(11-2, 9-4 ATS)
(6-7, 6-7 ATS)
In what very well could be a playoff preview in the near future, the Seattle Seahawks will look to make a statement and take control of the NFC West in a battle against the team with the best record in the league, the Atlanta Falcons.
The world is absolutely Atlanta’s oyster right now in the NFC, as it knows that it can wrap up the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs with two weeks to spare with a ‘W’ and some help. Of course, the bigger game than this one is the clash next week with the New Orleans Saints at home, a game which can win the NFC South regardless of what happens in this one on Sunday. QB Matt Ryan would probably be the league’s MVP in a normal year, as his stats are fantastic and he is clearly the best player on the best team in the NFC, if not the best player on the best team in the entire league. He’s guiding the No. 9 ranked offense in the NFL and has 3,147 passing yards to show for his work on the year. Ryan also has a stellar TD/INT ratio of 22/8. However, Ryan, though he is the star, probably wouldn’t have this team at 11-2 without the help of his top back and his top receiver. RB Michael Turner has 1,174 yards and 11 TDs on the campaign, while WR Roddy White has accounted for 99 receptions, 1,219 yards, and seven TDs. This is the only team in the league that can say that it has a back with at least 1,000 yards, a receiver with at least 1,000 yards, and a quarterback with at least 3,000 yards in the NFL, and by season’s end, we might be talking about a QB with 4,000 yards, a running back with 1,500 yards, and a receiver with 1,500 yards.
Seattle just isn’t in great shape right now, but it knows that winning its final two games, with or without this victory, will be good enough to win the NFC West. Either way, that last game of the year against the St. Louis Rams is probably going to decide the worst division in football. Though this offense looks like it is doing sufficiently at 20.1 points per game, we really know better. Whereas Atlanta has that trio of successful stars on offense, Seattle has none of that. QB Matt Hasselbeck will become a 3,000 yard passer this week, but the Seahawks won’t have either a 1,000 yard rusher or a 1,000 yard receiver this season. As a team, Seattle has fewer rushing yards this year than Turner does by himself! Defensively, some stars are really starting to shine. Head Coach Pete Carroll looks like a genius for picking SS Earl Thomas in the NFL Draft over his former player, SS Taylor Mays. Thomas might win Defensive Rookie of the Year honors this year for his five picks and 55 tackles. Chris Clemons is leading the squad with ten sacks, while Aaron Curry has 3.5 sacks. Carroll was right about one thing, and that’s that he was going to be bringing all sorts of pressure to opposing signal callers this year.
If there were ever a spot to pick off the Falcons, this would be the one. However, the Seahawks have really only won games this year by forcing turnovers and making plays happen in special teams. Though special teams is up in the air, Ryan is unflappable, and it is very unlikely that he gives the game away. Atlanta will find a way to win this one by at least a TD.
NFL Free Pick: Atlanta Falcons -7