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How the underdog Seahawks match up with the Falcons

The Seattle Seahawks opened as 3.5-point underdogs against the Atlanta Falcons, but the line has already been bet up to 4.5 points, indicating that early money is on Atlanta.

The two teams squared off in Week 6, and the Seahawks escaped with a 26-24 victory. But that game was played at CenturyLink Field. Here's an updated look at how their respective offenses and defenses match up.

When the Seahawks run

They got their ground game going against the Detroit Lions, with Thomas Rawls carrying 27 times for a franchise playoff record 161 yards. And the Falcons present a favorable matchup for a repeat.

Atlanta ranked 27th in defensive efficiency and 29th against the run during the regular season. Opponents averaged 4.52 YPC against the Falcons (26th).

Against the Lions, Rawls had 72 yards after contact. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the last player with more in a postseason game was Marshawn Lynch in 2010.

The Seahawks' run game is important for a couple reasons. One, it keeps Matt Ryan and company off the field. The Lions, for example, only had 50 offensive plays (nine drives) Saturday.

And two, it helps the play-action passing game.

In the first meeting between the two teams, the Seahawks ran 27 times for 72 yards (2.7 YPC). Christine Michael was their leading rusher (18 for 64).

When the Seahawks pass

With Dan Quinn running the show, the Falcons' defensive scheme is similar to the Seahawks'. In Week 6, Russell Wilson completed 25 of 37 passes for 270 yards. Jimmy Graham was the Seahawks' leading receiver with six grabs for 89 yards. Wilson was sacked once and hit five times in that game.

The Falcons' defense ranked 27th in pressure percentage (24.9) and 26th in sack percentage (4.8) during the regular season. Vic Beasley Jr. led the NFL with 15.5 sacks.

Atlanta is without its top corner, Desmond Trufant, who suffered a season-ending injury in Week 9. In the first matchup, the Falcons were without starting cornerback Jalen Collins.

Atlanta's pass defense ranked 19th in efficiency. Pete Carroll has said that running back C.J. Prosise (shoulder) has a chance to return for this game. That's worth noting, considering the Falcons ranked 26th against opposing running backs in the passing game.

Wilson completed 23 of 30 passes for 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Lions. He was 11-for-11 for 104 yards when targeting Doug Baldwin.

When the Falcons run

Devonta Freeman ran for 1,079 yards and averaged 4.8 YPC during the regular season. Tevin Coleman ran for 520 yards and averaged 4.4 YPC. As a team, the Falcons ranked seventh in rushing efficiency.

But the Seahawks have been fantastic against the run all season long, limiting opponents to a league-low 3.37 YPC.

In the first meeting, Freeman ran 12 times for 40 yards (3.3 YPC), and Coleman carried five times for 10 yards. The Lions ran 15 times for 49 yards (3.3 YPC) against the Seahawks on Saturday.

When the Falcons pass

Ryan led the NFL, averaging 9.26 YPA in the regular season, while throwing 38 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Falcons produced 69 pass plays of 20-plus yards (third-most) and 17 pass plays of 40-plus yards (first).

In the first meeting, the Seahawks were without strong safety Kam Chancellor and defensive lineman Frank Clark. Ryan completed 27 of 42 passes for 335 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

Julio Jones had a monster game in Week 6, catching seven balls for 139 yards and a touchdown. The Seahawks had serious communication errors, which led to busted coverages and a sideline outburst from Richard Sherman.

By my count, Sherman was on Jones for 30 of 46 snaps, allowing three catches for 40 yards on five targets.

Ryan was sacked on 6.3 percent of his dropbacks during the regular season (ninth-most). In the first meeting, the Seahawks had four sacks and 13 quarterback hits. Cliff Avril (two sacks, two hits) and Michael Bennett (five hits) had big games.

Without Earl Thomas, the Seahawks haven't looked the same, but they kept Matthew Stafford and the Lions out of the end zone.

The Falcons ranked first in offensive efficiency and passing efficiency in the regular season.