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Saturday, November 9, 2013

NFL Predictions 2013 Week 10: Seahawks vs Falcons

Seattle Seahawks vs Atlanta Falcons: SEA -4 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

This officially stands as the strangest point spread of the week. Last week in the LVH look-ahead line, the Seahawks were -7 point favorites. When the line came out on Monday, it had moved to -6.5.

We all know that the Seahawks have become a public team, and the Falcons have been in a downward spiral all year. I went ahead and put Seattle in two teasers for the week, but I did not expect the line to drop all the way down to -4.

At the current number, I cannot pass up on this value so I'm more than happy to add them to the card this week.

65% of bets are on Seattle.

Keep an eye on

The first thing you have to look at for Seattle games is what kind of pass the rush their opponents have. Their offensive line has been riddled with injuries all year and Russell Wilson is under pressure week in and week out. They thought they had Max Unger back last week, but he sustained a concussion and won't be available on Sunday.

Thankfully, the Falcons pass rush is nowhere to been seen this year. When you combine that with a really inexperienced secondary, it's no surprise that they are one of the worst teams in the league against the pass. They are also bad on third down and drive efficiency. These are problems that popped up in the second half of last season, and they've only gotten worse since then.

Even with a depleted OL, Seattle should be able to move the chains in whatever manner they want. They'll also get a boost from a top ranked special teams unit, which provides them with one of the best average starting field positions.

To keep up, we have to look at Matt Ryan. Until recently, he was performing quite well when you consider the mess around him. Even without White, Jackson, and Jones, he was putting up points with Douglas, Rodgers, and Gonzalez.

This is a different challenge though. It looks like White will return to the lineup, but where do they attack this Seattle defense?

There's no question they'll try to establish something on the ground. Seattle has uncharacteristically given up over 200 yards on the ground in back to back weeks. They've missed tackles and haven't been very disciplined with their gap responsibilities.

This isn't a trend that I expect to continue. If they were suffering from cluster injuries, I'd be concerned, but for the most part everyone is healthy.

Instead, look for Seattle to make it a long day for the Falcons offense. Ryan is trying too hard to make things happen, and he's thrown 7 INTs in the last two weeks as a result.  This Seattle defense thrives on turnovers and creating havoc in the backfield, so I'd be surprised if Atlanta won the battle on this side of the ball.

Bottom Line

The main Atlanta weapon I worry about is Tony Gonzalez, but Seattle has some of the top rated coverage linebackers in the league with Irvin, Smith, and Wright. Thomas and Chancellor are also solid options at safety too.

For the Falcons to cover, they'll need a big game from Jackson/Rodgers, mistake-free game from Ryan, and a much improved performance from their DL and secondary. Those are too many "ifs" for me, so I'll go ahead and bank on Seattle to win by 4+.

NFL Pick: SEA -4.
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