When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m., CenturyLink Field
Records: Seahawks 1-2, Falcons 1-2
TV: KCPQ/13, with Craig Bolerjack and John Lynch
Radio: 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Rest of the West: New York Giants at Arizona (1-2); Washington at St. Louis (0-3); San Francisco (2-1) at Philadelphia.
Seahawks pass defense vs. the Falcons’ big three – WRs Roddy White and Julio Jones and TE Tony Gonzalez: This isn’t just CB Marcus Trufant against White, who has averaged 93 receptions the past four seasons and already has 20 this season. It’s not just the big body and physical style of CB Brandon Browner against the big body and athletic ability of Jones, the rookie who is averaging 16.5 yards on 13 receptions. It’s not even the strong safety (Kam Chancellor or Atari Bigby) or a linebacker, or two, against Gonzalez, who has caught more passes (1,069) for more yards (12,463) and more touchdowns (88) than any tight end in the 92-year history of the NFL. It’s an all-11-players-needed task, and starts with the pass-rushers being able to generate disruptive pressure on QB Matt Ryan.
One to watch
Falcons CB Brent Grimes vs. Seahawks WR Mike Williams: Williams, the Seahawks’ leading receiver last season, went without a catch against the Cardinals last week. And that was only part of his too-short story, as Williams was only targeted once – in the first quarter. It’s a situation that can’t continue, even with the return of Sidney Rice, who had eight catches for 109 yards in his Seahawks debut. QB Tarvaris Jackson needs to stay with Williams longer – but not too long – and also realize that he does not have to be open to make the catch. When matched against the 5-foot-10 Grimes, Williams will be able to use his 6-5 frame to shield him from the ball.
Fun to watch
Seahawks OLB Leroy Hill vs. Falcons RB Michael Turner: At some point – and more likely several junctures – these two will be on a collision course. Heavy emphasis on collision. The 247-pound Turner is a bruiser of a back who was averaging 6.9 yards per carry before being held to 30 yards on 15 rushing attempts against the Buccaneers last week. Hill had a game-high 11 tackles against the Cardinals last week – one shy of his career best. His big day included a sack and a forced fumble. But when Hill is really on his game, it’s not so much the tackles he makes, but the force behind them that so impressive.
One tough task
Falcons OTs Sam Baker and Tyson Clabo vs. Seahawks DEs Chris Clemons and Raheem Brock: When the Seahawks go to their nickel and dime packages in passing situations, Brock comes in to rush the passer opposite Clemons. Ryan already has been sacked 13 times this season, compared to 23 all of last season. The quickness off the ball of Clemons and Brock is only enhanced with the din generated by the 12th Man at CenturyLink Field, which makes it even more difficult for blocker to deal with their relentlessness. Each had a sack last week, but that wasn’t a true gauge of their disruptive presence – especially in the second half.
The Falcons won 34-18 in Week 15 in Seattle last season, in a game that was tied 10-10 in the second quarter before Atlanta scored 24 unanswered points. … Ryan threw three TD passes in that game, with White catching seven passes for 65 yards and Gonzalez four for 26. … Ryan passed for a career-high 330 yards in last week’s 16-13 loss to the Bucs. … Since 2008, Turner has 40 rushing touchdowns, second most in the NFC. … Falcons DE John Abraham has 104½ career sacks, which ranks No. 2 among active players in the league. … Rice has 154 receptions in his career and 114 – or 74 percent – have produced first downs. … The Seahawks are looking for back-to-back wins, which happened once in 2010 (Weeks 6-7), once in 2009 (Weeks 12-13) and once in 2008 (Weeks 15-16). … Chancellor leads the Seahawks in tackles (22), but he is listed as doubtful because of a deep thigh bruise. Bigby will start if Chancellor can’t play. … Linebackers Curtis Lofton (37) and Sean Weatherspoon (35) are the Falcons’ leading tacklers.