The Atlanta Falcons will host the Seattle Seahawks in Saturday’s NFC Divisional Round matchup. Kickoff is set for 4:35 EST at the Georgia Dome and will be televised on FOX. Taking a look at the NFL odds, oddsmakers have the Falcons as 4.5-point favorite. The over/under for the contest has been set at 51.5 points.
Seahawks vs Falcons Vegas Betting Preview:
Seattle comes in off a 26-6 blowout win at home over Detroit on Wild Card weekend. The Seahawks jumped out to a 10-0 lead and never looked back. Seattle outgained the Lions 387 to 231 with a 24-13 edge in first downs. Russell Wilson threw for 224 yards and 2 scores, while Thomas Rawls rushed for 161 and a score.
Atlanta enjoyed last week off, as they secured the No. 2 seed and a first round bye in the NFC. Thanks in large part to the Seahawks. Had Seattle beat Arizona at home in Week 15, the Seahawks would have got the No. 2 seed. The Falcons finished up at 11-5 and closed out the season with 4 straight wins.
This will be a rematch from the regular season, as these two played in Seattle back in Week 6. The Seahawks won that matchup 26-24 on a late field goal. It was a back and forth affair. Seattle led 17-3 at the end of the 1st half. Atlanta scored 21 unanswered in the 3rd quarter to take a 24-17 lead. The Seahawks responded a 9-0 4th quarter.
It’s also worth noting the game ended in controversy. Atlanta was driving and it appeared Seattle committed pass interference on Julio Jones. It would have put the Falcons in position to kick a game-winning field goal. It wasn’t called and the Seahawks held on for the win.
Free Pick & Odds Predictions: Falcons -4.5
My early lean here is to lay the points with Atlanta at home. I just don’t think this Falcons team gets the respect they deserve. A big part of that is all the media hype around the Cowboys being the overwhelming favorite in the NFC. On top of that, you have Aaron Rodgers and the Packers getting all kinds of love.
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The crazy thing is that Atlanta is the type of team that typically gets a lot of attention. The Falcons have put up big time numbers offensively this year. They led the league in scoring during the regular season at 33.8 ppg. They were also second in total offense at 415.8 ppg. A lot of people focus on the passing game, but this is a balanced attack. Atlanta was 5th in rushing (120.5 ypg) and 3rd in passing (295.3 ypg).
It’s easy to overreact to Seattle’s 20-point win over the Lions. The thing is that wasn’t a very good Detroit team. It also came at home, where the Seahawks have won 10 straight in the postseason. As we saw in the Wild Card round, winning on the road in the playoffs is not easy. This is also a Seattle team that went just 3-4-1 away from home in the regular season.
Seattle’s road woes is a big reason why I think the Falcons can get their revenge from that regular season loss. I also think this Seahawks defense will have a hard time containing Atlanta’s offense without Earl Thomas. As mentioned last week, this Seattle defense wasn’t the same after Thomas was injured. From Week 12-17, the Seahawks ranked 29th, allowing 7.73 yards/pass attempt. They also were 25th in opponents passer rating at 96.1. I know they held Stafford in check, but he was playing with a hurt finger. Stafford also doesn’t have the same caliber of weapons at receiver. Plus, the Lions offer no threat of a running game.
It’s also worth noting that Seattle has struggled on the road after a great defensive effort. In fact, the Seahawks are just 3-12 ATS in their last 15 road games after allowing 6 points or less. Seattle strong running game against Detroit is also bad news for them. They are just 2-8 ATS in their last 10 after rushing for 150 or more yards.
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