Tha Sports Junkies 101

Week 6 preview – Falcons travel to Seahawks

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn as a member of the Seahawks Mike Morris via Flickr


Following a victory over the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Atlanta Falcons travel to Seattle to face a Seahawks team who are sitting at 3-1 atop the NFC West. The Seahawks haven’t had the most challenging schedule to start the season, but they have made the playoffs in five of the six seasons that Pete Carroll has been there as head coach and remain one of the more elite teams in the league.

One of the key storylines in the game is the return of one of Carroll’s former defensive coordinators, Dan Quinn. Quinn is now the Head coach of the Falcons and both will be hoping that the knowledge that they have of the other will prove beneficial and give them the edge.

Falcons News

Despite the Falcons’ linebacker corps lack of experience last week, the unit played well on the whole as the Broncos’ offense to just 267 total yards. Quinn and defensive coordinator Richard Smith welcomed back De’vondre Campbell, Deion Jones and Paul Worrilow to practice on Wednesday, leaving the defense as close to full strength as it has been all season.

With the return of linebacker Deion JonesLaRoy Reynolds will likely out of the starting line-up. Reynolds performed well last week, but Jones has looked like a complete linebacker. The former LSU star was awarded September’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month. Jones’ three-down ability benefits the team as the signal caller on defense. A healthy De’Vondre Campbell, should take the place of Philip Wheeler at weakside linebacker.

Elsewhere, the Falcons may be tempted to activate Jalen Collins for the first time since his suspension ended. The second-year cornerback was given an extra week to get up to speed due to the impressive emergence of undrafted rookie Brian Poole, but Dan Quinn may be tempted to ease Collins into the defensive back rotation.

The offensive line has looked solid to start the season. The Falcons will face another one of the league’s premier defensive fronts in Seattle. Michael Bennett will pose a much different problem to Von Miller. While Miller inflicts most of his damage from the outside, Bennett will be working against the Falcons’ guards.

Guards Andy Levitre and Chris Chester have performed admirably so far this season but have struggled against elite competition. Gerald McCoy showed in week one that the interior of the Falcons offensive line can be exploited. The Falcons will continue to rely on Pro Bowl center Alex Mack. Through the first five games, Mack has proved to be one of the Falcons best offseason additions.

Seahawks News

Coming off a bye week, Russell Wilson participated in full practice this week. Wilson has been hampered with an ankle injury. The Falcons have struggled to contain mobile quarterbacks in the past and Wilson is a dual-threat quarterback. Wilson has proven that he can work as a traditional pocket passer, so it’s fair to say the Falcons defense will have its hands full on Sunday.

The health of Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor will be critical to the Seahawks. With the Falcons showing that they are happy spreading the ball around their receiving group, Chancellor would have been useful in containing not only running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, but also the tight end group of Jacob Tamme, Austin Hooper and Levine Toilolo, who have had success over the middle of the field.

If Chancellor’s groin injury causes him to miss the game, or even limits him, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be sure to attack the Seahawks defense. Shanahan has out-coached two of the best defensive minds in the league in recent weeks in Wade Phillips and Ron Rivera with two very different gameplans. Adding a victory against Pete Carroll could push him to the top of future head coach wishlists.

Elsewhere, second year defensive end Frank Clark’s absence will be missed if he is unable to overcome a hamstring injury. Clark has joined Bennett and Cliff Avril to form one of the most feared pass rushing units in the league. The Seahawks will be looking to give Matt Ryan as little time as possible in the pocket to allow their vaunted secondary to make plays. The job will be made a lot easier if Jarran Reed, Ahtyba Rubin and Tony McDaniel will be looking to continue their strong play against the run, having allowed only 80 yards per game so far this season.


For the Falcons, the blueprint should be similar to the Denver game. On offense, they will be looking to exploit matchups and get players in space. Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright are a lot more mobile than Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis at the linebacker position, so Coleman is unlikely to find himself open as often, but the opportunities should still be there.

Julio Jones and Richard Sherman should see a lot of each other and the winner of that matchup could play a crucial role in deciding the outcome of the game. It could be a big game for Mohamed Sanu, who should mainly line up against DeShawn Shead and Jeremy Lane. Both are capable players, but don’t possess the stickiness in coverage of Sherman.

This game could come down to which team is able to generate the most pressure. While the Falcons have been by far the more impressive team on offense, Seattle will still fancy themselves to put up points. The Falcons’ defense has been excellent through three quarters in the majority of games this season, but have looked vulnerable when trying to run out the clock and playing to preserve victory. While this has worked effectively in terms of winning games, teams have been able to score on the Falcons in the 4th quarter and the Seahawks will hope that they aren’t multiple scores behind as most teams have been.