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Coffee & Cigarettes: Seahawks links for Friday

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Thank god it's TGIF.

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

LINKS, yo.

A couple QB stats to keep in pocket (or out) - NFC West Blog - ESPN
You know it's going to happen. Russell Wilson is going to scramble outside the pocket against the Atlanta Falcons, and someone is going to say something about how that's his game, but all quarterbacks must learn to throw from inside the pocket eventually -- the implication being that Wilson is among them.

Seahawks-Falcons: Eight notes to know - Stats & Info Blog - ESPN
The NFC Divisional round continues on Sunday at 1 ET when the No. 1 seed Atlanta Falcons host the Seattle Seahawks, fresh off their win over the Redskins in the Wild Card round. Here are eight notes, nuggets and numbers you need to know heading into the matchup:

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Film Room: NFC Divisional Round
Falcons fans have a right to be nervous. Of all the defenses in the NFC, none matches up better to this prolific offense than Seattle’s. Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman form the only cornerback duo capable of handling Julio Jones and Roddy White. The speed of Seattle’s linebackers is likely too much for the rumbling Michael Turner. Safety Kam Chancellor has the outstanding size to help handle Tony Gonzalez, though the veteran tight end doesn’t necessarily need to be open in order to make catches. And, last but certainly not least, Seattle’s defensive line, even without leader Chris Clemons (torn ACL), is very good with stunts and slants, which is how teams have successfully attacked Atlanta’s big-but-un-athletic front five.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Toss Bunch Crunch
Since every team I’ve focused on this year either had a first-round bye (San Francisco and New England) or is officially on the clock (Kansas City), this week seemed like a nice opportunity to simply draw up some very popular NFL concepts that I haven’t had a chance to talk about this year. Both plays happened in the most interesting game of the weekend: the Seattle-Washington game from Sunday night.

Seahawks' architect John Schneider is happy to stay in the background | Seahawks | The Seattle Times
Seattle general manager John Schneider hadn't driven that SUV so much as lived in it in for a full week back in October. He logged more than 1,200 miles in a seven-day trek that proceeded from Chicago's O'Hare Airport to Detroit in anything but a straight line. Sounds like Schneider, said a man who worked with him for six years in Green Bay. "During the season, he was on the road as long as necessary, looking under every rock and in every nook and cranny," said Andrew Brandt, a member of the Packers' front office, now an ESPN analyst.

Chancellor vs. Gonzalez? That's good football | National Football Post
Could this be the best matchup of the Divisional Playoffs?

Seahawks' Bruce Irvin grew from personal troubles into pro star | Seahawks | The Seattle Times
Bruce Irvin, 25, is the oldest rookie on one of the league's youngest teams and must replace injured Chris Clemons in Sunday's NFC playoff game.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll got smart, and stopped making risky decisions | Jerry Brewer | The Seattle Times
Pete Carroll has assistant coaches who get in his face when he wants to gamble, and the Seahawks are better for it.

Seahawks new kicker Ryan Longwell grew up watching the team | Seahawks | The Seattle Times
Former Packers, Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell won a spot on Seahawks team with an impressive tryout Tuesday. Longwell grew up in Puyallup.

Atlanta Coach Smith Focused On Seattle Run Game | Sportspress Northwest
Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith has a healthy respect for Seattle’s defense, which allowed the fewest points (245) in the NFL during the regular season.

TMQ: Russell Wilson may be the NFL's best young quarterback - ESPN
The quarterbacks who went first and second in the NFL draft lost in the playoffs on the same day; the other first-round quarterbacks from the latest draft didn't make the playoffs; the last man standing is Russell Wilson, passed on by all teams 'til the middle rounds of the draft because at 5-foot-11, he is "too short." If Russell Wilson is too short, give me short!

Break It Down, Divisional Round: Bruce Irvin vs. Atlanta’s offensive line | Audibles -
"This is Bruce (Irvin)’s opportunity. It’s what we drafted him to play. We’ll see how he does. We expect him to really play well as he steps up." Blog | Wednesday in Hawkville: Ryan Longwell, Patrick Chukwurah relish joining team for playoff run
The new guys. That would be kicker Ryan Longwell and defensive end Patrick Chukwurah, who were signed today to replace the injured duo of Steven Hauschka and Chris Clemons.

Seahawks or Falcons: which team would you rather be? - Seahawks News -
The Atlanta Falcons have the best record in all of professional football. Only the Denver Broncos, who the Falcons defeated 27-21 back in September, can equal their record of 13-3. They have the No. 1 seed in the NFC and are waiting to start their run to the Super Bowl with back-to-back wins in the playoffs. The road to the Super Bowl flows through Atlanta, Ga. There's just one problem.

Russell Wilson on Seahawks mania: ‘There’s no time to sleep. There’s an opportunity to be great.’ | Seahawks Blog | Seattle Times
"Like I always say, there’s no time to sleep," Wilson said. "There’s an opportunity to be great and just focus on what we have in front of us, and that’s playing the Atlanta Falcons. There’s a lot to be excited about, there’s a lot of energy, but the key is staying on an even keel and just playing one game at a time, one play at a time, one day at a time, one practice at at time, and I think if we take that mentality, it will give us the best chance to win. Obviously we’re going into a hostile crowd and (playing) a great football team, and we’re going to have to play an A-plus game."

Bill Barnwell on Saturday's slate of NFL playoff games - Grantland
With a couple of rematches on tap, here are all the numbers you need to look smart when talking about the NFL playoffs.

Comparing Matt Ryan to the previous Mayors of Chokesville
For the second time in three years, the Atlanta Falcons are the NFC’s number one seed. Just like in 2010, the Falcons started this season 13-2 but ended the year with only 11 Pythagorean wins. In 2010, Atlanta lost its first game to the #6 seed Packers, who sported the highest SRS of any NFC team in 2010. This year, Atlanta hosts the #6 seed Seahawks, who finished 2012 with highest SRS of any NFC team. History suggests that this is a difficult challenge for Atlanta, regardless of the Falcons’ lofty record.

Checkdowns: Deja vu for the Falcons?
Much has been written this season arguing that the Falcons are not as good as their 13-3 record. Conversely, the Seahawks have emerged as a favorite among some in our advanced statistical community: Brian Burke ranks Seattle as the third most efficient team, Aaron Schatz ranks them number one, and Pro-Football-Reference ranks Seattle second in the SRS behind only the Patriots.

Matchups: Divisional Round - Matchups -
Evan Silva breaks down the matchups for this weekend's Divisional Round playoff games and picks four winners.

Sherman on facing Falcons: No pressure | Seahawks Insider - The News Tribune
"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."

Seahawks no strangers to kicker Ryan Longwell | Seattle Seahawks - The News Tribune
All Ryan Longwell has to do now is kick the winning field goal in this Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons to make the story complete.

Seahawks CB Sherman, S Thomas and RB Lynch named to PFW All-Pro team | - Seattle Sidelines
Pro Football Weekly along with the Professional Football Writers of America have released their All-Pro team and year-end awards, and among those honored are Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman.

Richard Sherman Praises Atlanta's Receiving Corps, and More NFC West News | Bleacher Report
One could argue that the Seattle Seahawks have the best starting secondary in the NFL . Over the course of the last two years, they have sent Brandon Browner, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas to the Pro Bowl...

Packers-49ers: Eight notes to know - Stats & Info Blog - ESPN
The NFC Divisional round begins on Saturday at 8 ET when the No. 2 seed San Francisco 49ers host the Green Packers, who knocked off the Minnesota Vikings in the Wild Card round. Here are eight notes, nuggets and numbers you need to know heading into the matchup:

2013 NFL Mock Draft: Could Seahawks target defensive line help with first pick? - SB Nation Seattle
Rob Rang of CBS Sports thinks that Seattle has a need in the middle of their defense in his latest mock draft.

Football Today - ESPN
Ross Tucker and Andrew Brandt break down the RG III injury and who should make the decision to allow injured players to return to the field.

Seahawks DB Richard Sherman does more than talk the talk -
"You have to be that way," Sherman said this week in a phone interview. "I'm not rude or anything off the field, but on the field I'm a dog."

Nate Silver Predicts Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl - ESPN Video - ESPN
Nate Silver discusses his Super Bowl prediction with Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless.

How good was the Seahawk QB Russell Wilson at baseball? - Blog -
Baseball managers, pro scouts, and an ex-teammate say Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson could have been a decent baseball player too because of his speed, athleticism, and strong work ethic.

Russell Wilson tops Matt Ryan in playoff trustworthiness -
Seattle has won eight of its last nine games, riding a momentum- and confidence-building six-game winning streak that started with a Week 13 road victory over the Chicago Bears. During a wide-ranging interview on SirusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday, Wilson said that game gave the Seahawks an internal belief that they could win anywhere, busting the myth that they couldn't beat a good team on the road. Wilson said that attitude helped them deal with the adversity they faced last Sunday. John Madden, who was listening to the interview -- in which Wilson also said he'd already studied film of Atlanta and had shared with the offensive staff some ideas about the plays he wanted to run this Sunday -- said the rookie reminds him of Peyton Manning in the way that "he sounds just like a player-coach." High praise, indeed.

ESPN Conference Call Transcript: Steve Young Discusses NFL Divisional Playoffs " ESPN MediaZone
Q. Do you think we are seeing an era with (Russell) Wilson and RG III, even (Andrew) Luck, all of these guys are mobile where teams are hoping ‑‑ looking for a quarterback to not only be a pocket guy but a mobile guy and also related – RG III, I haven’t heard what you thought about the other day when he played and the injury. Wanted to get your take on that. YOUNG: Obviously, I love the idea of athletic quarterbacks. But what’s happening is, you’re getting athletic quarterbacks that have been trained as quarterbacks, and despite the fact that college is playing a spread, some more than other, you’re now seeing the pistol as a tremendous bridge from college to that place where you’ve now become – until I’m proven wrong – championship quarterbacking is delivering the ball from the pocket. So all of us that can move around have tried to bend the truth to be that’s not the truth and we always get straightened up to realize that championship football is that.

Seahawks, 49ers, Broncos among playoffs' best defensive teams -
2) Seattle Seahawks If defensive end Chris Clemons, who will miss the rest of the playoffs after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament on Sunday, were healthy, I'd probably rank Seattle above the 49ers. Losing him really hurts the Seahawks. Still, their outstanding defensive backs make them really tough to pass against; Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are very long players who disrupt opposing offenses with their press coverage. Earl Thomas is also an excellent safety who's a good tackler and strong against the pass. Finally, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner should be in the mix to be the Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Super Bowl XLVII prediction: Nate Silver sees Patriots and Seahawks in the big game -
When Nate Silver predicts things, you better listen.

Marquess Wilson entering 2013 NFL Draft - CougCenter
The next step for Marquess Wilson is the NFL. And he's got a long road ahead of him to succeed.

Russell Wilson Press Conference at Falcons
Russell Wilson talks with the media as the Seahawks prepare for their divisional-round playoff matchup on the road against the Atlanta Falcons.

'Sound FX': On the field Wild Card Weekend
Take a look at some of the best sights and sounds from wild card weekend.

Darrell Bevell Press Conference at Falcons
Take a look at some of the best sights and sounds from wild card weekend.

Dave Krieg's Strike Beard: On the Eve of the Supernova
The Seattle Seahawks have toiled in obscurity for nearly forty years, bedeviled by mediocrity and geographical isolation. Sure, we've had great players and great seasons, but none of our great players became national superstars, and none of our squads have captured the national imagination. We got a taste of having a "famous" player with Brian Bosworth in the late 1980s, but his litany of shoulder injuries made him nothing more than a weird footnote in both pop culture and the annals of pro football. The 2005 team? They made it to the Super Bowl (and boasted the NFL MVP in Shaun Alexander), but were completely overshadowed by the circus surrounding Jerome Bettis and the Steelers.

Browns hold second interview with Ken Whisenhunt -
The Cleveland Browns are staging a second interview Thursday with head coach prospect and recently fired Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt,'s Ian Rapoport reports.

Monte Kiffin drawing interest from Dallas Cowboys -
Rob Ryan is gone as the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator, and the team apparently is on the hunt for a big name to fill his shoes. Former USC assistant Monte Kiffin is on their radar.

Underclassmen - Should they stay or go? | National Football Post
A look at the decision facing three underclassmen.

49ers will get their kicks with David Akers | National Football Post
Harbaugh announces holdover won competition