Sunday’s NFL divisional playoff game between the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons on Fox determines who will secure the honor of trying to stop Colin Kaepernick and his happy feet next week for a shot at representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. The Seahawks face the daunting task of having to win back-to-back games on the east coast and become only the second west coast team in NFL history to do so in the playoffs, the first being the 1989 Los Angeles Rams. The Atlanta Falcons will try to erase several years of playoff futility and win a game when it counts the most.
Experience could be a big determining factor to the outcome of today’s first playoff game. While the Falcons are 0-3 in the playoffs over the past four years and have lost by wide margins, coach Mike Smith feels they are more prepared than ever and know what it takes to win – especially playing at home. They have won three in a row against the Seahawks, but these aren’t the same Seahawks they disposed of before.
Last week Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson guided his team to a playoff road victory over the Washington Redskins and another stellar though banged up rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III. Seattle started that game slow in letting Washington march down the field with relative ease on its first two drives for touchdowns. They then clamped down and scored 24 unanswered points to secure the victory and right to move on.
Atlanta will need to make sure the rushing combo of Wilson and Marshawn Lynch doesn’t do them in like Kaepernick and Gore did to the Packers yesterday. Shutting down Lynch will go a long way toward tipping the tide in the Falcons favor. If the Falcons learned anything from the Packers yesterday, don’t play man-to-man and give Wilson huge holes to trot through into the end zone.
The Falcons can take care of business if their excellent offense can crack Seattle’s equally tough defense. Matt Ryan’s passing attack to Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez could give the Seahawks fits, especially seeing how the Redskins were able to move the ball against Seattle in the first quarter a week ago. The Falcons will likely need to surpass their season scoring average of 26.2 points to win the game.
Today’s divisional NFC playoff game between the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons kicks off at 1:00pm EST / 10:00am PST in high definition on Fox via cable/satellite or for free over the air. While not free, an alternative option is to watch the official online live streaming version via NFL Sunday Ticket here. As for who will win, it’s a tough call as these two squads seem evenly matched at the moment. The Falcons are long overdue a playoff victory so I’m going to go with them given the home field advantage by a relatively close score of 31-23.