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Falcons, Seahawks Not The Same Teams From Week 6

Posted Jan 9, 2017

The Falcons and Seahawks are two completely different teams since the last time they faced one another. So what's changed?

When Dan Quinn and the Falcons walked off CenturyLink Field following their heartbreaking loss to the Seattle Seahawks, there was a notion that these clubs could meet again.

So it seems only fitting that one of the best regular season matchups of the year could get a sequel, this time on the Falcons turf.

Atlanta will get an opportunity to show they are not the same team that walked off the field on the wrong end of that 26-24 score.

Truth be told, both of these teams have seen a lot of changes since the last time they saw one another.

Heading into the Oct. 16 matchup, the Falcons were just getting two of their starting linebackers back from injuries. Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell had missed Atlanta’s prior game against the Broncos, and it took the rookies some time to get back on track.

Jones has been an integral part of Atlanta’s defensive success of late, leading the team in tackles this season with 106. Atlanta’s 2016 second round pick has also recorded four tackles for loss, three interceptions and one forced fumble on the year.

Since their Week 6 clash, the Falcons defense has gotten stingier. In their first 10 games, the Falcons were surrendering more than 28 points per game. In the past six weeks, however, they are giving up just 20.5 points per game.

Atlanta has also seen improvement in their red zone defense. When the Falcons last saw the Seahawks, they were allowing opponents to score touchdowns on 80 percent of their red zone possessions. Since Week 6, the Falcons have shaved that percentage to 70 percent.

When these teams last met, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel had yet to catch a touchdown pass for the Falcons; he now has six touchdowns. Atlanta’s offense has continued to improve throughout the year, especially in the red zone and on third down.

Matt Ryan and Co. were 24th in the league in red zone touchdowns when they last saw the Seahawks. The unit finished ninth in the NFL in red zone scoring efficiency (61.9). On third down, the Falcons finished 11th in the league, converting 42.1 percent of their third downs.

In Week 6, the Seahawks possessed the No. 1 ranked third down defense and the No. 5 ranked red zone defense. They now rank 12th on third down and 20th in the red zone.

The Seahawks will be without Earl Thomas on Saturday, but will have Kam Chancellor in the lineup. Chancellor was unable to play in the first meeting between these teams. Atlanta will also see a healthier Russell Wilson, as he was coming off a knee injury in the previous matchup.

As Coach Quinn stated during his press conference on Monday, both the Seahawks and Falcons are different teams at this point. And the Falcons will get a prime chance to showcase their growth.