The Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks will battle for a spot in the NFC Championship on Saturday in the Georgia Dome. The two teams will meet for a second time this season after facing each other back in Week 6.
The Falcons edged the Seahawks during the final week of the regular season to secure the number two seed in the NFC and home-field advantage but now will have to overcome the very team that they finished ahead of in the playoff seedings.
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons will have an empty injury report heading into their first playoff game since 2012 after the likes of Robert Alford, Austin Hooper, Julio Jones and Andy Levitre recovered from their respective injuries during the bye week.
With the offense at full health, Matt Ryan will have all his weapons at the ready on Saturday while a defense that has improved as the season progressed will get a boost with no injuries to report.
Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks could welcome back rookie running back CJ Prosise on Saturday after he was limited in practice but is listed as doubtful. Safety Jeron Johnson faced a limited practice, as did defensive tackle Tony McDaniel who is recovering from a concussion.
With Thomas Rawls completely healthy now, the Seahawks saw their run game drastically improve during wildcard weekend. Similar to their opponents on Saturday, the injury report is clearing up as the playoffs go on.
What to Watch For
Revenge is on the cards for both teams this weekend. The Seahawks hosted the Falcons back in Week 6, holding off Matt Ryan and company with a minute to go to secure a 26-24 win, but it is also a rematch of the 2012 Divisional Round game, which Atlanta won in the Georgia Dome thanks to Matt Bryant's field goal with eight seconds remaining.
Julio Jones - Richard Sherman: The two squared off in Week 6 but Sherman did not track Jones all over the field due to Seattle's defensive scheme. Jones' seven catches for 139 yards and a touchdown were a game-high but was on the receiving end of a missed pass interference call committed by Sherman. He should see a lot more of Sherman on Saturday due to the huge absence of Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, III. and will be aiming to make up for that missed call.
Seahawks OL - Vic Beasley: Seattle's offensive line has struggled to protect Russell Wilson all season, giving up 42 sacks as well as plenty more pressures on the QB. Vic Beasley, who led the NFL in sacks during the regular season with 15.5, will get a chance to continue his incredible sophomore season but will have to take into account the mobility of Wilson.
Russell Wilson - Atlanta Defense: Wilson has had an inconsistent season but has the ability to turn it on whenever, especially in the playoffs. Atlanta's defense has had an up and down year itself but has improved as the year progressed. Now fully healthy and with a running game, Wilson must be at his very best on Saturday in order to keep up with Atlanta's offense.