Atlanta Falcons (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date/Time: Sunday, October 16, 2016, 4:25 PM EST
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.
TV: Fox, DirecTV 716
by Badger, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ATL. +6/SEA -6
Over/Under Total: 46
The Atlanta Falcons are one of the hottest teams in the National Football League right now, but they’ll face their toughest test yet in week six action when they travel on the road to the Pacific Northwest for a game against the Seattle Seahawks and the 12th Man inside CenturyLink Field on Sunday.
Atlanta made a statement that they are legit by beating the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos last week, 23-16, knocking the Broncos from the ranks of the unbeaten in the league. Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense took a backseat to the defense in the win over the Broncos, as the Falcons unit held rookie QB Paxton Lynch and the Denver offense to just 227 yards of total offense in the game.
Seattle, coming off a bye week last Sunday, should be well rested and ready to give the Falcons a true test to see if they are ready to claim a spot near the top of the NFC’s top contenders with their 4-1 record. A hobbling Russell Wilson threw for 300 yards and three scores the last time the Seahawks played, a 27-17 victory over the Jets in week 4, so with an extra week off Wilson and his sore ankle should be ready to give the Falcons defense a much stiffer test than the Broncos rookie Lynch gave them in their biggest win of the season this far.
Oddsmakers and sportsbooks set the opening point spread for this game with Seattle as 6-point favorites at home in CenturyLink. And while early wagering on this game by sharp bettors has been close to 50-50 on both sides, short-memory “public” bettors are hammering the red-hot Falcons at an early pace of 67% to 33% in favor of Atlanta. All of the Atlanta money has caused the opposite effect on the line moves though, as many books have since moved Seattle up to 6.5-point favorites as of midweek.
The over/under total opened at 46 and has moved up the hook to 46.5 at a few sportsbooks, however it’s still listed at 46 at a whole bunch of books and the total is sure to move a half-point in either direction before kickoff Sunday afternoon.
Ryan, who is off to the best start of his career with 1,740 yards and 12 TDs to just 2 interceptions, has helped lead the Falcons offense to the No. 1 ranking in the league in total yardage per game (457 ypg), total passing yards per game (333 ypg) and points per game at 35. Ryan was exceptional against against Von Miller and the Denver defense last week, throwing for 267 yards and one touchdown in a really clean game, something he’ll have to duplicate again since the Seahawks defense is still No. 1 in total defense, 2nd against the pass (184 ypg) and 3rd in points allowed per game (13.5 ppg).
Which is why the Falcons defense comes into play again as the single biggest factor in Atlanta’s success or failure on Sunday in Seattle. While the Seahawks haven’t yet been able to dominate on the ground like they used to with Beast Mode (only 93 ypg rushing – 18th in NFL), Wilson has instead picked up the slack in the passing game with Seattle currently the 12th-best passing team in the league at 265 yards a game. And most of those numbers were compiled on a supposedly bad ankle for Wilson, so the extra bye week of rest could open up a few more options in the Seahawks offensive play calling this Sunday.
These two last played in 2013 in the Georgia Dome, a resounding 33-10 victory for Seattle on the road in November as 3.5-point favorites. Marshawn Lynch ran wild to the tune of 145 yards on 24 carries, Wilson added 287 yards passing and two scores and the Seattle defense held Atlanta and Ryan to 226 total yards of offense in the lopsided win.
However, it should be noted that Seattle has also been a notoriously bad team coming out of their bye week. For whatever reason, Seattle is just 11-18 SU and 9-19 ATS in those games since 1993.
Badger's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I still think Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense will be able to put up to 20 points on the Seahawks on Sunday. But Wilson and the Seattle offense will likely put up more, as the Falcons defense is not nearly as good as a rookie playing in his first NFL start at QB made them look last week in their “signature” win. I’m taking the over of 46 in this game.
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