Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is set to play against likely-MVP Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome this coming Saturday, facing off in the NFC Divisional playoff round for the second time in the last five seasons. This time, Wilson is looking for some revenge for the playoff loss in 2012, where we the Seahawks made a historic comeback, only to give up a last minute field goal to lose the game. Much can be written about that game, but I’ll just let you go back and read what Danny Kelly had to say about it in his post-game write up. One thing to remember from that game though, is that Wilson set the record (one of the many in his career) for most passing yards by a rookie in a playoff game, with 385.
Going from the safe boisterous confines of CenturyLink Field to the Georgia Dome isn’t as terrible as many might think it would be, obviously because the Hawks will be playing indoors. Most quarterbacks play better in domes, rather than outdoor stadiums, and it’s easy to see why: climate control. No wind, no rain, no extreme heat or cold. Comfortable. But has that held true for Wilson? Here’s what he’s done in his career so far when playing in a dome.
Pretty decent stats overall. He’s had some great games, some poor ones, and some OK ones. Now let’s take a look at his stats when playing in the confines of Century Link.
His overall averages are pretty much on par with his dome stats. So clearly, Russell Wilson doesn’t have a big advantage when playing indoors, compared to at home. He plays pretty well at both locations, but not necessarily better at one over the other.
Well what about when he plays at the Georgia Dome? Well I’m glad you asked, because when Wilson has played at the Georgia Dome, he’s had some great games.
In his NFL career, he’s only played in the Georgia Dome twice. The first in the 2012 playoffs already mentioned, then again in 2013 on the way to Super Bowl 48 where he threw this beauty of a pass over a choir before throwing this pass to an even more beautiful catch by Golden Tate.
Wilson also played in the Georgia Dome once in college while playing for NC State and he had a ridiculous game then as well.
It is a small sample size, but it is still a sample. So far throughout his entire football career, when Russell Wilson plays in the Georgia Dome, he has completed at least 67% of his passes for an average of 347 yards, two touchdowns, and just under one interception with a phenomenal passer rating of 120.5.
As encouraging as that is, I wouldn’t expect a performance quite as good as that, especially with the emergence of the running game we just witnessed last week against the Detroit Lions. The Falcons have the 27th ranked defense according to DVOA. They are 19th against the pass and 29th against the run while giving up 4.5 yards per rush but only 104.5 yards per game (yards per game is lower due to being ahead in most games, causing opponents to abandon the run and throw more). So expect another run heavy game plan from Darrell Bevell and Tom Cable.
Here’s what we’re looking for: 17 completions on 25 attempts, 68% completion rate, 230 yards (anyone thinking of a deep ball or two to PRich?), 9.2 YPA, two touchdowns, and no interceptions for a 114.6 passer rating. Of course this is a best case scenario, assuming the the running game is working and the defense isn’t letting Matt Ryan and the vaunted Falcons offense run away with the game, forcing it into a shootout.
So what do you think? Post your predictions below!