The Seattle Seahawks play host to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon in an NFC showdown from Lumen Field. The Falcons have played two close games, against two potential playoff teams, but are yet to grab that first win of the season. The Seahawks, they shocked in the season opener but looked much more like what was expected out of them in a 20-point loss to the 49ers last week. These two teams last squared off in 2020, with the Seahawks coming away with the 13-point win, while they've won two in a row in the series overall. With both teams expected to finish near the bottom of the NFL standings this season, this could be one of the NFL's most tightly contested matchups.
Falcons Searching For First WinAtlanta has entered rebuild mode and while the talent and depth are lacking, they've remained competitive in both of their opening games. The opener saw them sprint ahead of the Saints, only to allow them to come back from double-digits late, losing that divisional battle in heartbreaking fashion. Last week, they started their West Coast road trip and were on the other side of a comeback. They were able to take the Rams to the wire but an interception in the final moments, saw them come away with the four-point loss. Being on the road for the second-straight week is far from ideal, though if the Falcons want to take the pressure off of finding that first win of the season, it'll be key for them to come out on top in this one.
The Falcons don't have a lengthy injury report but they do have some key names on there. Calvin Ridley's continued suspension is far from ideal while being without running back Damien Williams (ribs) takes another veteran presence out of the picture. The main name to keep an eye on is Darren Hall (knee), as the cornerback is instrumental in this group finding success on the defensive side.
Thursday's injury report with updates on Darren Hall ⬇️https://t.co/1GlXfovLd8— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) September 22, 2022
Through the first two weeks, the Falcons have established a strong ground game, which is quite a bit different than the ariel attack employed over the last few seasons. They rank seventh in the league in rushing yards per game and ninth in scoring. The lack of passing weapons is a concern but considering the lack of talent on Seattle's sidelines, establishing the run could be enough to grab the road win. Cordarelle Patterson (5.0 yards per carrying, 80.5 yards per game) is the key within the offense, though, with the experience at quarterback with Marcus Mariota, the Falcons will continue to be competitive. They also have a talented rookie WR in Drake London.
Defensively, this group has struggled to close out games. They rank 28th in the league in scoring defense and in the bottom half of the league in nearly every other defensive category. The one positive has been their ability to force teams into turnovers, where if they can win that battle against Seattle, they'll find themselves in good shape. The secondary is the strength of this group and keeping Seattle frustrated and slowing down their group of talents on the outside, will give them a crucial leg up in this one.
Seahawks Trying To Find IdentitySeattle entered the season expecting to be one of the worst teams in football but an opening week shocker against the Broncos quickly had people questioning how good this team could be. With Denver quickly not looking that impressive, as well as Seattle losing by 20 to the 49ers last week, it appears they will find themselves near the bottom of the NFC West when things are all said and done. With limited opportunities at finding wins, Seattle knows that taking advantage of welcoming the Falcons to town is a great opportunity for them to get to 2-1 on the season. If nothing else, Seattle knows that they'll have a strong home-field advantage, which they hope will be enough.
The Seahawks have one of the longest injury reports in the league and with nine players already ruled out for Sunday, depth is a definite concern. Quandre Diggs (knee) remains questionable, as the most notable name on the defense. With a pair of safeties already ruled out, the Seahawks can't afford to be missing Diggs in the secondary as well.
Losing Russell Wilson in the offseason was a tough blow to the offense, Geno Smith does bring some experience to the position. He's averaging 196 yards through the air per game, while only tossing two touchdowns so far. The key is getting Rashaad Penny (4.2 yards per carrying) going early and often. If they can establish the run game, it should open up avenues towards getting the ball in dangerous spots to the talented wide receiver duo. They rank near the bottom of the league in nearly every offensive category, though taking care of the ball will be a good first step on Sunday.
Defensively, the Seahawks haven't been able to fare much better. Ranking 24th or lower in total yardage defense, passing defense, and rushing defense, slowing down Atlanta could be a challenge. The slight piece of good news is that this defense bends but it doesn't seem to break. They rank right near the middle of the league when it comes to scoring defense and forcing Atlanta into field goals, as opposed to toucdowns, could make all the difference in this one.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
For the Falcons, they have been able to put up points and compete with two talented teams, even without a win to show for it. Sunday will be a much easier opponent and for the falcons, they'll be coming away with their first win of the season. They have the ground game to control the clock and with Mariota at quarterback, they have an experienced signal caller who knows how to take care of the ball and manage this one. For Seattle, being at home seems like their only advantage. While they came away with the win in week one, it took some timely turnovers to stay in that game, a fortune that they won't replicate on Sunday as they struggle to compete. Additionally, according to covers.com, the Falcons are 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine road games, while they are also 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings overall between the two sides.
Full-Game Total Pick
These are two of the least explosive offenses in the league and even though Atlanta has put up some points this season, this game will dictate a different strategy for them. Atlanta will focus on running the ball and controlling the clock, which is likely to help them win this one outright, as well as keep Seattle off the field. For the Seahawks, only seven points last week, showed how troubling this group might be to find success this season. Additionally, according to covers.com, the under is 4-1 in Seattle's last five September games and is 4-1-1 in their last games after having fewer than 250 total yards in their previous game, as well as after scoring 15 points or fewer in their previous game.