Here we are. The start of the 2020 NFL season. Many fans didn’t believe that we would be here a few months ago. A football season during a pandemic? Seems crazy right? It is safe to say, the winner of this NFL season will be cemented in history, not only as Super Bowl champions, but Super Bowl champions during a global pandemic.
On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks will travel to Atlanta for a matchup against the Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The battle of the birds as some might say. We all know about Russel Wilson and Matt Ryan. The duo of veteran quarterbacks are set to battle once again in this NFC conference matchup. I am going to dive into some matchups that could make or break this game. So, let’s get right into it.
Julio Jones and Co, against Seattle’s Secondary
Let’s get one thing cleared up right away, Julio Jones is a STUD. Incredible athlete at age 31, and now entering his 10th NFL season. Julio Jones is not the only weapon that Matt Ryan or Matty Ice has though. Also surrounded by Calvin Ridley, Russel Gage, and newcomers Hayden Hurst and veteran Todd Gurley. The Falcons offense is loaded with great talent along with some great new uniforms as well. Can Seattle’s secondary limit these Falcons wide receivers?
A group led by newcomer, Jamal Adams, an all-pro safety, will have to try and limit these Falcon wide receivers and not allow big plays. A secondary consisting of: Jamal Adams, Shaquill Griffin, Quandre Diggs, Quinton Dunbar, and a solid linebacker core led by veteran Bobby Wagner. The talent is obviously there in the secondary for the Seahawks, but can they limit Julio Jones in this matchup? An underrated wide receiver in this matchup is Russel Gage. With Julio attracting a double team nearly every play, it is going to leave Russel Gage one on one in the slot. So, keep your eyes peeled for Russel Gage this Sunday.
Todd Gurley Against Seattle’s Front Seven
Todd Gurley is in a new home after being released by the Rams in the offseason. He signed a new one-year deal with the Falcons and is set to get the bulk of the carries in Atlanta. Just two seasons ago, in 2018, Gurley rushed for 1,250 yards and scoring a league high 21 total touchdowns. If Atlanta can get even a fraction of that Todd Gurley back, then this offense will be dangerous. Seattle’s front seven is really led by their linebacking core of: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, and first round selection Jordyn Brooks. Jamal Adams will also help with the run game as he loves to play in the box. Expect a physical matchup here with lots of grit and grind from both sides this Sunday.
Falcons Defense against Russel Wilson and Co.
It’s no secret in what Russel Wilson can do. Surround him with a talented group of wide receivers led by Tyler Lockett, and a veteran tight end in Greg Olsen, and you have more than enough firepower on offense. There are question marks on the already struggling offensive line. Can the offensive line, after releasing two veteran starters this offseason, give Wilson enough time to work his magic on the field. Justin Britt and D.J. Fluker both were released this offseason to make matters worse for an already struggling offensive line. The Falcons front seven is solid, but not great, so the matchup is a fairly good one considering the Seahawks have some question marks still. Russel Wilson will be Russel Wilson at the end of the day, and make this offensive line look better than they actually are.
Pete Carroll, Dan Quinn, and Score Prediction
It is week 1, so both teams will make mistakes. Neither team will be playing their best team football in week 1 as expected. So, I like to look at the head coaches and see who I trust more in a week 1 matchup. I think Pete Carroll’s football mind is going to outcoach Dan Quinn this Sunday. Week one is the first real test for both squads after a very unorthodox offseason. I think Julio has a big game along with DK Metcalf. I see a high scoring game here, but close in the end. My score prediction for week 1 is Seattle 34 Falcons 31. Seattle to start the season 1-0.