Everything you need to know about the Seahawks-Falcons matchup

Jan 9, 2017, 5:31 AM | Updated: 8:28 am
This disputed non-pass interference call between Julio Jones and Richard Sherman highlighted the en...
This disputed non-pass interference call between Julio Jones and Richard Sherman highlighted the end of the Seahawks-Falcons matchup earlier this season. (AP)

The Seahawks used a strong running game and stout defense to dispatch the Detroit Lions in Saturday’s wild-card playoff game at CenturyLink Field. Now, the team will travel to the Georgia Dome in the Divisional Round for a rematch with the well-rested No. 2 seed Atlanta Falcons.

Here’s everything you need to know about how the two teams matchup:

Seattle’s regular-season record: 10-5-1, winning the NFC West

Atlanta’s regular-season record: 11-5, winning the NFC South

Spread for the game: Falcons opened as 4-point favorites

Result from Oct. 16 matchup at CenturyLink: Seahawks won 26-24

Falcons 2016 home record: 5-3

Seahawks 2016 away record: 3-4-1

What about the stats?

The Falcons were one of the top offensive teams in the NFL: 1st in points, 2nd in total yards, 3rd in passing yards and 5th in rushing yards. Their defense was a different story: 27th in points allowed, 25th in total yards allowed, 28th in passing yards allowed and 17th in rushing yards allowed.

The Seahawks, well, they pretty much have the opposite statistical strengths and weaknesses.

Matt Ryan vs. Russell Wilson

Falcons QB Matt Ryan was an MVP candidate for his play this season, passing for nearly 5,000 yards and 38 touchdowns versus just seven interceptions. He passed for 335 yards and three touchdowns (but throw one interception and was sacked four times) against the Seahawks earlier this season — prior to All-Pro safety Earl Thomas’ injury. Ryan also finished hot, throwing 11 touchdowns and no interceptions during a four-game winning streak near the end of the year.

However, he’s just 1-4 all-time in the postseason (see below).

Wilson, meanwhile, is only four games removed from a five-interception day against the Packers. He passed for 270 yards without a TD or interception previously against Atlanta. Still, he’s had a solid overall season and removed his knee brace prior to the Lions game. He finished that game with 224 yards passing, two touchdowns and a sparkling 119.3 passer rating. Oh, and he now has an 8-3 all-time record in the postseason.

Uneven Seahawks-Falcons history

Falcons all-time playoff record: 7-12 (last appearance time came in 2012)

The last, and only, time the Seahawks played the Falcons in the playoffs: Divisional playoffs on Oct. 2, 2012 — Falcons won 30-28. Seattle overcame a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit but lost on a field goal with 8 seconds left

And that game accounts for Falcons QB Matt Ryan’s only ever playoff victory

Seahawks all-time record against the Falcons: 10-5 (2-4 since 2007)

Seahawks all-time playoff road record: 3-10 (1-2 since 2012)

Other tidbits

All that Richard Sherman drama kinda started the last time the teams played, with the cornerback’s sideline outburst against defensive coordinator Kris Richard.

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn spent two seasons as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator before heading to Atlanta. He was the architect of the Legion of Boom’s epic 2013 Super Bowl season.

Seahawks reason for optimism: Thomas Rawls rushed for a postseason franchise record 161 yards against Detroit. The team also expects rookie C.J. Prosise to return from a scapula injury that sidelined him shortly after scoring a 72-yard touchdown against the Eagles on Nov. 20.

Falcons reason for optimism: The playoff bye week allowed receivers Julio Jones (toe) and Taylor Gabriel (toe/ankle), as well as tight end Austin Hooper (MCL) to recover from injuries.

Matchup to watch: Jones — arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL — against Sherman — arguably the best cornerback in the NFL. When the pair met last time, Jones caught seven passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. Oh, and there was this disputed non-call at the end of the game that sealed Seattle’s win.

Game info

Kickoff is 1:35 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14.

You can listen on 710 ESPN Seattle or KIRO Radio.

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Everything you need to know about the Seahawks-Falcons matchup