Atlanta Falcons (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS)
Week 6 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 4:25PM EST
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: ATL +6/SEA -6
Over/Under Total: 46
The Atlanta Falcons come to CenturyLink Field to face off with the Seattle Seahawks in key week 6 NFC action. Seattle caught an early week 5 bye week, which followed an interesting 3-1 start to the season. After two nip-and-tuck wins where their offense looked to be in the dumps, the offense has taken off some with more respectable totals in their last two wins, including a week 4 road win over the Jets, 27-17. The Falcons come into town with a head full of steam after beating the Broncos on the road on Sunday, 23-16. It was their fourth win and cover in a row after a week one loss to the Bucs. They look good and hope to keep it going against a rested Seattle bunch.
Though they might disagree with this later in the season, the bye probably came at a good time for the Seahawks. With a strained MCL, Russell Wilson has seen his mobility hindered, while relying more on his arm has also paid off. Last season, we saw Wilson dominate aerially over the second half of the season, as the Seahawks looked to finally have an offense that doesn't lag so far behind the defense. Therefore, it was a bit odd to see them labor so hard on the offensive side of the ball to begin the season. Against Miami, they had two field goals until very late in the game, while managing a lousy field goal against the Rams in an ugly 9-3 loss. With 64 points in their last two games, we're seeing the Seahawks opening it up a little offensively.
First, the Seattle O-line has come around and put together a few good games after looking ragged in the first few weeks of the season. Against the Jets in week five, they got scores from newly-added CJ Spiller and rookie Tanner McEvoy. Look for Christine Michael to get more help as the weeks go by on the ground with Wilson improving. But aerially is where we've seen more progress, with Wilson going over 300 for the first time this season with three TD passes against the Jets. Doug Baldwin has come to life, while a big signing from before last season looks to be paying off with the play of TE Jimmy Graham, who has gone over 100 in the last two games. Add in Jermaine Kearse and Tyler Lockett, we see this isn't such a bad group and if Wilson can make the most of it, the Seattle offense could take off some and be more of a consistent producer to help what is still a top-notch defense.
The Seattle defense is still a great group. They've allowed 13.5 points per game through the first quarter of the season. The line of Bennett, Avril, McDaniel, and Rubin has been good against the run, while also establishing a nice pass rush, with Bennett and Frank Clark leading the way with three sacks. The middle with KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner is in fine shape. And the Legion of Doom, with Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, and Jeremy Lane is still a group where getting business done is very difficult for opposing aerial attacks. There aren't many weak points on this defense even if they haven't gotten many turnovers yet, though Sherman (2 picks) and Thomas made some against the Jets.
The Seattle defense should be put to the test against Atlanta on Sunday, as the Falcons have unveiled a potent offense thus far in the season. By the same token, the Atlanta defense should present Seattle ample opportunities to show what they have on offense. Seattle is not equipped to win shootouts perhaps, but against this Seahawks' defense, Atlanta should struggle more than they have with the defenses they've been playing. But you never know. After playing middling offenses like Miami, LA, San Fran, and the Jets, the Falcons will be a steeper challenge for the Seahawks, as well.
The Falcons have really added a lot of credibility to their season in the past few weeks. We remember last season when a 5-0 Falcons start evaporated into nothingness, but there seems to be more of an air of real class with this bunch after beating last season's Super Bowl teams in consecutive weeks. To beat the Seahawks and Broncos in consecutive weeks on the road would really be a feather in their caps.
Also promising for the Falcons was that they won in a lower-scoring type of game on Sunday, as opposed to a high-flying affair. Denver's defense was troubled by the Atlanta approach, with the run game of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman needing to be respected, as Matt Ryan would dump passes around. Coleman has 31 yards rushing, but caught 4 passes for 132 yards, including a TD pass. Again, it was against the vaunted Denver defense on the road so they weren't able to really let it fly. But winning more of a grinding game is a good sign heading into this week.
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The Falcons defense was pretty good on Sunday, albeit against an off-key Denver offense starting a first-timer in Paxton Lynch at quarterback. They were able to make some big plays and after not allowing less than 28 points all season, seeing them be robust was a good sign. And even if they're not going to always be stout, they can at least make some big plays here and there. Vic Beasley is starting to become the pass-rusher they imagined when drafting him, as he had 3.5 sacks on Sunday. Veteran Dwight Freeney added another. We'll see what they come up with against Seattle.
Waiting for the Falcons to come back to Earth could be a costly game to play. They ended last season so badly that the expectations were modest heading into this season. But that doesn't mean they will come back down toward those expectations. Some of their wins came against teams at the right time perhaps, but they're pretty diverse offensively. And for some reason, laying a big number on Seattle doesn't elicit a comfortable feeling. I'll take the points, acknowledging this could be a spot where Atlanta hits a wall.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Atlanta Falcons plus 6 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and betting the Atlanta vs. Seattle game at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!