Northwest Correspondent, White Cover Magazine
Nothing seems to be going Atlanta’s way.
For a team with a spotty playoff history and an overpowering offensive air attack, the Seattle Seahawks seem like the worst possible matchup. There are 14 other teams in the NFC, and they drew Seattle. They drew the team that shut down the hollow New Orleans Saints two years with a team half as good as they have now. They drew the team that ate Robert Griffin III like a guy in sweatpants eats a Baconator.
The Seattle Seahawks are very, very good, and everyone is expecting them to waltz right on through to the NFC Championship. Everyone except Atlanta…
“Perhaps no team faced a greater burden going into this post-season than the Falcons, the NFC’s top-seeded team for the second time in three years. They’ve yet to win a playoff game under the trio of quarterback Matt Ryan, coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff — one-and-done in all three appearances going back to the 2008 season.
“For the most, the players say the past doesn’t matter; they’re only looking forward to Sunday’s divisional game against streaking Seattle. But the senior member of the team, centre Todd McClure, concedes there will probably be some additional pressure when Atlanta takes the field, making a fast start crucial.”
Lucky for Atlanta, they’re capable of fast starts. Unfortunately for them, the Washington Redskins opened last week with a 14-0 lead at home. Seattle then scored 24 unanswered points and turned RGIII’s knee into a tin of yogourt.
Atlanta knows this.
They’re not showing us their hand, which is leaving all of us to speculate, including Jeff Darlington of NFL.com:
“No team this season — literally, not a single team — will face as much pressure and scrutiny over one performance as the Falcons will endure Sunday. Few teams have ever put together a 13-win season — tied for the best record in the NFL — while impressing so few people. Why, you ask? Because none of it matters unless the Falcons can also win in the playoffs, something they’ve failed to do in each of their three postseason forays under coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan. This time, in order to remove the proverbial monkey from their backs, they’ll have to defeat the Seahawks, a youthful team that’s seemingly playing as loose and free-spirited as any still competing.”
Well, sh*t. That was perfect, Darlington. Just perfect.
That youth he’s referring to is Seattle’s quarterback Russell Wilson, its beastly running back Marshawn Lynch, and its always-exuberant head coach, Pete Carroll. The Seattle Seahawks don’t fear anybody.
Atlanta’s advantage, though, is that they have to know this. They’ve had two weeks to prepare, and they were watching that game last Sunday. They know what Seattle can do, and they might even know how to beat them.
Seattle may have won six in a row, but it doesn’t matter if you lose the seventh.