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NFL Betting: Seahawks-Falcons Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 11/8/2013 9:00:44 AM

The Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons met in the Georgia Dome last season, producing one of the most thrilling games in the NFL playoffs. Now, the two teams will meet once again in Atlanta. The Seahawks are still on track to make the playoffs, but for the Falcons, the reality of the 2013 season is very different. Can Atlanta gear up for Seattle and play its best game of the season, thereby upsetting the Seahawks and knocking them off course in their bid for home-field advantage throughout the NFC postseason? This game will be a unique test of the Seahawks’ composure. Will the NFC West leader be up for the challenge?

Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons

Odds: Seahawks -6

Total: 44.5

The Seattle Seahawks continue to lead the NFC West, but they are also continuing to cause concerns among their coaching staff and their fan base, at least when they go on the road. The Seahawks’ offensive line has been ravaged by injuries this season, causing quarterback Russell Wilson to take a lot of hits. Seattle’s offensive front was stuck in quicksand on Oct. 28 in a game against the St. Louis Rams on Monday Night Football. The Rams were able to generate pressure from both sides of the field, sacking Wilson seven times and hitting him on many other occasions. The Seahawks also couldn’t run the ball at all against the Rams, leading to what was easily the worst offensive performance of the season for head coach Pete Carroll’s team. The Seahawks accumulated only 135 yards of total offense, and they gained 80 of those yards on one play, a touchdown pass from Wilson to receiver Golden Tate. If you were to take away that one play, the Seahawks would have managed just 55 yards against the Rams. That’s an eye-opening statistic, but it reveals the fullness of the gap between the Seahawks’ offensive performances on the road and their performances at home in the Pacific Northwest.

Yes, Atlanta is really struggling in what is almost certain to be a lost and hopeless season. The Falcons would have to run the table from this point in time just to have an outside shot at a playoff berth. Atlanta’s offensive line has been hit hard by injuries, similar to what has happened with the Seahawks. Yet, because this game is being played away from Seattle, the Falcons have a chance to ambush the Seahawks. If they can solve some pass protection issues and give quarterback Matt Ryan enough time to throw, they can definitely outscore Seattle’s sputtering road offense. The Falcons are going nowhere, while the Seahawks are headed for the playoffs. Yet, the simple fact that this game is a home game for the Falcons makes the betting calculus fairly unclear. Atlanta reveled in its ability to outlast the Seahawks in the playoffs this past January. The Falcons will treat this game as a very big deal, perhaps their last chance to make a really big splash this season. Seattle could pay a big price.

Prediction

It’s true that Seattle is vulnerable on the road. This will probably enable the Falcons to keep the game close and cover the spread. Yet, Atlanta’s offensive line is almost as bad as Seattle’s, which should give the Seahawks enough of a foothold on defense to win this game.

Pick: Falcons +6

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