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In-Depth Prediction, Preview, and Odds

Patriots vs. Seahawks Prediction

Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 8:20pm EDT
CenturyLink Field, Seattle
#287 New England Patriots 44 vs. #288 Seattle Seahawks -4

In-depth Coverage

This is an in-depth analysis of this game, covering every possible detail and angle. Use the table of contents to navigate between each section, or just jump on in!

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Table of Contents

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at 5:56pm EDT

Introduction

It’s a marquee interconference matchup on the gridiron in primetime action coming to you from the Pacific Northwest. The New England Patriots make the cross-country trip to the Emerald City as they battle the Seattle Seahawks Sunday night. Both teams are coming off victories in their respective openers. New England upended Miami 21-11 at home in their season opener last Sunday to start the post-Tom Brady era on the right foot. Seattle knocked off Atlanta 38-25 on the road last Sunday in their season opening contest. The Seahawks own a 9-8 edge in the all-time regular season series between the teams, including a 31-24 road win in the most recent matchup on November 13, 2016.

New England Patriots Review

New England had their struggles at times offensively in Cam Newton’s first start with the team but generated enough points to get past the Dolphins in the opening game of the season. The Patriots are going to have to be more efficient than they were against Miami in order to avoid being caught in an unfavorable situation. New England relied on their defense along with grinding the clock to come up with the victory. The Patriots moved the chains with success but came up with just three scoring drives on the night, in part due to a missed field goal and a fumble through the end zone that wasted a 12 play, 78-yard drive that chewed up 7:48 off the clock.

The Patriots never trailed in the contest, taking the lead for good with the opening score of the game with 13:12 to play in the opening half on a Newton four-yard scoring run. New England saw Miami claw within 14-11 with 10:31 to play before answering with a 10 play, 75-yard drive that took 5:08 off the clock and was capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Sony Michel to give the Patriots a 10-point lead. J.C. Jackson stifled the Dolphins’ last chance to get back in the game with an end zone interception of Ryan Fitzpatrick with 1:28 to play, allowing New England to run out the clock. The Patriots held a 357-269 advantage in total offense, picked up 29 first downs while allowing 20 and controlled the clock by a 34:49 to 25:11 margin. New England also forced three turnovers while committing only one in the game.

Seattle Seahawks Review

Seattle came into this season hoping that they would be able to make more plays on the defensive side of the ball. They lost Jadeveon Clowney via free agency but made a blockbuster trade where they picked up Jamal Adams from the Jets to help bolster their secondary. As it turned out, the Seahawks still have some work to do as they gave up plenty of yards through the air in their opener, though some of that can be offset by the fact that they held a comfortable lead throughout the second half. Seattle had a big offensive game en route to the victory but the question going forward is whether they can sustain that while getting some improvement on the defensive side of the ball.

The Seahawks erased a 3-0 deficit with a pair of touchdowns in the final five minutes of the first quarter and didn’t trail again. Seattle saw their lead trimmed to 14-12 at the half before regaining control in the third quarter. A 38-yard touchdown pass to DK Metcalf on fourth down capped the opening drive of the second half and sparked a string of 17 straight Seattle points, turning a two-point edge into a 31-12 bulge with 11:19 to play. The Seahawks didn’t see their lead trimmed below 12 the rest of the way as they earned the win. Seattle overcame being outgained 508-386 and losing the first down battle 28-22 by holding a 30:31 to 29:29 edge in time of possession. The Seahawks also forced a pair of Atlanta turnovers, leading to seven points, while also forcing the Falcons to turn the ball over on downs three times. Seattle cashed in 17 points immediately after those defensive stops.

*Full preview and prediction coming Thursday*

The Running Game

New England Patriots Running Offense
vs. Seattle Seahawks Running Defense

New England Patriots Running Offense

In the first game of the post-Tom Brady era, the Patriots had to revamp their offensive scheme to work around quarterback Cam Newton. That means instead of a lot of drop back passing, the team went to a lot more read-option and zone read plays. Instead of looking to be a pass-first offense, the Patriots were a ground-oriented system in the opener and it paid dividends as they seemed to completely flummox the Dolphins’ defense. All told, New England ran the ball 42 times for 217 yards and three scores in the contest. That gave the Patriots a solid 5.2-yard per carry average in the victory

Cam Newton led the Patriots with 15 carries for 75 yards and a pair of scores on the ground. He extended his NFL record for rushing scores by a quarterback to 59 in the process. It marked the most rushing yards by a Patriots quarterback in a game since Steve Grogan ran for 81 yards back in 1977. Sony Michel contributed 10 carries for 37 yards and a score while Rex Burkhead added seven carries for 32 yards. J.J. Taylor (four carries, 28 yards), Julian Edelman (one carry, 23 yards) and James White (five carries, 22 yards) were all effective when they got the ball. Edelman had the lone carry for more than 20 yards in the contest. New England moved the chains 18 times via the ground game in the contest.

Seattle Seahawks Run Defense

By building a second half lead, the Seahawks were able to make the Falcons more one-dimensional. Seattle kept the Falcons in check when they did run the ball, making things tougher for Atlanta when it came to trying to catch the Seahawks off guard. All told, Seattle allowed 21 carries for only 72 yards and one score in the game. That was a 3.4-yard per carry average in the contest. The Seahawks didn’t allow a run longer than 15 yards and generally handcuffed the Falcons’ running backs as Todd Gurley II, Brian Hill and Ito Smith didn’t do enough to keep Seattle fearful of the ground game.

Jamal Adams, in his first game with the team since being acquired in a blockbuster deal in the offseason, led the way with 12 tackles (eight solo) in the contest. Bobby Wagner, Shaquill Griffin and Marquise Blair each had seven tackles in the game while Quinton Dunbar contributed six tackles to round out the top five for the team. Adams leads the way with 2.5 tackles for loss while Wagner, Bruce Irvin (three tackles), Lano Hill (five tackles) and Benson Mayowa (tackle) each added one tackle for loss. Blair forced a fumble while Freddie Swain recovered it. As a team, the Seahawks have seven tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on the year.

Stats

NE

  • 1st in run play percentage (66.67 percent)
  • 1st in rushing attempts per game (42)
  • 1st in rushing yards per game (217)
  • 4th in yards per carry (5.2)
  • 1st in rushing TD (three)
  • Tied for 8th in longest rush (23 yards)

SEA

  • 2nd in percentage of run plays against (27.27 percent)
  • 5th in run plays per game against (21)
  • 4th in rushing yards allowed per game (72)
  • 8th in opposing yards per carry (3.4)
  • Tied for 9th in rushing TD allowed (one)
  • Tied for 10th in longest rush allowed (15 yards)

Who has the Edge?

This is going to be interesting as the Patriots ran the ball down Miami's throat, daring the Dolphins to stop them. New England employed a variety of backs to split the workload, making things that much tougher for the Dolphins as there always seemed to be a fresh back in there to do damage. Here, the Patriots run into a team that has a mirror image of themselves. Newton and Wilson are both mobile quarterbacks that can do damage with their legs. If there's a team that is prepared for what New England brought to the table in the opening game of the season, it's the Seahawks. New England ran for more than 200 yards but Seattle kept Atlanta in check in their season-opening victory. There may be a slight edge to New England, but it's not enough to push the needle their way. This one is a wash.

Advantage: Push

Seattle Seahawks Running Offense
vs. New England Patriots Running Defense

Seattle Seahawks Running Offense

Seattle has been a power run-oriented offense for several years and this season, one shouldn’t expect much different when you get right down to it. The Seahawks love to pound the ball and wear down opposing defenses while setting themselves up for the play-action pass, which Russell Wilson excels at. Seattle, surprisingly, wasn’t their usual selves in the opener as they took advantage of Atlanta’s porous pass defense early and often. That made the run game not as effective as it normally would be as it simply didn’t have the opportunities. All told, Seattle ran the ball 20 times for 84 yards and a score in the game. That gave them a 4.2-yard per carry average.

Russell Wilson was the team’s leading rusher in the game as he finished with three carries for 29 yards in the contest. Carlos Hyde, who was signed in the offseason as a free agent, added seven carries for 23 yards plus a score, while Chris Carson had six carries for 21 yards. David Moore had one attempt for 12 yards while Travis Homer ran the ball three times for negative one yard in the contest. Wilson had the lone run for more than 20 yards in the contest as he had a 28-yard scramble. As a team, the Seahawks have one run of at least 20 yards and they have moved the chains six times via the ground on the year.

New England Patriots Run Defense

New England controlled the flow of the game most of the way, which helped keep the Miami run game in check. The Patriots did a solid job keeping the Dolphins behind the chains by making stops on first and second down. New England limited the Dolphins to just 3.2 yards per carry in the game as Miami ran the ball 27 times for 87 yards and a score. The Patriots were extremely effective at stopping the power back in the Dolphins’ stable as Jordan Howard ran the ball eight times for a total of seven yards. While he did score a touchdown, his longest run in the game was only four yards.

Adrian Phillips leads the Patriots in tackles with nine (eight solo) on the season. Chase Winovich (six tackles), along with Terrence Brooks, Stephon Gilmore, Devin McCourty and Ja’Whaun Bentley each recorded five tackles to be the next guys in line in that department. Brandon Copeland (three tackles), John Simon (four tackles), Phillips, Derek Rivers (tackle), Winovich and Matthew Slater (tackle) each have one tackle for loss on the ledger to share the team lead. Brooks and Byron Cowart (two tackles) each have half a tackle for loss on the books. As a team, New England has seven tackles for loss without forcing a fumble or recovering one so far this season.

Stats

SEA

  • 27th in run play percentage (34.48 percent)
  • 29th in rushing attempts per game (20)
  • 26th in rushing yards per game (84)
  • 16th in yards per carry (4.2)
  • Tied for 10th in rushing TD (one)
  • 3rd in longest rush (28 yards)

NE

  • 22nd in percentage of run plays against (46.55 percent)
  • 13th in run plays per game against (27)
  • 9th in rushing yards allowed per game (87)
  • 5th in opposing yards per carry (3.2)
  • Tied for 9th in rushing TD allowed (one)
  • Tied for 2nd in longest rush allowed (12 yards)

Who has the Edge?

We know that Seattle can move the ball on the ground as they've been one of the league's best teams in recent years when it comes to pounding the rock. The Seahawks bolstered their depth chart with the addition of Hyde and he, along with Carson, are more than capable of 20-plus touches a game. That kind of workload would wear down an opposing defense and create plenty of opportunities for play-action passes. New England did a solid job against Miami in the opener but they face a much more run-dedicated team in this one than they did in the opener. The Patriots' defense can be pushed around a bit and that works for Seattle. Give the Seahawks the advantage in this category.

Advantage: Seattle Seahawks

The Passing Game

New England Patriots Passing Offense
vs. Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense

New England Patriots Passing Offense

New England, with their commitment to the run game, made the passing attack a secondary option and it still managed to be effective. The Patriots were able to keep Miami off-balance with the pass, mixing it in to make things unpredictable. New England didn’t throw a ton but they were efficient with their attack, keeping the Dolphins guessing on each and every play. All told, five different Patriots receivers were involved in the passing game though only three caught more than one pass. Newton was effective if unspectacular, posting a 100.7 QB rating in the contest.

In the game, Newton hit 15 of his 19 pass attempts for 155 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions in the game. He was sacked twice, losing 15 yards in the process. Julian Edelman (57 yards) and N’Keal Harry (39 yards) each reeled in five passes to lead the team. Harry did fumble the ball through the end zone against Miami, helping keep the Dolphins in the game. James White was the only other player with more than one reception as he finished with three catches for 30 yards. Ryan Izzo (catch, 25 yards) was the lone player to haul in a pass that gained more than 20 yards in the game. New England finished with eight first downs through the air in the game.

Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense

Since the Seahawks held a multiple-score lead a good chunk of the second half and they did a good job bottling up the run, it meant that the Falcons went to the air. That made Seattle’s pass defense numbers take a bit of a hit as they were giving up a lot of shorter completions, conceding yards for time in an effort to bleed the clock and maintain their advantage. The Seahawks saw Matt Ryan fire 54 passes in the game. While he completed 37 of them and posted a solid 98.5 QB rating, the fact was, most of those were empty yards. They may show up on a scoresheet and in the stats column but they don’t impact much beyond that in the grand scheme of things.

Adams and Benson Mayowa each had one sack in the opener to share the team lead. Wagner and Quandre Diggs (four tackles) each had two pass defenses in the contest. Mayowa, Griffin and Dunbar each had one pass defense in the contest. Diggs recorded the lone interception for the team in the win. As a team, Seattle has two sacks, seven pass defenses and one interception to their credit on the season.

Stats

NE

  • 32nd in pass play percentage (33.3 percent)
  • 4th in completion percentage (79)
  • 32nd in passing yards per game (140)
  • Tied for 28th in TD passes (zero)
  • Tied for 1st in INT thrown (zero)
  • 12th in net yards per pass attempt (7.4)
  • 27th in longest pass play (25 yards)
  • 13th in passer rating (100.7)

SEA

  • 31st in pass play percentage against (72.73 percent)
  • 32nd in net passing yards per game allowed (434)
  • 22nd in completion percentage allowed (68.5)
  • Tied for 17th in TD passes allowed (two)
  • Tied for 6th in INT (one)
  • Tied for 13th in sacks (two)
  • 18th in passer rating allowed (98.5)
  • 27th in net yards per pass attempt (eight)

Who has the Edge?

We didn't see New England do a whole lot through the air in the opener as they were more intent on pounding the rock. The Patriots don't have a ton of depth in their receiving corps to work with and one has to be concerned if an injury should crop up to Edelman or Harry. That's something that has to be cause for concern. Seattle was strafed for 450 yards through the air in their opener but that was because the Falcons had to throw the ball 54 times in the game. The Seahawks would like to get more of a pass rush but the addition of Adams brought a hard hitter to the secondary that had been missing since Kam Chancellor went down. New England doesn't scare anyone with the passing game and the Seahawks do a better job than we saw against the Falcons. Give Seattle a slight edge here.

Advantage: Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense
vs. New England Patriots Passing Defense

Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense

Seattle took advantage of a porous Atlanta secondary that seemed incapable of stopping anyone in the opener. As a result, the Seahawks went to the air early and often, veering away from their usual run-heavy offensive scheme and shredding the Falcons through the air. It’s not all that common when you see Seattle put the ball in the air 35 times but that’s exactly what we saw in the opener. When it was all said and done, the Seahawks racked up 322 yards through the air and had as many dropped passes (two) as passes that were incomplete for being off-target or defended by the Falcons in the game.

Wilson hit 31 of his 35 throws for 322 yards and four scores en route to earning NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He was sacked three times for 23 yards in losses but other than that, it was hard to find anything really to fault about his performance. Tyler Lockett led the team with eight receptions for 92 yards while Chris Carson has six grabs for 45 yards and a pair of scores. Greg Olsen (24 yards, TD) and DK Metcalf (95 yards, TD) each had four receptions. All told, nine different players hauled in at least one pass while seven of them had at least two receptions. Metcalf has two receptions of at least 20 yards while Lockett has one. The team has three pass plays of at least 20 yards on the season and moved the sticks 15 times via the pass.

New England Patriots Passing Defense

New England was a bit of a mixed bag when it came to defending the pass in the opener. While they won the game and made some plays, the fact remains that they benefitted from a Dolphins team that lost their star receiver in the second half of the game. The Patriots did come up with some critical plays that helped them come up with the victory but they’ll need to find more consistency in order to come anywhere near the numbers that last season’s unit put together. All told, New England allowed 191 yards through the air while recording only one sack. They did record three interceptions in the contest.

Derek Rivers recorded the team’s lone sack in the opener, so the pass rush is going to have to be better going forward. J.C. Jackson (two tackles) had two pass defenses to lead the team on the season. Phillips, Gilmore and Joejuan Williams (two tackles) each have one pass defense. Jackson, Gilmore and Phillips each recorded one interception so far this season. As a team, the Patriots have one sack on the books in addition to five pass defenses and a trio of interceptions on the year.

Stats

SEA

  • 6th in pass play percentage (65.52 percent)
  • 2nd in completion percentage (88.6)
  • 5th in passing yards per game (299)
  • Tied for 1st in TD passes (four)
  • Tied for 1st in INT thrown (zero)
  • 4th in net yards per pass attempt (8.5)
  • 11th in longest pass play (38 yards)
  • 2nd in passer rating (143.1)

NE

  • 11th in pass play percentage against (53.45 percent)
  • 6th in net passing yards per game allowed (182)
  • 19th in completion percentage allowed (66.7)
  • Tied for 1st in TD passes allowed (zero)
  • 1st in INT (three)
  • Tied for 21st in sacks (one)
  • 1st in passer rating allowed (44.6)
  • 9th in net yards per pass attempt (6.1)

Who has the Edge?

Wilson carved up a hapless Falcons secondary in the opener but he faces a tough challenge here. The Patriots led the NFL in picks last season and they continued that trend by hauling in three picks in the opener. Gilmore is going to be locked on either Metcalf or Lockett, forcing the other options to potentially be more involved in the passing game. New England has to generate more of a pass rush in order to rattle Wilson, who has the ability to hurt you with his legs as well. The Patriots' secondary is a tough matchup for most teams and that's going to be something to watch here. New England's secondary makes this one go in their direction.

Advantage: New England Patriots

Intangibles

New England Patriots

New England didn’t have a big game from their special teams but inevitably, it wasn’t really necessary when you got right down to it. Nick Folk hit all three of his extra point attempts while misfiring on his lone field goal attempt as he was wide right from 41 yards near the end of the first half. Jake Bailey averaged 39.7 yards on his three punts with a long of 55 in the game. All three of his punts were dropped inside the 20-yard line and the coverage team held the Dolphins to -3 yards on their one return, boosting his net average to 40.7 yards per kick. Damiere Byrd didn’t handle a kickoff return in the game while his one punt return was held to no yards.

It’s hard to argue with Bill Belichick as the head coach of the organization. He is 238-83 in the regular season as head coach of the Patriots and has six Super Bowl rings to show for his efforts. In the postseason, he has put together a 30-11 record with New England and he’s considered one of the defensive masterminds of his era. He still runs the defense for the team and there’s no reason to argue that someone else needs that job. Josh McDaniels continues to be the offensive guru that plays opposite Belichick, giving the Patriots a solid leader on both sides of the ball.

Seattle Seahawks

Special teams are a solid piece of the Seahawks and they contributed in the season-opening victory. Jason Myers hit all five extra point attempts and his lone field goal attempt on the season, which came from 42 yards away. Michael Dickson had four punts, averaging 47.8 yards per kick with a long of 53 on the game. Two of his punts were dropped inside the opposition’s 20-yard line. He allowed just one return for eight yards, giving him a net average of 45.8 yards per punt. Travis Homer averaged 21.5 yards on his two kick returns with a long of 24. David Moore had a 15-yard punt return on his lone attempt.

Much like Belichick, Pete Carroll has been around the block a few times. He’s seen and done it all, from winning two national titles at USC to coaching three Heisman Trophy winners. At the NFL level, he has posted a 101-59-1 record with the Seahawks and has gone 10-7 in the playoffs. He owns a Super Bowl ring with Seattle and could have had two had the Seahawks handed the ball to Marshawn Lynch instead of trying to throw a pass in the final seconds from the 1-yard line in Super Bowl XLIX. Brian Schottenheimer, the son of former NFL coach Marty, is the offensive coordinator while former linebacker Ken Norton runs the defense.

Who has the Edge?

We're looking at a pair of coaches that have lengthy track records with plenty of success on their respective resumes. Belichick is one of the greatest minds of his generation, while Carroll has been a winner at the highest level both in college and the NFL in his career. Both offensive coordinators have been around a while. McDaniels has delivered for the Patriots over the last several years while Schottenheimer has plenty of experience, plus the bloodline going for him. Seattle has the edge in the kicking game as Myers has been better than Folk, and in the punt game with Dickson leading the way. However, when you break it all down, there's not a whole lot of separation between the teams in these departments when you get right down to it. This one is a wash.

Advantage: Push

Final Outlook

We saw both teams win by double figures last week though how they got there was two completely different scenarios. New England played smashmouth football and pounded their way over, through and past the Miami defense en route to the win. That strategy may not be as effective here as Seattle can play that style on both sides of the ball. Seattle has been one of the premier run teams in the league in that department for several years and that is something that could put New England on their heels. The big factor here is that there will be no fans at CenturyLink Field, which is a blow to the Seahawks. Seattle relies on the fans to make life difficult for opposing teams. Still, the long, cross-country trip can be a bit of a challenge for the Patriots. The Seahawks make clutch plays on both sides of the ball in crunch time and pull out a victory.

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks -4

Second Opinion on this pick from StatSalt.com

All predictions are made well in advance of game time. Don't bet this pick before calling the free Winners And Whiners update line to make sure the pick is still good (recorded message): 1-213-205-3114

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Rating:

We saw two completely different results in the scoring department in the opening week of the season. New England was in a low-scoring, defensive minded type of game that saw the teams combine for only 32 points. Meanwhile, Seattle's offense was clicking on all cylinders as they put up 38 points en route to seeing the teams combine for 63 points to go over the total. This one seems like it could be another tough, hard-hitting, physical type of game where yards and points could be at a bit of a premium. With limited practices and one game under their belts, one has to lean toward this being a more low-scoring type of affair. The under is 6-1 in the Patriots' last seven games in September and 6-1 in their last seven after allowing less than 90 yards on the ground. This one has a 23-17 or 24-20 type of game, which would fall just short of the total.

Prediction: Under 45
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.