Week 11 of the NFL season concludes with a Monday Night Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle Seahawks. Not only are both teams fighting to stay within striking range of their respective division leaders, but both teams are also fighting for one of the NFC Wild Card spots. The Falcons will have the difficult task of traveling to Seattle to take on the Seahawks and their 12th man. Kickoff inside CenturyLink Field is at 8:30 PM ET.
Since 2002, these teams have played 10 times against each other. Both football teams have 5 wins apiece during that span. Atlanta has won 5 out of the last 7 games including a playoff game earlier this year.
Atlanta (5-4) comes into this game more desperate than Seattle. They have lost 4 out of their last 6 games and are 2 games back in the NFC South division. Atlanta has struggled to get their high powered offense going and are only putting up 21.9 ppg, which is about a touchdown less per game than last year. The Falcons look to upset the Seahawks on the road and take a big step toward one of the wild card spots.
Seattle (6-3) is 3-1 at home and coming off 11 days since their divisional victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Unfortunately, they lost starting corner Richard Sherman for the year due to injury. To make matters worse, stud strong safety Kam Chancellor is heading to IR with an injured neck. The Legion of Boom will be missing 2 key starters and it provides Atlanta with an opportunity to get the win on Monday Night Football.
The spread opened with Seattle favored by 3 points. It has since come down to 2 points. The Over/Under opened at 45 total points and remains unchanged.
Until I see the Legion of Boom play without Sherman and Chancellor, I can’t pick Seattle to win. With the way Atlanta has struggled at times, I’m not confident that they can improve on their 3-2 road record by winning this Monday night. So, the safe bet to me is the Over.
The Over has hit in 16 of Atlanta’s last 23 games. It’s also hit in 6 of the last 7 games between these two teams and is 4-1 over the last 5 head-to-head meetings in Seattle. The Over is 4-0 over the last 4 games where Seattle has played a team with a winning record on the road.
Atlanta scores 21.9 ppg and gives up 19.9 ppg. Seattle scores 23.4 ppg and gives up 18.3 ppg. I believe both offenses will score more points than their season averages and more than what the opposing defenses allow per game.
The Falcons looked to get back on track last week when they soundly beat the Cowboys at home 27-7. I believe Atlanta will put up another 25-27 points in this game as they have done that in 2 of the last 3 games. Seattle has put over 25 ppg in their last 3 games and I also expect them to come close to that number this Monday night.
Seattle will try to establish a running game, but that will end up failing as they don’t have a solid running game at all. The leading rusher on the team is quarterback Russell Wilson who has 290 rushing yards on the season. For the Seahawks to win the game, they will need an excellent performance from Wilson and their patchwork defense.
Fortunately, I don’t have to pick a winner here. I believe Seattle will put up 24 points in this game, due to a nice performance by Wilson. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will be enough to beat a Falcons team that seemed to find some success last weekend without starting running back Freeman.
I expect Falcons QB Matt Ryan to go after the backups in the secondary and hit some big plays with Julio Jones. I also believe that Sanu will get the better of the Seahawks #3 corner. Ryan, who’s 8th in the league in passing yards, will carve up some birds for Thanksgiving week. I believe the Falcons win this one 27-24.