The Atlanta Falcons host the Seattle Seahawks at 1 p.m. ET on Sept. 13 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to kick off the 2020 season. Head coaches Pete Carroll and Dan Quinn have squared off against one another four times in the last five seasons with the overall record of 2-2. The Seahawks finished the 2019 season 11-5 and second-overall in the NFC West.
As the Falcons look to start their season with a home victory after back-to-back 7-9 seasons, here's what you need to know about Atlanta's first opponent of the year:
It begins and ends with Russell Wilson at quarterback
Had Lamar Jackson not had the breakout season that he did in 2019, there's a strong chance Russell Wilson would have been named the NFL's Most Valuable Player. Wilson finished the season with 4,110 passing yards, 31 passing touchdowns and just five interceptions. He added 342 yards and three more scores on the ground. He continues to create plays outside of the pocket and has improved as a passer each year. The Seahawks go as Wilson goes and the Falcons will be looking to create pressure on Seattle's quarterback at all times. According to Pro Football Focus, nine quarterbacks dropped back to pass more times than Wilson did during the 2019 season (659), but he led the NFL in PFF's "big-time throws" metric that measures the highest-graded throws with six more than any other quarterback.
Keep an eye on the new guys on the block
The Falcons and Seahawks are no stranger to one another. These clubs have met often over last few years with very little roster turnover on both ends. This year is different, though. Seattle added veteran tight end, Greg Olsen, to its roster in free agency. Atlanta's defense is very familiar with Olsen as he spent nine years in the NFC South with the Carolina Panthers. When healthy, Olsen has been one of the best tight ends in the league. Olsen's 718 catches and 8,444 receiving yards rank fifth all-time among tight ends behind only Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, Antonio Gates and Shannon Sharpe.
Seattle made a blockbuster trade with the New York Jets for safety Jamal Adams at the end of July. The Seahawks sent the Jets their first and third round picks in 2021 and their first-round pick in 2022 to acquire Adams. A hefty price to pay for one player but the Seahawks clearly believe he can be a difference-maker in Pete Carroll's defense. Adams started 46 games for the Jets and earned first-team AP All Pro and Pro Bowl honors after his 2019 season in which he recorded 75 tackles, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception returned for a 61-yard touchdown.
Don't sleep on workout warrior D.K. Metcalf
Former Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf was one of the better rookies in the NFL last season. After falling to the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Metcalf took advantage of every opportunity he was given. Checking in at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, Metcalf caught the attention of many when he ran a 4.3-second 40- yard dash at the 2019 NFL scouting combine. He and Wilson's connection improved throughout the season as he went on to catch 58 passes for 900 yards and seven touchdowns.
Two of Metcalf's seven touchdowns came against the Falcons in 2019. Communication lapses and missed assignments by Atlanta's defense in the 27-20 loss left Metcalf open on numerous occasions and the Seahawks cashed in.
Atlanta Falcons will debut new uniforms this season, beginning with black home jerseys against the Seahawks in Week 1, new gradient jerseys in week 7 against the Lions and Throwbacks week 13 against the Saints.