Posted on November 16, 2017, by Travis Pulver
The Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks have not looked like the teams fans have come to know and love in recent years. Atlanta has had trouble getting the offense on track and the dreaded Legion of Boom defense in Seattle is not so dreaded anymore. It doesn’t help that the Seahawks are struggling to create running lanes and keep their running backs healthy.
But both are still playoff contenders. Seattle is just a game behind the Rams in the NFC West and is currently in line for a wildcard spot. Atlanta is a couple of games behind the Saints in the NFC South and a game behind the Seahawks for the NFC’s last wildcard spot.
In a way, when the two face off on Monday Night Football this week, they will be playing for a wildcard spot. Both will still have six games to play, but the win will give them the potential tiebreaker over the other.
So, who’s going to win?
Both will enter the game facing some serious injury issues. The Seahawks can’t seem to keep a running back healthy. But more importantly, they lost the services of Richard Sherman last week. Getting Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane back will help. But there is a reason why Maxwell was out of work. Seattle had tried to trade Lane a couple weeks earlier.
While it is unofficial, the Falcons will likely be without the services of running back Devonta Freeman. He left last week’s game against the Cowboys with a concussion and is not expected to clear the league’s concussion protocol this week.
So, who is going to miss their guy more?
Can Seattle cover for the loss of their defensive leader? Against the team with the capability to pass for 300+ yards in any given game, it will be difficult.
It would help if they had a run game that could grind out some tough yards and extend drives. But the Seahawks are struggling to run the ball once again this year. They hoped acquiring Duane Brown would help. But he left his first game early with an injury (but isn’t on the injury report this week).
Tevin Coleman will make it easier for the Falcons to do without Freeman for a week. He’s done a good shop sharing the backfield with Freeman the last couple of years. But Atlanta’s problem has been finding any form of continuity with Steve Sarkisian calling the plays.
They looked great against a tired Dallas defense with injury issues. But can they do the same against a better Seattle defense with injury issues?
Seattle’s defense had been struggling a little bit even with Richard Sherman in the lineup. Yes, they often get their act together when the team needs a big stop. But the only team they’ve stopped this season was the Indianapolis Colts. Everyone else they have slowed down just enough for their offense to squeak out a win.
When the Falcons faced a depleted Dallas defense, the offense looked like the one that dominated games last season. Don’t be surprised if that happens again on Monday night.
Russell Wilson will keep the Seahawks (2.5 point favorites) in the game. But in the end, the Falcons will win this one by six.