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Seattle Seahawks vs. Atlanta Falcons Preview and Predictions 09-13-2020

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It might not be the "Legion of Boom," but the Seattle Seahawks have retooled their defensive secondary.

Now the question is whether the Seahawks can put pressure on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan when they open their season on Sunday in Atlanta.

Those chances took a hit over the weekend when three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jadeveon Clowney signed with the Tennessee Titans as a free agent, ending his one-year stay in Seattle.

"It was a long, long offseason in terms of trying to figure out how that was gonna work out," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Clowney's situation. "And we were involved throughout, but yet we moved on, for the most part, well early in the offseason so that we can do the rest of the team. And fortunately we were able to do that and got some good players."

The Seahawks signed veterans Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa, who each began their careers in Seattle, to beef up the rush end spot. They combined for 15.5 sacks last season with Carolina and Oakland, respectively.

Seattle went 11-5 in the 2019 regular season before losing at Green Bay in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The Seahawks made a big offseason move in a trade for New York Jets safety Jamal Adams. Seattle also acquired cornerback Quinton Dunbar in a deal with the Washington Football Team. With those two added to incumbents Quandre Diggs and Shaquill Griffin, the secondary is back to being a beast.

"I feel like we have everything," Griffin said. "We literally have everything we could want on the team to be able to get to where we want to be at."

MVP candidate quarterback Russell Wilson leads the offense, and Chris Carson enters the final year of his rookie contract after rushing for a career-high 1,230 yards last season.

The Seahawks also traveled to Atlanta last season, building a 24-point halftime lead before holding on for a 27-20 victory.

That loss dropped Atlanta to 1-7, but the Falcons closed out the year by winning six of their final eight games, helping coach Dan Quinn retain his job.

"It's definitely a lot easier than having a whole new coaching staff," Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver said. "Having them back is huge. We all love to play for Coach Quinn and we're ready to fight for him."

The Falcons picked up running back Todd Gurley and outside linebacker Dante Fowler, a pair of former Los Angeles Rams, in the offseason.

The biggest boost for Atlanta might be the return of Pro Bowl safety Keanu Neal, who has missed all but four games the past two seasons due to injuries.

"From a physical standpoint, he does not look like a player who had these two significant setbacks," Quinn said. "I think it speaks to the work that he put in."

The Falcons will need to focus on keeping Ryan upright after he was sacked a career-high 48 times last season. Gurley will try to boost a rushing attack that ranked 30th in the NFL last year with just 85.1 yards per game.

The Falcons were next to last in the league last season with 28 sacks.

They hope that will change with the addition of Fowler, the third overall pick in the 2015 draft by Jacksonville. He turned his career around in Los Angeles and is coming off an 11 1/2-sack season.

"My first few years in a league, I had some bumps, some growing pains," Fowler said. "I'm happy it happened to me early. Now, I'm ready to be a pro for the next 10 years."

Falcons cornerback Jordan Miller is serving a four-game suspension for violating league rules on performance-enhancing drugs. Nickel corner Kendall Sheffield (foot) and defensive end Charles Harris (ankle) have been held out of practice with injuries, while defensive lineman Marlon Davidson (knee) and wide receiver Russell Gage (groin) have been limited.

For the Seahawks, offensive linemen Cedric Ogbuehi (pectoral) and Duane Brown (knee) and wide receiver Phillip Dorsett (foot) were limited practice participants at midweek.

--Field Level Media

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Key Players to Watch

Stadium

Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Capacity: 71,000

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Last Injuries

Atlanta Falcons

  • Calvin Ridley

    Elbow
    Prob Sun | probable

    Ridley is expected to take the field against the Lions on Sunday despite an elbow injury.

  • Takkarist McKinley

    Groin
    Ques Sun | questionable

    McKinley sat out the previous contest with a groin injury, and it is undetermined if he will suit up Sunday against the Lions.

  • Jaylinn Hawkins

    Concussion
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Hawkins has sat out the last two game due to a concussion, and it is unknown if he will play against the Lions on Sunday.

  • Julio Jones

    Hamstring
    Prob Sun | probable

    Jones is likely to be available Sunday against the Lions despite a hamstring injury.

  • John Cominsky

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Cominsky has tested positive for COVID-19. He has been placed on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list and will miss an extended period.

  • Damontae Kazee

    Achilles
    I-R | I-R

    Kazee has been placed on the injured reserve list after tearing his left Achilles tendon.

  • Keanu Neal

    Hamstring
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Neal has a hamstring injury, and it is unclear if he will be available against the Vikings on Sunday.

  • Foyesade Oluokun

    Knee
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Oluokun is hobbled by a knee injury, and it remains to be seen if he will be a participant in Sunday's matchup against the Vikings.

Seattle Seahawks

  • Colby Parkinson

    Foot
    Ques Sun | I-R

    Parkinson has been designated for the Injured Reserve/Non-Football Injury list after having surgery to repair a broken fifth metatarsal in his foot. It is unclear if he will get back on the field Sunday versus the Cardinals.

  • Mike Iupati

    Knee
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Iupati sat out the previous game with a knee injury, and it is unknown if he will suit up Sunday against the Cardinals.

  • Carlos Hyde

    Shoulder
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Hyde has been held out of past two games with a shoulder injury, and it is not known if he will be take part in Sunday's matchup versus the Cardinals.

  • Jamal Adams

    Groin
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Adams has been absent from the lineup during the previous two games due to a groin strain, and it is uncertain if he will line up Sunday versus the Cardinals.

  • Lano Hill

    Back
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Hill has missed last two games with a back injury, and it is unclear if he will be active for Sunday's tilt versus Cardinals.

  • Neiko Thorpe

    Hip
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Thorpe has popped up on the injured reserve list with a hip injury, and it is unclear when the team will bring him back.

  • Shaquill Griffin

    Shoulder
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Griffin is bothered by a shoulder injury, and it has yet to be established if he will be in Sunday's lineup versus the Vikings.

  • Cody Barton

    Quadricep
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Barton is tending to a quad injury, and it is up in the air if he will be active Sunday versus the Vikings.