Atlanta Falcons vs Seattle Seahawks Predictions, Picks & Betting Tips
Russell Wilson and the playoff savvy Seahawks will head to Atlanta Saturday to take on Matt Ryan and the explosive Falcon’s offense. Will Seattle’s postseason experience plus their late surge allow them to knock off the dirty birds? Or will Wilson and company find themselves on the losing side of this battle and miss the NFC Championship?
Seattle looked great last week. They hammered the Lions at the Hawk’s Nest, 26-6, to move on towards the Super Bowl. Wilson completed 23 of 30 passes for 224 yards and 2 TD’s on the day. Doug Baldwin was his leading receiver with 104 yards and 1 TD. RB Thomas Rawls rushed for a record-breaking 161 yards, plus a TD. The Legion of Boom shut Stafford out all day, and sacked him 3 times.
The Falcons ended their season on a four-game win streak. They rested last week, however, after earning a 1st round bye by defeating the New Orleans Saints 38-32 in the final game of the regular season. Matt Ryan completed 27 of 36 passes for 331 yards and 4 TD’s in their win over New Orleans. Julio Jones was Ryan’s leading receiver with 96 yards and a TD on the day. RB Devonta Freeman rushed for 96 yards and a TD as well. The Falcon’s secondary picked off Drew Brees once.
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Why Atlanta Falcons -3.5 Point Spread?
That was then, this is now
It’s the playoffs. Winner plays in the NFC Championship match. Loser goes home. Seattle has the playoff pedigree we all like to see in January. And Atalanta has a history of losing in the playoffs, or missing them altogether. Plus, the Hawks already beat the Falcons in week six, 26-24. But this season, and this week’s match seems different…
For starters, Atlanta has home field advantage this go ‘round. Even though the dirty birds are just 3-5 ATS at home this season, I think home field advantage will serve them well in the playoffs. Last time, they played Seattle at the Hawks Nest —and the dirty birds still kept it close. Many argue that Richard Sherman should have been penalized for pass interference on the final play of the game —as he was hanging all over Julio Jones. So there will be plenty of fuel for the Falcon’s fire this week as they seek revenge vs Seattle.
And last but not least, Seattle had a healthy Earl Thomas playing safety in week 6. But now he’s out for the season with a broken leg, and his absence will be a daunting factor for Seattle going against the NFL’s #3 passing offense with Matt Ryan boasting a ridiculous 4,944 yards and 38 TD’s. But it does help that Seattle has the #3 ranked defense in points allowed per match, and is #5 in yards allowed for the entire season.
**On a side note, the Seahawks could be getting back RB CJ Prosise this week, giving them another weapon to whip out and help score points. Also, Seahawk’s fullback Marcel Reese is dealing with a foot injury and is questionable for Saturday’s match. He was a key blocker for Rawls last week**
Atlanta is well rested, plus Dan Quinn’s knowledge of the Legion of Boom
The Falcons have had extra time to get healthy and game-plan. I don’t see them letting this one get away from them. WR Taylor Gabriel is expected to practice Wednesday through Friday and play this Saturday. His foot injury shouldn’t hold him back. And DE Vic Beasley has had time to rest his sore shoulder. Plus, Atlanta’s beefy o-line will have extra juice this week to handle Seattle’s devastating pass rush, featuring Bennett, Avril, Wagner, and sometimes Chancellor.
And let’s not forget that Falcon’s head coach Dan Quinn was the Seahawk’s defensive coordinator when they won the Super Bowl. If anyone can help map out a stellar offensive attack vs the Legion of Boom, it’s Quinn. I expect to see a very healthy dose of RB’s Freeman and Coleman to keep Seattle’s defense on the field and wear them down. The dynamic duo has combined for 2,482 offensive yards and 24 TD’s this season.
The ‘Hawks eeked out a win last time. This time? No such luck. Atlanta proves to be too rested and have too many offensive weapons. They unleash their full arsenal, and jump out to 19-10 first half lead. The ‘Hawks rebound in the second half but can’t get enough pressure on Ryan. Julio Jones, Freeman, and Coleman all get TD’s. Thomas Rawls is held to 75 yards and 1 TD. Matt Ryan gets picked off once. But the dirty birds prevail at home, beating Seattle 29-21. Taking the Atlanta Falcons -3.5 point spread allows a little cushion in case it’s a closer match.