Tale of the tape
Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks At Atlanta Falcons
|The Seahawks are 8-1 and in first place in the NFC West, but they aren’t exactly rolling after their 27-24 overtime victory at home over the winless Tampa Bay Bucs. Russell Wilson and the Seattle offensive got off to a slow start and that could be quite costly against a struggling team like the Falcons that is desperate to get a victory at home.||Quarterback||The Falcons have been broken by injuries this year and are just a shell of the team that got to the NFC Championship game last year. Matt Ryan does not have his weapons as Julio Jones is out for the year and Roddy White has missed the last three games, but some of it is on him. Ryan threw three interceptions in the loss at Carolina and he struggles under pressure.|
|The Seahawks need to play with a bit more urgency on offense. They fell behind the Buccaneers 21-0 and that won’t work against a good team. While Marshawn Lynch is one of the best running backs in the game and punishes opposing tacklers, the Seahawks need to get wideout Percy Harvin into the lineup to give them a sense of explosiveness that has been missing.||Offense||The Falcons are almost certainly out of the playoff race at the halfway point – barring an unforeseen turnaround – so the pressure should be off. The return of Steven Jackson to the backfield is a positive development, but the Falcons need the return of a healthy White to give them more dependability. Tight end Tony Gonzalez is still a valuable red zone target.|
|The Seahawks have been the most dangerous and explosive defense in the league, but that unit did not get its wake-up call until the second half against Tampa Bay. That cannot sit well with head coach Pete Carroll, who must find a way to get his team back on track without any more slip ups. Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner had a sensational game with 11 tackles and 1.5 sacks.||Defense||The Falcons have not been stout at the point of attack and struggle when the game is on the line. That’s not a good combination. While they appear to have enough speed and quickness, the Falcons lost much of their strength against the run when versatile Kroy Biermann was lost for the season with a knee injury. Linebacker Paul Worrilow was credited with 19 tackles against the Panthers.|
|If the game is close, special teams could give the Seahawks an advantage. They do a solid job in punt and kickoff coverage and they have the speed in Jermaine Kearse to make a big play in the return game. Steven Hauschka is a dependable placekicker while punter Jon Ryan can drop the ball inside the 20.||Special Teams||The Falcons are decent at special teams, but they are not as good in coverage as the Seahawks and Jacquizz Rodgers is unlikely to bring back a long return. Matt Bryant has been a dependable field goal kicker, while punter Matt Bosher has excellent leg strength.|
The winner is
More Tales of the tape
National Championship Matchup: #8 Kentucky Vs. #7 Connecticut
No. 8-seeded Kentucky stunned No. 2-seeded Michigan in the Elite Eight and shut down Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky and the Badgers offense in the Final Four.
Semifinal Matchup: #1 Florida Vs. #7 Connecticut
It was three years ago that Jim Calhoun led the UConn Huskies to the college basketball national championship. That Final Four included two of the teams in this year’s Final Four in UConn and Kentucky
Semifinal Matchup: #8 Kentucky Vs. #2 Wisconsin
Wisconsin—who was overshadowed by other top Big Ten teams in the tournament in Michigan and Michigan State—is now the last man standing and hoping to win it all with the likes of big man, Frank Kaminsky.