NFL Playoff Picks: Seattle Seahawks vs. Atlanta Falcons

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
Sunday, 1/13/12, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  Atlanta -3
Current Betting Line:  Atlanta -3
Opening Total:  44.5
Current Total:  45.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Atlanta Falcons will try to move past their playoff misfortunes Sunday

Seattle has won six games in a row by averaging 213.8 rushing yards over that span, as the team advanced to this spot in picking up a 24-14 victory over the Washington Redskins as three-point road favorites last week.  The Seahawks also have won of the best defenses in the NFL, allowing just 15.3 points per game, but they’ll be playing without the services of lineman Chris Clemons.  Seattle is 6-1 ATS as an underdog this year, with the UNDER going 4-3 in that situation, which can’t be ignored when making your NFL picks against the spread Sunday.

The Seahawks haven’t been a juggernaut on the road in recent years, but they’ve managed to win their last three games away from CenturyLink Field by a combined margin of 97-48.  Seattle will advance to the NFC championship game to face division rival San Francisco if rookie signal-caller Russell Wilson continues to play at a high level, throwing for 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions over his last nine games.

Atlanta earned the NFC’s No. 1 seed, but many NFL experts believe the team’s season will end here, considering it has lost its last two playoff games by a combined 72-23 scoring margin.  “We’re a much more mature team because of our experiences,” stated Falcons head coach Mike Smith.  He has compiled a 33-7 record at the Georgia Dome, while also going 38-17 in games played at 1 p.m.  It’s important to note that the franchise is 5-8 all-time against Seattle, but has won the last three meetings.  Atlanta is 6-3 ATS as a home favorite of three points or less over the last two-plus seasons, with the UNDER going 6-3 in that role.

The Falcons have one of the more dynamic offenses in the league, with quarterback Matt Ryan completing 68.6 percent of his passes, while wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White combined for 171 catches and 2,549 yards.  Ryan is still in search of his first-ever postseason victory, going 0-3 in his first three tries—by compiling a mediocre 71.2 passer rating.  Turnovers may be the key to this high-profile matchup, with the Falcons being tied with the Redskins and Seahawks with 31 takeaways during the 2012 NFL regular season.

Sports bettors will likely play the total in this affair, with the UNDER going 10-1 in the Falcons last 11 games versus a team with a winning record.

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