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RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Listing all the ways Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner believes he's a better player than four years ago when the Seahawks last came across the Atlanta Falcons in the postseason would be lengthy.

At the top of the list would be his improvement as a pass defender.

"There's a lot of routes that I probably did not see when I was a rookie," Wagner said this week. "I have more knowledge of the game than I did back then."

Ask around and you'll get raves from teammates, opponents and observers about the linebacker Wagner has become heading into Saturday's NFC playoff game at Atlanta. He led the NFL in tackles during the regular season, was voted to the All-Pro team for the second time in his career, and in the playoff opener against Detroit last week had another 10 tackles to lead Seattle.

Wagner's always been a stout run defender and an excellent tackler. He's been steady playing behind a Seattle line that does its job keeping offensive linemen from getting to the second level. But Wagner agrees that his understanding of the passing game is the big reason he's making enough tackles to lead the NFL. And why he's grown from being a question mark when he was drafted in the second round in 2012 to one of the premier linebackers in the NFL, a Defensive Player of the Year contender.