What do you need to know about the Seahawks-Falcons matchup? Let’s look.
Falcons - Seahawks Comparison
By these extremely general rankings, you might guess the Falcons have been better on offense than the Seahawks, which is certainly true. Defensively they appear to be in the same neighborhood, with that neighborhood being a mediocre one, and that also seems accurate.
Neither of these teams are all that great, but I maintain the Falcons have more upside and have shown a little more of it in 2022. You can decide whether that’s true.
How the Seahawks have changed since the last time
The biggest chance is the Russell Wilson trade. The longtime quarterback was a foundational piece for Seattle and one of their most recognizable stars, but there was a slow-motion falling out with the franchise that saw him shipped to Denver. Now Geno Smith, who is getting an overdue second shot as a starter, is under center for Seattle.
The changes to the offense are mostly along the line. Chris Carson is gone, but the Falcons have seen Rashaad Penny before. Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf are still the top two receivers, while Greg Olsen is replaced with Noah Fant and Will Dissly, and Atlanta has also seen Dissly before. The line, however, has five new listed starters, which probably isn’t a bad thing after years of horrendous line play in Seattle.
On the defensive side, things are also very different, and the Seattle D is a work in progress. All of the stars from the Legion of Boom era are finally gone, replaced with a mix of quality veterans (Quandre Diggs, Uchenna Nwosu, and Shelby Harris, who came over in the Wilson deal) and young talent they’re hoping to rely on going forward (Cody Barton, rookie cornerback Tariq Wooten, Darrell Taylor, among others). Those pieces haven’t gelled just yet, with Denver and San Francisco piling up over 800 combined yards in the first two weeks. The 49ers had a very tidy day offensively, in particular.
What hasn’t changed at all is the power structure, with Pete Carroll as the head coach and John Schneider as the general manager. The duo outlasted the franchise quarterback and have survived years of lackluster draft classes and early playoff exits, culminating in a 7-10 finish a year ago. Seattle clearly believes a duo that brought them so much success last decade can do so again, but both probably are in trouble if they can’t drag this Seattle team to winning by 2023.
This is not a better team than the one Atlanta saw in 2020, when Matt Schaub had his last shootout with Seattle, and it’s one that’s probably a year or two away from getting back to contender status. At best they’re on pretty even footing with the Falcons, but given that they don’t have a potential long-term solution at quarterback, they might be closer to the 2021 Atlanta squad: Capable of providing a fight, but clearly not a good squad.
What lies ahead
The Falcons have shown us over and over again that favorable matchups don’t necessarily mean wins, but it’s hard not to feel good about this one, especially with the Broncos looking like a team with some major holes and woes.
Seattle is one of the worst teams in football, from a talent and results perspective in the early going. They squeaked by a Broncos team that has been comically inept in critical situations to this point, but the offense is largely sputtering and the defense has been prone to lapses. They’ve generated just two turnovers thus far in two games, have managed just three sacks and limited pressure, and have proven largely incapable of big chunk plays on offense. It’s a team you respect, but not one you fear.
If the Falcons are the team they were for three quarters against the Saints and parts of the effort against the Rams, or can at least act like it for four quarters, they ought to win this one. If not, Seattle does have enough talent to trip up a shaky Atlanta team, and thus a Falcons squad that has been nothing but inconsistent thus far needs to show up and put it all together to ensure a win here.