Good morning. It should be an interesting game between Seattle and Atlanta this morning. I know most folks expect the Seahawks to get drilled today, but I think they will accept the challenge and at least show up and compete today against the best team in the NFC, and one they hope they see again if they can somehow find a way to make it into the playoffs in a couple weeks.
Here are five keys to the game for Seattle.Contain “Burner” Turner: The Falcons have one of the most balanced offenses in the league, but it all starts with running back Michael Turner. If they can get the run game going, then its sets up the play action game and they started peppering you with passes to Roddy White and Tony Gonzales. In Atlanta’s only two losses, Turner was held to 42 yards by Pittsburgh and 45 yards by Philadelphia.
Dial up the pressure: If Seattle can stop Turner and get Atlanta into third and long situations, then Carroll will get a chance to bring his blitz package and try and get after Matt Ryan. Think about how Seattle used safety and corner blitzes to pressure Jay Cutler in Seattle’s best win of the year – that’s what Carroll would like to do today.
Open it up: I know Pete Carroll would like to pound the ball, but Seattle’s offense has functioned best when relying on a pass-first approach focusing on a short passing game. And with Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu back in the lineup, Matt Hasselbeck should have the weapons on the outside he needs to get the job done. The Seahawks are 2-1, averaging 319 passing yards a game when Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu are in the starting lineup
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Win the turnover battle: Against the good team like Atlanta, the Seahawks are going to have to steal a couple possessions to have a chance. Problem is, the Falcons don’t turn the ball over much, and Seattle does not want to get out of position and give up a play by forcing the issue. But they do need to make Matt Ryan uncomfortable and see if they can get him to make some mistakes.
Play with urgency: At times this team has not showed the type of focus it has needed to win important games. That was evident against San Francisco last week, where Seattle did not match the Niners’ intensity level at the onset of the game. I thin Seattle needs to make sure that they bring the game to the Falcons and be the team forcing the issue to get the Falcons playing tentatively on their longest road trip of the year.
Here’s my story today, taking a look at what makes Atlanta so successful and how Seattle can emulate the Falcons’ rebuilding approach.
Dave Boling of The News Tribune says tryouts for the 2011 team begin today for Seattle.
Always a good read, Dan Pompei of the National Football Post explains why Deion Branch was not a good fit in the West Coast offense, among a host of notes on the league.
Christian Caple of Seattlepi.com offers five things to watch in today’s Hawks game.
Doug Farrar of Sportspressnw.com writes that Falcons president Rich McKay, co-chair of the league’s competition committee, is in favor of implementing a system the re-seeds the playoff teams so a 7-9 division winner would not host a playoff game.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes that Lawyer Milloy is getting better with age.
Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports breaks down the game in the video below.