NFC South: Miike Smith

Early numbers on Seahawks-Falcons

January, 7, 2013
1/07/13
9:30
AM ET
ESPN Stats & Information just sent out its early preview package on the divisional round playoff game between the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons. Let’s take a look:
  • The Seahawks are 2-8 all-time in road playoff games, including Sunday’s victory at Washington.
  • Seattle’s Russell Wilson is only the sixth rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era to win a playoff game. He has a chance to join Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez as the only rookies to win two playoff games.
  • Wilson’s 12 wins this season, including Sunday’s playoff victory, are the third most by a rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era.
  • Wilson has gotten better on the road as the season has gone on. In his first five road games, he threw four touchdowns and eight interceptions. In his last four road games, Wilson has thrown six touchdowns and zero interceptions.
  • The Falcons have won the last three meetings between the two teams, including a 30-28 victory in Seattle last season.
  • Since the arrival of coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan in 2008, the Falcons are 56-24 in the regular season. Only New England has a better record in that span. But the Falcons haven’t won in the postseason with Smith and Ryan.
  • The last time the Falcons won a playoff game was against the Rams in the 2004 divisional playoffs.
  • Ryan’s record in the Georgia Dome (including the postseason) is 33-6.
  • In the final three games of the regular season, Ryan threw eight touchdown passes and zero interceptions.

NFC South evening update

October, 24, 2012
10/24/12
5:55
PM ET
Time for a look at the day's top headlines from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

There was a time when the matchup between Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick and his former team would have been a huge story. But, as Michael Cunningham writes, it’s more like a footnote now. Vick hasn’t played for the Falcons since 2006. Matt Ryan’s been Atlanta’s quarterback since 2008. The NFL is a league where time moves quickly. Vick never will be forgotten in Atlanta, but Vick, the Falcons and fans have moved on.

A lot of critics have been saying the Falcons haven’t beaten a good team. That’s about to change. It’s not like the Falcons are about to face the four best teams in the league, but Mark Bradley points out that Philadelphia, Dallas, New Orleans and Arizona are better than what the Falcons already have faced.

Coach Mike Smith said defensive tackle Corey Peters is progressing as he works to return from a foot injury. But Smith said Peters isn't in football shape. If he's not in football shape on Wednesday, I don't know that he'll be there Sunday. It might be another week before Peters plays.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

As we told you earlier, it looked like linebacker Jon Beason was headed for injured reserve. That now is official, according to coach Ron Rivera. Rookie Luke Kuechly has played middle linebacker as Beason was banged up in recent weeks and will continue in that role.

Scott Fowler writes that quarterback Cam Newton was more open than usual when meeting with the media Wednesday. Among the topics of conversation, Newton explained why he’s not a fan of Twitter and also said he wished he had done more on the field to keep general manager Marty Hurney from getting fired.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Although the NFL Players Association is asking former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue to recuse himself as the hearing officer for next week’s appeals in the player suspensions in the bounty saga, Andrew Brandt writes that Tagliabue might be the best option for the players. Although Goodell and Tagliabue are close, Brandt points out that they are different in some ways. He also points out that Tagliabue no longer is an NFL employee, which basically is another way of saying the former commissioner is his own man and isn’t going to be a puppet.

Sunday will mark Joe Vitt’s first game as the interim coach. It also will be a family reunion. Denver quarterback Adam Case is married to Vitt’s daughter.

There was some good news on the injury front. Tight end Jimmy Graham, who missed Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay, practiced on a limited basis. Vitt said Graham fared well in practice. Fantasy football players: Keep monitoring Graham as the week goes on, but I think there’s a pretty good chance you might want to put him back in your lineup.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Cornerback Brandon McDonald (ankle) is the only player listed as anything worse than probable on the injury report for Thursday night’s game against Minnesota

Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen presents a challenge for any left tackle. But Dory LeBlanc points out that Tampa Bay’s Donald Penn has fared pretty well against Allen in the past.

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