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What to know about Falcons - Seahawks in Week 8

It’s the final game before the bye, and it’s a doozy of a matchup for Atlanta.

Atlanta Falcons v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr /Getty Images

The show must go on, and for the Falcons, it’s likely to be an ugly show. Atlanta has one game remaining before their much-needed bye, where they’ll sort through key decisions like keeping Dan Quinn around until the end of the year, bringing Chris Lindstrom back off injured reserve, and how to divvy up playing time for their roster the rest of the way. In between this team and respite are the Seattle Seahawks, another super tough matchup this team doesn’t look in any way prepared for.

Here are some notes and stats ahead of that matchup.

2019 Ranks & Records

I’m not going to lie to you, this looks pretty grim.

Falcons - Seahawks Side by Side

Team Record Points For Yardage For Passing Yards Rushing Yards Points Against Yardage Against Passing Yards Against Rushing Yardage Against Turnovers Created Turnovers Allowed
Team Record Points For Yardage For Passing Yards Rushing Yards Points Against Yardage Against Passing Yards Against Rushing Yardage Against Turnovers Created Turnovers Allowed
Falcons 1-6 19 16 2 29 31 27 28 20 31 21
Seahawks 5-2 12 5 10 12 21 15 19 17 8 10

The Seahawks are simply the better team across the board. Buoyed by an MVP-caliber season from Russell Wilson, they’re hovering around the top ten in offense, and while their defense is a huge disappointment by the standards of the Legion of Boom, it’s roughly middle-of-the-road and has been good enough to help them win games. They’re also good at taking the ball away and stingy with their own turnovers, all the ingredients of a quality football team. They’re only not one of the NFC’s absolute finest right now because the Vikings and 49ers are on fire.

The Falcons are a complete disaster right now. They’re still near the top of the league in passing yardage, but everything else is below the league average or right near the very bottom of the NFL. They can’t stop opposing offenses, they can’t get turnovers, and the offense has had maybe three good weeks total this entire season with Dirk Koetter at the helm. This team will head into this Week 8 matchup with Matt Ryan iffy to suit up, which means their advantages on paper against this Seahawks team simply don’t exist. This one could be just as ugly as the Texans and Rams games, if not more ugly.

None of that was fun to type.

How the Seahawks have changed

Seattle lost the immortal Doug Baldwin to retirement, lost legendary barrel-shaped kicker Sebastian Janikowski to the same, and lost key pieces like cornerback Justin Coleman and safety Earl Thomas to free agency. Those are not trifling losses, to be sure, and they figured to impact this team.

The defensive losses have been more keenly felt, but the Seahawks offense has hummed along. Rookie receiver D.K. Metcalf has been a help, Tyler Lockett has raised his game to crazy new heights, and the ground game has helped out Wilson, who has been amazing. The offensive line is finally coalescing a bit, too, though I’d still stop well short of calling it a great unit.

Defensively, things haven’t been quite as smooth. The Seahawks defense is worse than it’s been in over a decade, with attrition seemingly everywhere but linebacker robbing them of their characteristic talent and strengths. The secondary isn’t nearly as good as it once was, the pass rush is surprisingly just solid, and overall they’ve actually been letting some teams blow up against them. If you want a path to victory for Atlanta, it involves preying on that defense, but without Matt Ryan that hope is probably dead in the water. We’ll see.

What should you know about this game?

We can only go off of what we’ve seen from Atlanta and Seattle here, and based on that, this is going to be an awful game that may very well prove to be Dan Quinn’s swan song with the Falcons.

The Seahawks are probably the best team on paper that these Falcons have faced since the Vikings in Week 1. The Falcons barely edged an Eagles team that is busily imploding, and they’ve lost to the Colts (good), the Titans (very bad), the Cardinals (pretty bad), Texans (okay-to-good), and Rams (good). The Seahawks are playing better than any team on that list except, again, the Vikings, and the Falcons have now been blown out by multiple teams. The Rams aren’t as good this year as Seattle and they just beat the Falcons by 27, and Atlanta may or may not even have Matt Ryan. There is no reason—let me stress, none—to believe the Falcons can even hang around in this matchup.

I hope they show some life. Lest we forget, Atlanta’s won three of their last five matchups against Seattle, including a tidy little beatdown in the 2016 post-season and a squeaker in the 2017 regular season. They certainly know Seattle well enough, and if they were showing any signs of life at all I’d be tempted to predict an upset at home. You just can’t do it with this team in this state, however, and I’ll just be hoping for better fight than we’ve seen thus far. You should come in bracing for another lopsided loss, though, if you for some reason weren’t already.