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Four matchups to watch: Seahawks at Falcons
A look at the Seahawks’ Week 10 game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on Sunday, including four matchups that could impact the outcome:
When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PT, Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Records: Seahawks 8-1 and first in the NFC West after Sunday’s 27-24 overtime victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at CenturyLink Field; Falcons 2-6 and last in the NFC South after Sunday’s 31-17 loss to the Panthers in Carolina.
TV: FOX (Q/13 in Seattle), with Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch and Erin Andrews
Radio: 710 ESPN and 97.3 KIRO FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Rest of the West: Rams (3-6) at Colts; Panthers at 49ers (6-2); Texans at Cardinals (4-4)
Seahawks defense vs. Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez: “Nobody can cover him. He’s just killed everybody for a whole career.” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll offered that assessment of the most productive tight end in NFL history before Gonzalez did just that in the Falcons’ 30-28 victory in January’s divisional playoff game in Atlanta. Gonzalez caught six passes for 51 yards and a touchdown, but the damage was far greater than those stats would indicate. He had a 9-yard reception against strong safety Kam Chancellor on the game-opening drive to a field goal. His TD came on a 1-yard catch against Chancellor later in the first quarter. He had a 6-yarder on third-and-5 against middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and an 11-yarder on third-and-9 against third safety Winston Guy during a touchdown drive on the Falcons’ first possession in the second half. He had a 19-yarder against zone coverage on the Falcons’ drive to their game-winning field goal in overtime. The Seahawks’ Legion of Boom secondary cannot allow Gonzalez to have a repeat performance on Sunday. He’s 37 and halfway through his 17th NFL season, but he still leads the Falcons in receptions (44) and TD catches (four).
One to watch
Fun to watch
Seahawks WR Jermaine Kearse vs. Falcons CB Desmond Trufant: The opportunities to see these friendly rivals when they were teammates at the University of Washington, respectful high school foes at Wilson in Tacoma (Trufant) and Lakes in Lakewood (Kearse) and even youth football opponents will be limited. But when Trufant does draw Kearse – as the corner on the right side or the nickel back who covers a slot receiver – it will be worth watching. Trufant, the Falcons’ first-round draft choice and youngest brother of former Seahawks corner Marcus Trufant, got his first NFL interception last week and leads the Falcons with eight passes defensed. Kearse has just 10 receptions, but he’s averaging a team-best 17.1 yards and also has three touchdown catches to share the club lead.
One tough task
The Seahawks lead the series 8-5, but the Falcons have won the past three meetings in the regular season as well as January’s playoff game. … A Seahawks’ victory would tie the franchise record for road victories of five that was set by the 1984 team and tied by the 2005 team. … The Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch ranks third in the league with 726 rushing yards and is coming off a season-best 125-yard game against the Bucs. … QB Russell Wilson passed for a career-high 385 yards and two TDs against the Falcons in January’s playoff game. … A victory would be Wilson’s 20th, tying him with Ryan and the Ravens’ Joe Flacco for third place among QBs for the most wins in their first two seasons behind the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger (22) and former Dolphins’ QB Dan Marino (21). … Seahawks TE Zach Miller caught eight passes for 142 yards and a TD in the divisional playoff game. … Jackson, who played his first nine seasons with the Rams, has run for 1,137 and eight touchdowns in 17 games against the Seahawks. … The Falcons are 35-9 at the Georgia Dome since 2008, the third-best home record in the league during that span. … Thomas leads the Seahawks with 69 tackles. … S William Moore leads the Falcons with 75 tackles.