Wednesday, September 28, 2011

JZN NFL Predictions vs. Spread: Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks (Week 4, 2011-12)

The Seattle Seahawks welcome another NFC South team to CenturyLink Field. The last time that this happened, the Seahawks upset the New Orleans Saints in the 2011 NFC Wildcard game. Can they pull off another shocker against the Atlanta Falcons?

The early spread on this game is Falcons (-4.5). Here are some of the key aspects of the game and what to watch out for when betting. All lines from Cooper's Pick and Injury Reports from as of September 28, 2011. Always keep yourself updated with injury lines because they’ll unexpectedly change throughout the week.

#0: Current Record (Straights Only)
Seattle Seahawks 3-0
Atlanta Falcons 2-1

#1: Injuries
The Seahawks have gotten some players back from injuries these past few weeks. WR Deon Butler is still out indefinitely. OT Jarriel King is questionable while OG Robert Gallery is out until October. RB Michael Robinson also may not play.

The Falcons were healthy almost the entire season in 2010-11. Not the same case this year. They could be without their top two cornerbacks as CBs Dunta Robinson and Kelvin Hayden are both questionable. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were conservative here because they need these guys in Week 5 (Green Bay Packers). The Falcons may also be without LB Stephen Nicholas.  

#2: Home-field Advantage
The Seahawks have one of the NFL’s best home-field advantages. They proved that with their unforgettable victory against the New Orleans Saints in the 2011 NFC Wildcard. The Falcons are also playing their third road game in four weeks. That includes trips to Chicago and Tampa Bay.

#3: Falcons at Seahawks: 2010
The Seahawks were playing for their playoff lives. The Falcons were trying to wrap up home-field advantage. The Falcons weren’t phased by the Seahawks’ home-field advantage in a 34-18 victory. The Falcons jumped out to a 34-10 victory after three quarters.

The Seahawks actually did a good job of containing Michael Turner. He had 25 carries for 82 yards. The Seahawks even had a 7-0 lead after the first quarter before the Falcons surged for 34 points in the next two quarters. Neither team passed the ball that well as no quarterback had over 200 yards. Matt Hasselbeck was hurt during this game.

#4 Seahawks’ Run Defense
The Falcons’ offense relies on their ground game and a game-managing presence at quarterback. The Seahawks were able to contain Turner last season. Don’t be surprised if they do it again; the Seahawks have only allowed 3.1 yards per carry in the first three games.

#5: Offensive Lines
The Falcons and Seahawks have combined to surrender 27 sacks and 52 QB hits this season. They’re both in the bottom three with sacks allowed. That’s a disturbing trend for the Falcons because Matt Ryan’s success was largely dependent on his great protection. OT Sam Baker has became a huge liability in that offensive line.

Final Predictions:
I don’t expect this to be another blowout. The Falcons aren’t playing well this season. The biggest reason is because the offensive line isn’t protecting Ryan. Todd McClure has missed time due to injuries and Sam Baker is a liability at tackle this season. The Falcons would probably be 0-3 if it weren’t for Michael Vick’s injury.

With that said, I’m going with the Falcons for this simple reason: desperation. The Falcons can’t afford to start 1-3 when they have a Sunday Night Football meeting with the Packers in Week 5.

Against the Spread: Seattle Seahawks (+4.5)
Straight:  Atlanta Falcons 17, Seattle Seahawks 14

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