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NFC West

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 13: Jonathan Babineaux #95 of the Atlanta Falcons sacks Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks in the second quarter during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Georgia Dome on January 13, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

In A Stunner, Russell Was Right, Defense Was Wrong For Seahawks

Wilson’s lightning-quick development into a superstar was probably the biggest surprise in the entire NFL this season, and the Seattle defense’s failure against Atlanta in the playoffs had to be a close second.

01/15/2013

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 13: Jonathan Babineaux #95 of the Atlanta Falcons sacks Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks in the second quarter during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Georgia Dome on January 13, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Promising Seahawks Suffer Gut-Wrenching Playoff Loss In Atlanta

After playing a complete dud of a game in the first half, the Hawks rallied behind Russell Wilson to take the lead — and then gave it up in a loss that was both heartbreaking and encouraging.

01/14/2013

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 11: Defensive end Bruce Irvin #51 of the Seattle Seahawks reacts after making a sack against the New York Jets at CenturyLink Field on November 11, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Bruce Irvin Holds The Key To Stopping Falcons’ Offense

With leading sacker Chris Clemons out for the rest of the playoffs, the Seahawks need Irvin, their first-round pick, to step up and bring Matt Ryan down.

01/13/2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 26: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons throws a pass against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Falcons 45-16. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

The Seahawks’ Keys To Victory Against The Atlanta Falcons

Seattle needs to pressure Matt Ryan, stop his star receiving duo of Julio Jones and Roddy White, run the ball like they have all season and score touchdowns in the red zone.

01/12/2013

LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 06: Chris Clemons #91 of the Seattle Seahawks receives attention after being injured on a play against the Washington Redskins during the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at FedExField on January 6, 2013 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Without Chris Clemons, Gus Bradley Has To Come Up With Ways To Pressure Matt Ryan

Seattle’s defensive coordinator seemingly hates to blitz on the road — the Hawks rarely do it. But if they are going to get some pressure on Ryan, he is going to have to pull the trigger.

01/11/2013

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 30: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons points out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense at Georgia Dome on December 30, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Pressure Is On The High-Flying Falcons As They Host The Seahawks

Matt Ryan is still looking for his first playoff win, and he will have to continue his great play if he is going to get it against a streaking Seattle team.

1090 The Fan–01/10/2013

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 14: Kicker Steven Hauschka #4 of the Seattle Seahawks kicks a field goal against the New England Patriots at CenturyLink Field on October 14, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Seahawks Make Short-Term Fixes For Long-Term Needs

Ryan Longwell reportedly will take over kicking duties for the injured Steven Hauschka, and the Hawks have replaced Chris Clemons for now. But they need to address kicker and the pass rush more permanently after the season.

01/09/2013

LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 06: Chris Clemons #91 of the Seattle Seahawks receives attention after being injured on a play against the Washington Redskins during the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at FedExField on January 6, 2013 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Chris Clemons’ ACL Injury Makes Bruce Irvin The Main Rush Man Now

The loss of Clemons against Washington means Irvin, the team’s surprise first-round pick, must step up against Atlanta.

1090 The Fan–01/08/2013

Bruce Irvin (Getty Images)

Seahawks Rally For First Road Playoff Win In 30 Years

The Seattle Seahawks overcame a 14-0 deficit and a poor performance in the red zone to knock off the Washington Redskins and move on to play the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday.

01/07/2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 24: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks stands with players during the National Anthem prior to the NFL preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on August 24, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

This Is Just The Beginning For Pete Carroll’s Seahawks

No matter what they do in these playoffs, the Seahawks are built for long-term success and will be a factor for years to come.

01/06/2013

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