Sure, no Thomas takes significan’t speed and quickness from the Seahawks’ secondary in the middle of the field. But they’re not used to seeing teams that work the middle of the field create such receiving mismatches. It’s fighting fire with fire, but also not getting burned by forcing it outside. It’s why Ryan got red-hot during the regular-season meeting, when Thomas did play.
The Falcons developed a talented roster with the intent of taking the South stranglehold away from Carolina. But with Quinn, Seattle’s former defensive coordinator, they were smart to think bigger, blending players with scheme that could take down the NFC’s reigning birds of prey.
It’s good to have all that balance and diversity in weaponry, but what allowed the Falcons to truly de-claw Seattle was their physicality. Quinn sure brought that to a revamped young defense that had a few breakout moments against Russell Wilson. But what makes Shanahan’s plan impressive is how much it’s still based in punching opponents in the mouth, line and run first.
Champions, North. Pittsburgh won the division title with a win over Baltimore on Sunday.
Champions, South. Houston won the division title with a nail-biting win over Cincinnati on Saturday night.
Wild card. Kansas City clinched at least a wild-card spot with Baltimore’s loss Sunday. It kept making Oakland sweat in the West race with a win over Denver on Sunday. The Chiefs would win the West with a win and a Raiders loss in Week 16.
Baltimore and Denver joined this group Sunday. Tennessee lost a game, along with Marcus Mariota, and that was it for it’s season. Buffalo and Indianapolis also joined this group on this Saturday. Cleveland got it’s first win.