After two thoroughly embarrassing and soul-crushing losses in back-to-back weeks, the Falcons (1-6) followed it up with another one. The Rams came in and destroyed all hope of Quinn keeping his job with a 37-10 smashing that saw Matt Ryan get hurt, Devonta Freeman get ejected, and the whole team fall apart in miraculous fashion after a strangely encouraging first half.
Things aren’t going to let up this week, as the red-hot Seahawks (5-2) are coming to town fresh off a tough loss to the Ravens. Seattle may not be getting all the headlines of teams like undefeated San Francisco and New England, but they’re one of the NFC’s top contenders. Dan Quinn has always put up a strong fight against his old team, but something tells me this year could be different.
Let’s take a closer look at how the Falcons and Seahawks compare statistically on offense and defense heading into Week 8.
|Points/game||23.5 (15th)||17.9 (27th)|
|Total yards/game||370.3 (11th)||344.8 (20th)|
|Yards per play||5.5 (15th)||5.4 (18th)|
|Passing yards/game||288.9 (4th)||235.8 (14th)|
|Passing yards per attempt||7.4 (T-14th)||6.8 (T-18th)|
|Passing TDs||27 (T-5th)||20 (T-19th)|
|Rushing yards/game||81.4 (30th)||109.0 (15th)|
|Rushing yards per attempt||3.7 (T-26th)||4.5 (T-11th)|
|Rushing TDs||8 (T-23rd)||3 (32nd)|
|Third Down Efficiency||42% (14th)||33% (28th)|
|Turnover Margin||-6 (25th)||-3 (20th)|
After a horrible offensive day against the Rams, the Falcons have taken a step back statistically. Atlanta is now 19th in scoring, 16th in total yardage, and 12th in yards per play. In the passing game, the team is 2nd in yardage, T-11th in yards per attempt, and T-1st in passing TDs. The Falcons have remained awful on the ground, and are 29th in rushing yardage, 25th in yards per carry, and T-27th in rushing TDs with just two on the season. Atlanta has been above-average on third down, converting 44% of their opportunities (10th). The story of their season has been their turnover issues: the Falcons fell to -8 in turnover margin after the Rams game (29th).
Seattle has thus far had an above-average season on offense, featuring a very balanced attack. The Seahawks are 12th in scoring, 5th in total yardage, and 10th in yards per play. Through the air, the team is 10th in passing yardage, 4th in yards per attempt, and 3rd in passing TDs. On the ground, Seattle is 12th in rushing yardage, 16th in yards per carry, and 12th in rushing TDs. They’ve been above-average on third down, converting 42% of their opportunities (14th). The Seahawks are +4 in turnover margin, which is top-5 in the league (T-5th).
|Points/game||26.1 (25th)||25.2 (23rd)|
|Total yards/game||362.6 (20th)||372.4 (24th)|
|Yards per play||5.8 (21st)||6.0 (28th)|
|Passing yards/game||253.7 (23rd)||232.3 (14th)|
|Passing yards per attempt||7.8 (T-24th)||7.9 (26th)|
|Passing TDs||25 (22nd)||21 (T-15th)|
|Rushing yards/game||108.9 (16th)||140.1 (29th)|
|Rushing yards per attempt||4.1 (T-10th)||5.1 (31st)|
|Rushing TDs||13 (T-20th)||19 (31st)|
|Third Down Efficiency||43% (24th)||41% (22nd)|
|Sacks||24 (T-29th)||43 (T-5th)|
Atlanta continued their streak of allowing more than 30 points against the Rams in Week 7, and their statistics continue to worsen. The Falcons are 31st in scoring defense—behind only the tanking Dolphins—27th in yardage allowed, and 24th in yards per play. Against the pass, the team is 28th in yardage allowed, 28th in yards per attempt, and tied for worst in the league with 17 passing TDs allowed. Atlanta has been better against the run: 20th in rushing yardage allowed, a surprising T-6th in yards per carry (only 3.7), and T-26th in rushing TDs allowed. The Falcons are the NFL’s worst third down defense, allowing a 55% conversion rate, and are also the NFL’s worst pass rush with only 5 sacks on the season.
Seattle is a slightly below-average defense overall through the first seven games of the season. The Seahawks are 20th in scoring defense, 16th in total yardage allowed, and 26th in yards per play. Against the pass, the team is 19th in yardage allowed, T-12th in yards per attempt, and T-10th in passing TDs allowed. Against the run, Seattle is 17th in yardage allowed, T-26th in yards per carry, and T-28th in rushing TDs allowed. The Seahawks have been excellent on third down, allowing only a 33% conversion rate (5th), but have struggled to produce sacks with just 11 on the season (26th).
There’s really not much else to say about the Falcons this season. They’re in contention for the league’s worst defense, and the offense has been supremely disappointing based on the overall talent level. With Matt Ryan hobbled and Mohamed Sanu traded, things aren’t likely to get any better for Atlanta against a far better Seahawks team.
The stats say this is going to be a lopsided affair in favor of Seattle. Russell Wilson has been an MVP candidate this season, and I have no doubt that he’ll have one of his best games of the season against whatever scheme Quinn plans to deploy on Sunday. The Falcons offense, whether they have Ryan or not, is simply not going to be able to keep pace with their defense allowing almost 32 points per game.
While Seattle’s defense certainly hasn’t been the dominant force we’re used to seeing, they’ve been significantly better than Atlanta. We’ve seen the Falcons struggle against all but the worst defenses—Philadelphia, Houston, Arizona—and I doubt things will be different even if Ryan manages to play. Meanwhile, we’ve already talked about Atlanta’s defense: it’s real, real bad. Even after a respectable first half against the Rams, they fell apart after halftime.
This one has the makings of a blowout in favor of Seattle. If I were you, I’d prepare for that with your beverages of choice.
Overall Advantage: Seahawks
How do you think the Falcons and Seahawks compare statistically? What’s your prediction for the game on Sunday?