One team has all the name recognition in the world, while the other has flown under the radar for most of 2016. And when the Seahawks head to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs (Saturday, 4:35 PM ET on FOX and FOX Sports GO), they’re in for a rude awakening at the hands of Dan Quinn’s squad.
That’s according to both Nick Wright and NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter on this week’s episode of the “Make Me Smarter” football podcast, anyway. The duo praised Quinn for his ability to take the lessons he learned as a member of Pete Carroll’s coaching staff and build a winning culture in Atlanta.
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Of course, Quinn won’t be on the field on Saturday; his Falcons will have to overcome a stout Seahawks defense if they want to earn a berth in the NFC Championship Game. Yet there’s a glaring weakness in Seattle’s vaunted defense, which hasn’t been the same since a big injury in the last quarter of the season.
WRIGHT: So they’re just not the same team since Earl Thomas went down. Since Earl Thomas got injured, they don’t have a single interception and they’re allowing over 13 yards per catch.
Let me say that again; since Earl Thomas went down at the end of the regular season, in the last four games of the regular season, post-injury, 13 yards per catch. That’s the second-worst in the league.
Additionally, I think people are going to say, “Well, but look at how good Seattle was in the playoff game.” Detroit’s not good. Detroit should have been a 6-10 team, and that was before Matt Stafford got hurt. … So of course Seattle at home is going to look good against the Detroit Lions. The Detroit Lions this year are not the Atlanta Falcons. …
I think Russell Wilson’s extraordinary, but I don’t know if the offensive line can block Vic Beasley, and I don’t see how Seattle is going to be able to slow down Atlanta’s passing offense at all.
And don’t overlook the home crowd in Atlanta, which Carter says routinely became one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL during big games.