Seahawks 2020 opponent breakdowns: Atlanta Falcons
By Lee Vowell
The Seahawks will travel to Atlanta to play the Falcons in week one of the 2020 season. What should Seattle expect in the first game of the season?
The Seahawks and Falcons are slated to face each other in week one of the 2020 season, assuming there is a season. Atlanta went 7-9 in 2019 while Seattle was 11-5, including a victory over Atlanta.
What should Seattle expect from the Falcons this year?
Any team with Matt Ryan is capable of beating any other team. After an atrocious 1-7 start to 2019, the Falcons finished 6-2 including victories over the Saints and the 49ers. It is important to remember that while the Seahawks had a win over Atlanta last season – a victory that was much closer than it should have been – the Falcons were playing without Matt Ryan.
That would be the game where backup Matt Schaub still threw for 460 yards against Seattle. Just imagine what Ryan would have done.
Atlanta should have a good offense again this year. Julio Jones, arguably the best receiver in the NFL, and Calvin Ridley give Ryan two excellent options. The Falcons did lose tight end Austin Hooper in free agency and they replaced him with Hayden Hurst. Hurst isn’t Hooper but with Ryan as his quarterback, he will be productive.
Unless the Seahawks pass rush is much better to start 2020 than it was in 2019, Seattle will have to win by outscoring Atlanta.
And the Seahawks can outscore Atlanta. Seattle may have its best offense in many seasons in 2020. The only thing that may hold the offense back is the question marks along the offensive line. But skill position-wise, Seattle matches up favorably with the Falcons defense.
This is because Atlanta has the same issue that Seattle does defensively, a lack of a very good pass rush. Atlanta did add Dante Fowler this offseason but lost Vic Beasley. That is a plus-net of just three sacks. And can Fowler be as good without a player like Aaron Donald taking the attention off him?
Atlanta’s cornerbacks are a fairly unproven bunch too. They have just 29 starts among the top three corners. Russell Wilson and D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett should be able to take advantage of this.
The Falcons are better against the run than the pass, so this may be a game where offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer decides to air it out.
How the Seahawks matchup with the Falcons
Week one of 2020, especially as there will be no preseason games, will be an odd one. Teams will have practiced for over a month but not played live-action. This game could come down to which team finds its rhythm first. And that could be predicated by which team finds a pass rush first.
With two great quarterbacks with excellent skill position players (and let us not forget that the Falcons added running back Todd Gurley this offseason), this should be a high scoring game. Seattle might have just a bit more talent on its defense due to its linebacker group, so Seattle should go on the road and win to start the season. But it will be a game like every other Seattle game, tight and with lots of highs and lows.