Photo credit: (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)
The NFL schedule came out recently and we had a chance to break down the team’s opportunities in our far too early review in our podcast (SSU Talks Seahawks 5.9.20: Seahawks schedule). While some of us are hopeful there are many considerations to review both positive and negative in nature.
The schedule was built with flexibility in mind, depending upon on where things stand related to the COVID-19 outbreak. As far as playoff teams go, the Seahawks got off easy with a middling schedule that see them face teams with a record last year just over .500 (129-125-2) and Week 1 is a great example of that. According to SportsBettingDime, Seattle will be one of the few road favorites in the first week when they travel to Atlanta to open the season.
The Seahawks, while given the advantage over the Falcons, find themselves pitted against an elite wide receiver Julio Jones and Pro Bowler QB “Matty Ice” Ryan. Luckily for the Hawks, Atlanta’s defense ranked 20th in yards allowed and even worse, they finished 23rd in points allowed last season, giving up nearly 25 points per game.
Last year, the Falcons were as miserable as the Seahawks in pass rush with just a measly 28 sacks on the season. After losing Marcus Peters to the Lions, it is a very large concern if Clemson corner back AJ Terrell can’t take his place. And it won’t just be Terrell who needs to make an impact as 2nd and 4th round picks DT Marlon Davidson and LB Mykal Walker look to break into the lineup. All of this bodes well for a seasoned veteran Seahawks offense who should steam roll a Falcons defense with potentially 10 new starters.
The Hawks defense will need to find some ground as the trio of Ryan, Jones, and Calvin Ridley are capable of putting a world of hurt on pass defenses. The Seahawks rebuilt the pass defense with the addition of Quandre Diggs at safety and now the new superstar at corner back Quinton Dunbar. The addition looked to aid them to dominate in this league; however, (and this is a large however) everything hinges on how a recent incident plays out in the courts. Dunbar, who was ranked #2 in the NFL by Pro Football Focus) was brought in to team up with Shaq Griffin to be the new Legion of Boom. But it remains to see if he will face suspension by the NFL for his indiscretions. Or see significant jail time for a crime.
And that is quite simply what this game may come down to. Will Pete Carroll’s new shiny toy in Dunbar be available? The Seahawks will have no problem scoring, but can they stop the potent Falcons defense? With Dunbar it is doable. Without Dunbar and the Seahawks have to revert back to Tre Flowers. Then all of the sudden, expect the line to shift back to the favor of the Falcons.
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