||6.1 (4th)||5.6 (9th)|
|Passing yards/game||251.6 (11th)||267.8 (2nd)|
|Passing yards per attempt||7.9 (T-5th)||7.6 (8th)|
|Passing TDs||13 (T-20th)||19 (T-3rd)|
|Rushing yards/game||116.4 (13th)||100.7 (22nd)|
|Rushing yards per attempt||4.5 (T-5th)||3.8 (T-22nd)|
|Rushing TDs||7 (T-15th)||2 (T-30th)|
|Third Down Efficiency||42% (7th)||40% (13th)|
|Turnover Margin||-3 (22nd)||6 (6th)|
The Falcons remain a largely above-average offense by most metrics heading into Week 11. Atlanta is 16th in scoring, 8th in total yards, and 4th in yards per play. In the passing game, the team is currently 11th in passing yards, T-5th in yards per attempt, and T-20th in passing TDs. On the ground, the Falcons are 13th in rushing yards, T-5th in yards per carry, and T-15th in rushing TDs. Atlanta’s offense has been effective on third down, converting 42% of attempts (7th), but they’ve continued to struggle in turnover margin (-3 on the season, 22nd).
Seattle has also been an above average offense in 2017, although their numbers are much more unbalanced. The Seahawks are 11th in scoring, 7th in total yards, and 9th in yards per play. They’ve been much more effective through the air, as the team is 2nd in passing yards, 8th in yards per attempt, and T-3rd in passing TDs. On the ground, however, Seattle has struggled: they’re currently 22nd in rushing yards, T-22nd in yards per carry, and T-30th in rushing TDs. The Seahawks have been good on third down (40% conversion rate, 13th) and at limiting turnovers (+6, 6th).
|Points/game||19.9 (T-10th)||18.3 (T-5th)|
|Total yards/game||311.9 (7th)||318.9 (12th)|
|Yards per play||5.0 (T-7th)||5.0 (T-7th)|
|Passing yards/game||198.2 (6th)||217.9 (13th)|
|Passing yards per attempt||6.5 (T-4th)||6.6 (T-7th)|
|Passing TDs||11 (T-7th)||10 (T-5th)|
|Rushing yards/game||113.7 (19th)||101.0 (10th)|
|Rushing yards per attempt||4.3 (T-23rd)||4.0 (T-13th)|
|Rushing TDs||5 (T-6th)||8 (T-22nd)|
|Third Down Efficiency||39% (14th)||36% (10th)|
|Sacks||26 (T-7th)||25 (T-10th)|
Atlanta has continued to improve their defensive numbers each week, and enter Week 11 as a top-10 unit. The Falcons are T-10th in scoring, 7th in total yards, and T-7th in yards per play. They’ve been excellent defending the pass, as they’re currently 6th in passing yards, T-4th in yards per attempt, and T-7th in passing TDs. Atlanta has struggled against opposing ground attacks, as they’re 19th in rushing yards and T-23rd in yards per carry, but surprisingly T-6th in rushing TDs allowed. The Falcons have been above-average on third down (39% conversion rate, 14th), and have moved into the top-10 in sacks after last week’s 8-sack performance (26 on the season, T-7th).
Seattle is once again a good defense in 2017, although they haven’t been quite as dominant as in years past. The Seahawks are T-5th in scoring, 12th in total yards, and T-7th in yards per play. Against the pass, the team is 13th in passing yards, T-7th in yards per attempt, and T-5th in passing TDs allowed. On the ground, Seattle is 10th in rushing yards, T-13th in yards per carry, and T-22nd in rushing TDs allowed. The Seahawks have been good on third down (36% conversion rate, 10th) and at generating sacks (25 on the season, T-10th).
This is actually a very evenly-matched game, with the Falcons holding the very slight edge on offense (6 stats to 5) and the two teams about even on defense. Seattle and Atlanta both enter this game needing to get a win to stay in contention for the division title, and we should expect a very competitive, hard-fought contest on Monday Night Football.
Atlanta’s defense matches up well against the Seahawks’ offense, which runs through Russell Wilson and their talented receiving corps. The Falcons are much better at defending the pass and have the players to match-up with TE Jimmy Graham and WR Doug Baldwin. While it hasn’t been terribly consistent, the Falcons’ pass rush is capable of taking over games. With LT Duane Brown likely out for Seattle—and the rest of that OL not playing well—it could be an opportunity for Atlanta to do that again.
Atlanta’s weakness has been defending the run, and the Seahawks are bad at running the ball. That doesn’t appear to be a match-up they can exploit, unless they suddenly get a burst from what has otherwise been an anemic running game. Russell Wilson is a dangerous runner in his own right, but he’s been much more likely to throw it in 2017—and he’s been having a lot of success doing so.
On offense, the Falcons have a difficult match-up with a talented Seattle defense. They’ll be down star CB Richard Sherman and will probably also be without SS Kam Chancellor, but FS Earl Thomas looks likely to return. Nobody really knows what to expect from the Seahawks’ defense without those two players, but I would not be banking on an easy time for the Falcons. Seattle’s pass rush is still very good and their run defense is stout.
All in all, this should be an excellent game. The Falcons need the win more, but the Seahawks are at home. It’s tough to go into Seattle and get a W, especially in prime time, but I hope it’s a task the Falcons are up for. Another strong performance against an NFC contender would go a long way in proving that Atlanta’s struggles this season were a temporary dip instead of a fatal flaw.
Overall Advantage: Push
What do you think about this match-up? Are you hopeful that the Falcons can get the win on Monday Night Football, or do you think the Seahawks will be too tough to bring down?