Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1) at Atlanta Falcons (11-5), Saturday Jan. 14 4:35 PM ET
Line: Falcons -3.5
The Seahawks kept their home playoff win streak going, but now they have to head on the road to try and take the next step toward returning to the Super Bowl. Can they make it happen?
Seattle handled the Detroit Lions with ease in the Wild Card round, besting them by a score of 26-6. The Lions couldn’t even find their way into the end zone. However, the Lions were one of the worst teams in the playoffs, and one of the worst teams in the league, all things considered. Beating Detroit at home was basically inevitable. Taking down the Falcons, who won the AFC South and had a bye last week, is an entirely different kettle of fish.
Atlanta takes being an unbalanced football team almost to its logical extreme. Their defense ranked a lowly 27th in Football Outsiders DVOA, but their offense ranked first. The Falcons have a great offense, led by possible MVP Matt Ryan. Seattle has a good defense, but they are missing a key piece in Earl Thomas. The Lions couldn’t take advantage of that, but the Falcons probably can. On top of that, while Atlanta doesn’t have a great defense, they do have Vic Beasley, who led the league with 15.5 sacks. The Seahawks have a bad and inexperienced offensive line. If Beasley can tear things up, and make things tough for Russell Wilson, that could be the thing that puts the Falcons over the top.
Prediction: Falcons 34, Seahawks 24
C.J. Prosise, RB Questionable
Tony McDaniel, DT Questionable