SNF Pick: Patriots vs. Seahawks
New England Patriots (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, September 20th, 8:20 PM
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
Point Spread: NE +4 / SEA -4
Over/Under Total: 45
The Seattle Seahawks welcome the New England Patriots to Washington for a primetime battle on Sunday Night Football. The Seahawks won the last meeting between these teams back in week ten of the 2016 season, but the Patriots were victorious when it mattered most, beating Seattle 28-24 in legendary Super Bowl XLIX.
New England comes into week two with a 1-0 record after beating Miami 21-11. Cam Newton surpassed expectations with an all-around performance featuring precision passing (15/19 thru the air) to go along with 75 yards and two touchdowns rushing. His 15 rush attempts were the most ever in a game by a Patriots quarterback. The dual-threat dynamic that Newton brings to the table will certainly help an offense looking to offset the difficulties of implementing an entirely new system.
Newton wasn’t the only Patriot runner to find success, as Sony Michel surprised many with a solid performance while James White was his usual self with both running and catching effectiveness. They also used Rex Burkhead and JJ Taylor out of the backfield, and it certainly helped all of them, along with Newton, to have four of the same offensive linemen (Shaq Mason, Joe Thuney, Isaiah Wynn, and David Andrews) play all 64 snaps in the game.
By the second half of the game, Julian Edelman was his usual reliable self, but a costly drive-killing drop early on is certainly a point of concern for Patriots fans. Edelman led the league in drops last season with 13, and while the excuse can be made that he sees a higher volume than usual in targets, his 8.5% drop percentage rate ranked 14th worst in the league. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only Patriots receiver to make a mistake, as N’Keal Harry had a brutal fumble into the endzone that resulted in a touchback for Miami that essentially changed the game’s score from 21-3 to 14-11 in the final quarter of the game. They will both need to tighten things up going forward. They were the only Patriots receivers to be targeted against Miami. Neither can certainly afford to make those types of mistakes against a team the caliber of the Seahawks, considering how heavily they will seemingly be relied upon in the passing game.
Defensively the Patriots looked well-rounded after suffering so many significant roster losses in the offseason, allowing only one touchdown, which was scored on a drive that started at the New England 39-yard line. One glaring issue for the team was the lack of a pass rush, which was made even more alarming considering the Dolphins offensive line was expected by some to be the worst in the league going into the season. Much like the receiver mistakes, it’s a lot easier to overcome errors against inferior competition, but if they are unable to get a pass rush against a quarterback as efficient as Russell Wilson, there is only so much the Patriots talented defensive backfield led by Stephon Gilmore will be able to do to slow down the many weapons the Seahawks signal-caller has at his disposal.
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Wilson was able to tear about the Falcons in week one on route to the teams’ 38-25 victory. He completed 31 of 35 passes (89%) for 322 yards with four touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Now in his 9th year in the league, Wilson has started all 129 games that he has played in, and since the beginning of the 2018 season, he has thrown 70 touchdowns compared to just 12 interceptions. He was also the teams’ leading rusher in week one with only 29 yards, which is something you can expect to change going forward considering the talent they have in their backfield.
CARSON & HYDE
The focal point of the Seahawks backfield is Chris Carson, who has posted back-to-back seasons with at least 1100 yards rushing and seven touchdowns in each. Against the Falcons, he showed off a skill rarely seen previously, catching the ball out of the backfield, ending the game with six receptions for 45 yards and two touchdowns. Carson had only three touchdown receptions on his career up until last week, and it was also just the third time in his career that he had more than four catches in a game. Carson is set up well as the lead back for an offense that his finished in the top four in rushing six times over the past eight seasons, but after he suffered a hip injury toward the end of 2019, the Seahawks decided to bring in Carlos Hyde as insurance. Hyde ran for over 1,000 yards a season ago for Houston, and even if Carson is able to stay healthy, he should find his way onto the field plenty of times during the season, as evident by the fact he actually had one more carry than Carson versus Atlanta.
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Wilson’s top targets through the air are wide receivers, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Lockett took over for Doug Baldwin as the Seahawks primary slot receiver last season and quickly became his quarterback’s most trusted option, while Metcalf is entering what many expect to his sophomore breakout season. Past them and the running backs as options are tight ends Greg Olson and Will Dissly, both of which made it onto the stat sheet in week one.
The Patriots defense isn’t alone when it comes to pass rush issues, as Seattle finished last year with just 28 sacks, and that was with Jadeveon Clowney, who they opted not to resign in the offseason. They certainly strengthened the back of the defense when they traded for Jets safety Jamal Adams, who made an immediate impact in week one, leading the team with 12 tackles while also posting a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss. The defensive backfield of the Seahawks will undoubtedly find things easier this week after going up against the Julio Jones/Calvin Ridley combo of the Falcons a week ago, and that can only make things easier if the line up front and the linebacking trio of Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright, and Bruce Irvin can get through to put pressure on Cam Newton.
THE FINAL DECISION
The Patriots and especially Cam Newton, looked good in week one against the Dolphins, but this week they play a Seahawks team that is better in nearly every facet of the game than Miami. Russell Wilson is already one of the best quarterbacks in the game, but giving him any sort of the same extended amount of time that New England allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick in the pocket will spell doom for the Patriots. The Seattle offense has skill position talent all over to go with Wilson, and as talented as the New England defense is, they still lost a lot from last year, and those missing pieces have so far had a glaring effect on their ability to muster up anything resembling a pass rush. I don’t believe they will match up consistently with the Carson/Hyde/Lockett/Metcalf grouping and by games’ end strongly expect the Seahawks to get an eventual double-digit win and cover at home.
Mike’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Seattle -4. Bet your Week 2 NFL picks for FREE by scoring a huge 100% real cash bonus at MyBookie Sportsbook!
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