The Atlanta Falcons, with the No. 1 offense in the NFL, will face another tough test and the top defense in the league this week when they take on the Seahawks in Seattle.
Since a Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Falcons have been rolling. They had a tough stretch of schedule over the first several weeks of the season, and they took care of the Oakland Raiders, the Carolina Panthers, and the Denver Broncos over that four-game stretch.
Now head coach Dan Quinn returns to Seattle to face a mentor, Pete Carroll, and the Seahawks defense Quinn coordinated successfully enough to convince the Falcons to give him a shot as the head coach.
The Seahawks are currently ranked first in the NFL for total offensive yards allowed per game, and while the Falcons faced another stingy defense last week and managed to beat the Broncos, they did so on the strength of Atlanta’s defense. The Falcons harassed rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch all day long, sacking him six times. That’s something that won’t come as easily against a more experienced quarterback like Russell Wilson.
Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas present the biggest challenge Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense have faced thus far. With multiple Pro Bowls between them, Sherman, Chancellor and Thomas should be up to the challenge of defending the Falcons’ high-powered passing attack.
The problem for Seahawks is that they don’t just have to concern themselves with covering Julio Jones and the rest of the Falcons’ wide receivers. The Falcons have gotten running backs Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman heavily involved in the passing game, forcing linebackers to try to keep up with two players who have run all over teams so far this season.
After a road trip to Denver last week, the Falcons opted to stay out west. They headed to Seattle immediately after the win over the Broncos and spent the week leading up to the Seahawks game acclimating to Pacific time and practicing at the University of Washington.
While these teams will be opponents on Sunday, the Falcons’ extra time in Seattle gave players the opportunity to do some good things together off the field.
Seattle should be well-rested and prepared for the Falcons. Carroll is familiar with Quinn’s defense, since it’s made in the image of the Seahawks, and Seattle is coming off of an early bye last week. To take on Atlanta’s offense, the defense will need to be at full strength, and the Seahawks should be at least close to that after a week off.
The Seahawks have been successful defensively this season, but they have yet to face any offense ranked higher than No. 17 for total offensive yards per game. There’s a big difference between the Seahawks’ previous opponents and Atlanta, an offense that’s averaging 457.4 yards per game and 35 points per game.
This matchup will be a tough test for the Falcons, going up against a tough defense, but it’s also a big challenge for the Seahawks.
How to watch
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
Location: CenturyLink Field, Seattle
Announcers: Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale
Online: Sunday Ticket, FOX Sports GO