Seattle Seahawks (10-2-1 SU, 8-8 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (11-5 SU, 10-6 ATS)
NFL Divisional Round
Date/Time: Saturday, January 14th 2016 at 4:25PM EST
Where: Georgia Dome - Atlanta, Georgia
by Bob, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SEA +4.5 / ATL -4.5
This Saturday in the NFC there are two great games. Greenn Bay will take on the Dallas Cowboys but before that showdown, at 4:25pm the Seattle Seahawks will head into Atlanta to take on the number two seed, Atlanta Falcons. This will be the second time these two teams met this season. On October 16th, the Falcons went into Seattle and lost 26-24 but not without controversy. With under a minute left and trailing by just two points, wide out Julio Jones was obviously interfered with on a pass from Matt Ryan. Richard Sherman pulled Jones down well before the ball reached him and there was no call by the ref. This penalty would have put the Falcons in field goal range to hit the game winner but rather, it was a fourth down play that resulted in Seattle getting the ball and taking a knee for the win.
Since that time, both teams have continued to play well. Atlanta went on to win the NFC South and the second seed in the NFC. Seattle won the NFC West and beat the Detroit Lions last weekend in the NFC Wild Card Round. Now, the Seahawks are looking to once again reach an NFC Title Game and a shot for their third Super Bowl appearance in four seasons. The Falcons on the other hand are trying to reach their fourth ever NFC Title Game and second ever Super Bowl. This game in my opinion could be the better of the two NFC battles this Saturday.
The Falcons had the leagues top scoring offense in 2016 and Seattle, like always, had one of the best defenses in the league. The Seahawks defense is not as dominant as it once was, but they still have some good play makers and can cause opponents problems. The X factor this weekend will be the Falcons defense. If you are an outside looking at just season stats, the Falcons appear to have a bad defense. In all actuality, the Atlanta defense has been a top ten defense in the last six to seven weeks. Vic Beasley Jr is coming into his own as a pass rusher and made the Pro Bowl in just his second year in the NFL. Rookies Deion Jones and Keanu Neal are stars in the making and this whole defense is starting to play better under Dan Quinn...the former Seattle DC.
Atlanta is a 4.5 point favorite at home in this one and the total combined points are set at 51.5.
As for the action by Wednesday morning, 55% liked the Falcons to cover at home while just 45% took the Seahawks. For the total points, the over is getting more love with 61% of the action on the game to go above the total. Against the spread in 2016, the Falcons were 10-6 while the Seahawks were 8-8.
This game is a tad tricky to predict because it is tough to tell which Seattle team will show up. Will it be the Seahawks who tied a horrible Arizona team 6-6? Will it be the Seahawks that lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Or is it the Seattle we saw last week shutting down the Lions? This Seahawks team is not as dangerous as they once were, but they are still well respected and are liable to beat any team at any time.
The Falcons will be just what they have been all season. They will score points. Even against the leagues top defenses in Denver, Seattle, Carolina, and at the time Arizona, the Falcons were still able to score. The key is defense. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense will try to control the clock and keep this game low scoring. If the Falcons D allows Thomas Rawls to break off four to five yards a carry, this could be a long day in the Dome for the home team, but if the defense can force Wilson into longer third downs I think the Falcons could potentially put this game away early.
This is tough for me to do because I am a Falcons fan and I hate getting my hopes up, but I firmly believe the Falcons are just a better team than Seattle this season. Looking at history, one may disagree but this is not 2013 or 2014, it is 2016 and THIS SEASON the Falcons are just better. I do not think Atlanta beats the brakes off of Seattle but I like the Dirty Birds to win a hard fought 33-27 type game.
Bob's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE THE ATLANTA FALCONS -4.5
I’m not sure what to say about Aaron Rodgers at this point. His play is reminiscent of the Packers SuperBowl run and subsequent 15-1 season. It doesn’t appear to matter what play is being called because Rodgers simply buys time and eventually finds wide open receivers. The New York Giant defense did a tremendous job in getting to Rodgers early last week but they couldn’t get their hands on him in the second half and that was their ultimate undoing. The Giants receivers didn’t play up to expectations but there was no way to hang with the Packers once A-Rod got the offense going. Randall Cobb burst back onto the scene with three touchdown grabs and he will need to play another top-end game if Nelson is out. Jared Cook and Davante Adams are big-bodied and tough to matchup against. The 26th ranked pass defense in Dallas will have their hands full against Rodgers and his receivers. The Packers finished the regular season ranked 7th in passing yards and 4th in points per game at 27 per contest.
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