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2013 NFL Playoffs: No matter what, Falcons run defense will be tested

Atlanta will welcome Adrian Peterson, Alfred Morris or Marshawn Lynch next weekend.

Andy King

It doesn't matter who wins this weekend, because whoever the Atlanta Falcons play in the divisional round will have a talented running back, writes D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC.

If the Minnesota Vikings win, the Falcons will face the NFL's best running back in Adrian Peterson. Whoever wins the Washington Redskins-Seattle Seahawks game will face the Falcons. The Redskins have Alfred Morris, who rushed for 1,413 yards, and the Seahawks have Marshawn Lynch, who rushed for 1,590 yards. Falcons head coach Mike Smith is prepared:

"As a staff, we'll spend one day over the next three days on a specific team. That's how we'll do it. The why we are going sequence it, Washington will be the last one that we do because we have some familiarity with having played them earlier in the season. We'll focus on the other two teams that we have not played on Wednesday and Thursday."

That doesn't bode well for the Falcons, who had the 21st-ranked rush defense in the league, allowing 123 yards per game. The Falcons allowed less than 100 rushing yards in just five games this season but they won every game.

Peterson would be the biggest challenge for the Falcons. The veteran was just nine yards away from breaking the single-season rushing yards record held by Eric Dickerson. He was the seventh player in NFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards, finishing with 2,097.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.