NFL Predictions Week 4: Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks

Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, 10/2/11, 4:05 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  Atlanta -4
Current Betting Line:  Atlanta -4.5
Opening Total:  41
Current Total:  38.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Seahawks vs. Falcons NFL Preview
The Atlanta Falcons came away with a 34-18 win in last year's meeting against the Seattle Seahawks

Atlanta is currently 1-2 on the year and is a long way from producing the NFC’s best record like it did a year ago.  “We are very disappointed with the way we have protected our quarterback in the first three ballgames,” commented Falcons head coach Mike Smith.  “We’ll have to take a look at what’s going wrong schematically as well as evaluate our personnel.”  Quarterback Matt Ryan has been sacked 13 times, which is alarming due to being dropped just 23 times in 2010.  The offensive line isn’t doing any favors for the running game, picking up just 30 yards last week, after gaining 248 yards in the first two games.  Atlanta is 8-2 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 9 points and 4-0 ATS off a loss against a division rival.

The Falcons are on the road for a second consecutive week, dropping a 16-13 decision to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as one-point underdogs last week.  Atlanta is 13-13 on the road under Smith’s direction, but a perfect 6-0 against the NFC West.  The defense will try and get after Seattle quarterback Tavaris Jackson, as he’s been sacked 14 times this year.  Wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White could have a big day in running around a secondary that lacks size.

Seattle earned its first win of the season last week, outlasting the Arizona Cardinals with a 13-10 victory as 3.5-point home underdogs.  The Seahawks will not be seeking revenge from a 34-18 loss of a year ago against the Falcons, as the team was out-gained by just 32 yards.  “They came in here and played great last year,” commented Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.  “We don’t forget the fact about how well they can function.”  Seattle is 8-19 ATS as an underdog and 3-10 ATS off a divisional contest.

The Seahawks are hoping that Jackson will start turning things around now that former Vikings teammate Sidney Rice is in the fold.  Seattle’s newest pass-catch combination connected eight times for 109 yards last week and will be going against a Falcons secondary that ranks 22nd in the league, allowing 261 yards per game.  Playing this game at CenturyLink Field is certainly an advantage, as the 12th MAN has been a calling card for the franchise since the stadium has hosted games.  “It’s definitely an advantage,” commented defensive end Raheem Brock.  “The atmosphere at the stadium is just unbelievable.”  Seattle’s defensive ends give up at least 30-50 pounds of weight each week, which could wear them down as the season goes along.

Bettors will likely back the Falcons due to their 4-0 ATS mark as a road favorite, while the Seahawks are 5-18 ATS after a straight-up win.

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