by Curtis Crabtree
RENTON - The Atlanta Falcons present some interesting problems that the Seattle Seahawks will have to try and solve if they hope to advance to the NFC Championship game next week.
The Falcons defense, at least statistically, appears to be a bend-don't-break unit. They are ranked 24th in total yards, 23rd against the pass, 21st against the run, yet are 5th in points allowed.
Their defense tightens up in the red zone and keeps offenses from inflicting major damage.
"They bring a lot of pressure in the redzone, a lot of Cover 0 (man coverage with no safeties), especially the closer you get, and it comes down to making plays like every game," Wilson said. "I think we’ve done a good job in the redzone so far this season. Obviously last game we wish we would’ve done a little bit better job, but it’s a new opportunity. It’s a great opportunity for us to play at a high level and we have to capitalize."
The Falcons also have perhaps the most dynamic set of receiving threats the Seahawks have played this season. While Seattle has faced top-tier receivers in WR Larry Fitzgerald, WR Calvin Johnson and WR Brandon Marshall, they haven't faced a group of pass catchers as productive as that of the Falcons.
WR Julio Jones, WR Roddy White and TE Tony Gonzalez present some potential match-up problems for Seattle. Only the group of WR Miles Austin, WR Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten seem to rival the group threat presented by the Falcons.
But don't expect the Seahawks to change how they do things defensively. Seattle has made their way by playing physical press coverage on the outsides with a speedy S Earl Thomas to cover the deep middle of the field. They intend to run their defense the same way they have all season.
"We have to stay to our principles," CB Richard Sherman said. "They have a really intricate offense and they use their players well. They know exactly how to use everyone and get the most our of them but going away from yourself in the playoffs, you're shooting yourself in the head. This is what got us here. We have to play our style. That's what got us here and you live by your style, you die by your style. That's what we're going to do."
Did Not Participate
CB Chris Owens (hamstring)
DE John Abraham (ankle)
S Charles Mitchell (calf)
S William Moore (hamstring)
CB Dunta Robinson (head)
Did Not Participate
RB Marshawn Lynch (foot)
CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)
S Jeron Johnson (hamstring)