Seahawks’ road woes make Atlanta Falcons the favorite on Saturday
It almost doesn’t seem right but the Seattle Seahawks are underdogs to the Atlanta Falcons. There’s plenty of reasons the Falcons have an edge in Saturday’s playoff game.
The Atlanta Falcons come into Saturday’s Divisional Round playoff game as a 4.5-point favorite over the Seattle Seahawks. My guess is the line drops to about 3-3.5 by game time, but the Falcons maintain an edge either way. I would caution anyone betting on the spread to remember the Seahawks won by two points back in Week 6. Go back to 2012 and the Falcons won by two points in the exact same setting. Well, it was a Mike Smith-led team then, but you get the idea.
It’s the NFL playoffs, a top offense vs. a top defense….we should expect another really close game. Or should we? All the reading and hype this week actually suggests the Atlanta Falcons are more than a just a “close favorite”. If this were horse racing, past performances would indicate the Falcons win the game uncontested. This isn’t just ‘fan-speak’ folks; numbers don’t lie. And I’m not just talking about win/loss records.
Former Blogging Dirty contributor, Scott Carasik, provided some excellent metrics today:
Seahawks are a top 3 offense at home scoring 28.4 PPG there. They are a bottom 2 offense on the road, scoring 15.9 PPG away.
— Scott Carasik (@CarasikS) January 10, 2017
Fact is the Seahawks aren’t a great road team, having gone 3-4-1 this season. Russell Wilson’s completion percentage is down more than two full points on the road. His 82.6 passer rating on the road is also pretty shoddy compared to his 104.4 rating back in Seattle.
Regardless of the Wildcard game result, Seattle isn’t a great rushing team this season. The Seahawks averaged less than four yards per carry on the road and only scored two rushing touchdowns. Defensively, Seattle’s splits compare, but a hard scrub into stats indicates their pass defense isn’t as effective away from home. Further deduct Earl Thomas from the equation and it would appear this is Matt Ryan’s game for the taking.
For many fans, the Seattle Seahawks are really the favorite vs. the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday either way. Pete Carroll’s club has had their struggles, but have been an NFC contender since Marshawn Lynch ran over the Saints.
Well Marshawn is retired now and these are no longer the 2011, 2012, or 2013 Seattle Seahawks. They aren’t the same roster that won Super Bowl XLVIII either. These Seahawks are breaking down and becoming a fraction of the team they used to be. It’s not supernatural and certainly comes with success. Some of the better coaches and players left Seattle for promotions and bigger paydays.
The regression in Seattle has certainly been Atlanta’s gain a la head coach Dan Quinn.
I think the point is Atlanta Falcons’ fans shouldn’t hesitate to feel confident about Saturday. We covered a lot of numbers that fully support Atlanta as the favorite to win. Keep in mind this was all about what Seattle hasn’t done or potentially can’t do on the road. Sometime this week I’ll further drive home the favored Falcons by spotlighting what they have done and can do playing inside the Dome.
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