With Seattle travelling to No. 1 seed Atlanta for this Sunday’s divisional contest, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman says he and his teammates are confident, and feeling no pressure heading into the matchup after defeating Washington last week.
“We had to get it,” Sherman said. “It’s the playoffs, so you have to get every one or you’re going home. I think we’re an extremely confident bunch right now. We’re a young team who’s hungry. We don’t really feel the pressure because there’s no pressure to be felt. We’re just hungry and trying to win ball games by any means.”
On the flip side, the Falcons at 13-3 are 0-3 during Mike Smith’s tenure has head coach since 2008. So Atlanta could be feeling more pressure to get a playoff win most folks expect them to win, right?
“I try not to think about what other teams are dealing with,” Sherman said. “We’ve got enough on our plate to prepare for them. I guess there’s some pressure there for them, but they’re a great team. They’re the No. 1 seed for a reason. And they’ve earned it, so I’m not sure how much pressure there is for them because they’ve only lost three games during the season.”
Sherman gave props to Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan for having an outstanding season this year, and says the Boston College product will be tough to deal with on Sunday.
“He’s done a great job this year,” Sherman said. “I think he’s thrown for 5,000 yards or something. And he’s does a great job of getting the ball to where he wants it. He knows his spots. He knows where his receivers are supposed to be, and he’s accurate with the ball. He throws into some tight windows, but he gets the ball there with some zip on it. I think this is one of his best years in the NFL.”
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said the keys for Seattle against the Falcons will be limiting turnovers, being efficient on offense (third down, red zone) and taking advantage of scoring opportunities when they present themselves something he called GAP plays – or game-altering plays.
“You’ve got to make those plays happen,” Wilson said. “It’s going to be a great game. Obviously, they have a great offense, and their defense is playing really well, too. So I think the biggest thing is we’ve got to just play one play at a time, control what we can control and play our game.”
Wilson will see a familiar face on the other sideline. His center at the University of Wisconsin, Peter Konz, is Atlanta’s starting right guard.
Konz told Atlanta-area reporters that Wilson is a good friend of his, but that he doesn’t talk to his friends on opposing teams during game week.
“Me and him developed a close relationship,” Wilson said. “It’s funny, because I remember back at Wisconsin, he’d be like, ‘Yeah, man, I’ve got a friend from this team, but I’m not talking to him this week.’ So I can definitely see Peter doing that for sure. And that’s just that competitive nature that he brings, and that I bring.”
Wilson said that Steve Young and Drew Brees were the quarterbacks he tried to emulate while plying his trade in high school.
“I still watch him to this day,” Wilson said about Brees. “I like guys who have a competitive nature, great leadership and attention to detail, and love to win and love to compete. So those are the guys I watch the most.”