Game Predictions & Player Projections - SEA vs. ATL

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: SEA 24, ATL 34 (Line: ATL by 4.5, O/U = 51.5)

UPDATE: C. J. Prosise is listed as questionable and was able to undergo full practices on both Thursday and Friday. He is a game time decision on Saturday though most speculate that he is less likely to play. I am holding him out of the projections but be aware that he has not been formally ruled out and still at least has a chance to play.

This is the second meeting between these teams. The Seahawks won 26-24 in Seattle during Week 6 when they scored ten unanswered points over the final five minutes for the win. Seattle was 7-1 at home but are only 3-4-1 in road games this year. The Falcons are 5-3 at home. This was a close game back in Week 6 and now favors the Falcons mostly because of the venue. The difference is that this is a great offense at home versus a great defense on the road.

Seattle Seahawks

1 MIA 12-10 10 @NE 31-24
2 @LA 3-9 11 PHI 26-15
3 SF 37-18 12 @TB 5-14
4 @NYJ 27-17 13 CAR 40-7
5 BYE --- 14 @GB 10-38
6 ATL 26-24 15 LA 24-3
7 @ARI 6-6 16 ARI 31-34
8 @NO 20-25 17 @SF 25-23
9 BUF 31-25      
News | Statistics | Roster
SEA vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Russell Wilson 10 280,2
RB Alex Collins 10,1 1-10
RB Thomas Rawls 50 1-10
WR Doug Baldwin 6-80
WR Jermaine Kearse 4-50
WR Paul Richardson 4-50,1
TE Jimmy Graham 5-70,1
PK Steven Hauschka 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Last week the Seahawks took down the Lions when they owned the fourth quarter and scored 16 unanswered points. This week is an entirely different situation on the road against one of the top offenses in the NFL. Back in Week 6, the Seahawks won after trailing 17-24 entering the fourth quarter. After driving the field and scoring a touchdown with 4:47 left to play, the Seahawks missed their extra point and remained one point behind. But Ran was intercepted on the Falcons series and Seattle kicked their game winning score from 44-yards out. Aside from the Week 10 win in New England, the Seahawks only road wins were against the Jets and 49ers.

QUARTERBACK : Russell Wilson passed for 270 yards and no scores in the first meeting with the Falcons. He's been mostly less effective on the road. While he threw for a surprising 348 yards and three scores in New England, his other five most recent road games totaled just two touchdowns and never exceeded 258 yards.

RUNNING BACK : Thomas Rawls was still out when the Falcons visited Seattle in Week 6. Christine Michael ran for 64 yards on 18 carries and scored twice while Alex Collins ran in a score on his only carry. Rawls blew up last week with a Seattle playoff record 161 yards on 27 carries with one touchdown. But Rawls played in just four road venues this year and his only score came in San Francisco when he only gained 14 yards on eight carries. Rawls has yet to rush more than 15 times in any away game or gain more than 67 yards. He also is offering nearly no production as a receiver.

There is talk that C.J. Prosise may return for this game but he has yet to be cleared and I will hold him out until certain that he will play.

WIDE RECEIVER : Doug Baldwin ended with just 31 yards on four catches in the first meeting. Jermaine Kearse ended with three catches for 35 yards while Tyler Lockett gained 23 yards on his three receptions. Paul Richardson had no catches that week but scored in two of the last three games including two very impressive catches last week. But he still ended with only 48 yards on three catches in that game and has never turned in more than four receptions or 52 yards in any game this year. Baldwin also scored in two of the last three and in both players cases, they were all in home games. Aside from the Patriots win, Baldwin hasn't scored away from Seattle either.

TIGHT END : Jimmy Graham caught six passes for 89 yards in the win over the Falcons but has become far less productive since Week 9. He hasn't totaled more than 67 yards in any away venue since and has never scored a touchdown other than in Seattle. All six of his scores were at home.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Falcons rank poorly against everything. But with running backs, they have only allowed five rushing scores in Atlanta and it is hard to ignore that Rawls has not been successful in away games at all this year. The Falcons poor ranking is also because they gave up six passing scores to running backs but the only Seattle backs with a receiving touchdown were one each for C.J. Spiller and Christine Michael - neither are with the team anymore. If Rawls can either score or have more than a very moderate game, it will be the first time for him away from home. Even in Seattle, Christine Michael only ran for 3.6 yards per carry versus the Falcons.

So the scoring should come more from the passing effort or at least be set up by the pass. Have to still like Jimmy Graham here despite his lackluster production over the last half of the year. The Seahawks will have to pass and he is their best weapon against this defense that has already allowed five scores to the position in Atlanta. The loss of Tyler Lockett was filled by Paul Richardson but he's never been good for more than 50 yards and none of the Seahawks wideouts gained more than 35 yards in the first meeting.

This one should mostly come down to Russell Wilson passing to Graham and Baldwin. They stepped up against the Patriots one week but otherwise have not been a good road team. It all depends on which Seattle shows up in Atlanta.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SEA 15 23 20 8 7 17
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 32 29 26 26 8 6

Atlanta Falcons

1 TB 24-31 10 @PHI 15-24
2 @OAK 35-28 11 BYE ---
3 @NO 45-32 12 ARI 38-19
4 CAR 48-33 13 KC 28-29
5 @DEN 23-16 14 @LA 42-14
6 @SEA 24-26 15 SF 41-13
7 SD 30-33 16 @CAR 33-16
8 GB 33-32 17 NO 38-32
9 @TB 43-28      
News | Statistics | Roster
SEA at ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 310,3
RB Devonta Freeman 70,1 4-30
RB Tevin Coleman 20 2-20
WR Julio Jones 6-100,1
WR Mohamed Sanu 4-40,1
WR Taylor Gabriel 20 3-50,1
TE Austin Hooper 1-20
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Falcons come off their Round 1 bye rested and ready to play a team that already beat them in Week 6. The difference in that game was an ineffective rushing effort but a productive passing game that came up just short in one of the toughest venues in the NFL. The Falcons are more aware of what they are getting into this time around and will be on home turf where they have consistently played better and scored more.The worse that the Falcons have scored in the last six games was 28 points.

QUARTERBACK : Matt Ryan passed for 335 yards and three scores in the Seattle meeting where he threw one interception and was sacked four times. Ryan scored in every game this year and rarely less than two touchdowns. He's been a lock for 270+ yards there even when the rushing offense is doing well. How well the rushing effort produces is key to what Ryan will do and in Seattle, his 42 pass attempts were a season high.

RUNNING BACK : Devonta Freeman only gained 40 yards on 12 runs in Seattle and caught three passes for 10 yards. He's been far more productive in the second half of the year and when at home. He's scored in each of the last five home games for a total of ten touchdowns and only once had just one touchdown. That includes scoring twice on the visiting Cardinals and Chiefs. Tevin Coleman only gained 10 yards on five runs in that first meeting and has assumed a lesser role in the second half of the year. Coleman ran in eight touchdowns this year but only two were at home. He has turned in three receiving touchdowns though he was limited to a single catch in Seattle.

WIDE RECEIVER : Taylor Gabriel missed Week 17 with a foot injury but is expected back to health this week. Gabriel was not yet a factor in Week 6 but since has scored seven touchdowns over his last eight games played including in each of the four home games since facing the Seahawks. Julio Jones recorded seven receptions for 139 yards and one score in Seattle while Mohamed Sanu scored once on his five catches for 47 yards. Sanu has been a very minor player since and scored just once in the last seven games. Justin Hardy shows up with a score on in two of the last three games but has yet to break 50 yards in any game.

TIGHT END : Levine Toilolo had his best game of the year when he caught three passes for 69 yards in Seattle that included a 46-yard score but he scored only once more all year and rarely tops 20 yards in a game. Austin Hooper missed the last game of the season but may return from his sprained knee. I will tentatively add him but he's been a very minor factor this year anyway.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Falcons already passed very well in Seattle and posted the biggest game allowed by these Seahawks - and while in Seattle. Ryan is going to pass more than they run and Julio Jones already had a big game against them. Gabriel is a new factor in the passing equation this time around as well. There is no reason to expect much from the tight ends again but the Falcons have already been successful passing to wide receivers and are better now than they were in Week 6. And at home.

The Seahawks were great against the run in Week 6 but the defense has been less effective in recent weeks. They already allowed David Johnson to score three times in Seattle in Week 16 and but the Packers and 49ers ran in scores on them recently despite not really having any running backs (Carlos Hyde was out in Week 17).

Coleman is less likely to do much again though he has caught a score twice in the last few weeks.

Freeman has been nearly unstoppable at home and scores more than once in four of the last five home games. He should be a difference maker now as opposed to Week 6. Notable too was that run-stopping safety Earl Thomas left in Week 13,

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 3 2 3 14 1 9
Preventing Fantasy Points SEA 4 3 11 4 3 11

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