An actual good game on Monday Night Football? No one will be more shocked than Jon Gruden and Sean McDonough if that’s the case. At least on paper it looks like a fun one when the Atlanta Falcons (5-4) travel to CenturyLink Field to take on the Seattle Seahawks (-3) Monday night.
The game will be sent via satellite, internet signal or cable wires into your home via the ESPN network at 8:30 p.m. EST.
The Game: Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks (-1.5)
The Falcons and Seahawks have played 17 times since 1976 with Seattle holding a 10-7 advantage in the all time series.
They met up in the divisional round of the playoffs last season with Atlanta winning 36-20 at the Georgia Dome.
ATLANTA FALCONS (5-4)
If the Falcons are truly going to shake off their Super Bowl hangover, and I’m not sure they can, they need to stack up quality wins over real opponents. They got a good start of that last week when they beat the Dallas Cowboys 27-7 in Atlanta.
That victory all came from the defense. The Falcons sacked Dak Prescott eight times and held Dallas to just 107 total yards rushing. Even with Ezekiel Elliott out with a suspension, the Cowboys should have been capable of more yards than that. The big sacks and pressure kept the Cowboys in long downs and distances all day. Even though they finished 5-of-11 on third down conversions, it took its toll. In addition to all that, the Falcons forced two turnovers.
Atlanta’s offense wasn’t spectacular, but for once in a big game it was good enough. I ask how in the hell Steve Sarkisian still has the job as offensive coordinator every week to no avail. Matt Ryan was an efficient 22 of 29 for 215 yards, two touchdowns and one pick. His offensive line kept him clean and he was sacked just once.
To combat the Cowboys pass rush, Atlanta went with a shorter passing game. Slot and gadget man Taylor Gabriel led the team with three catches for 58 yards. Julio Jones had six grabs for 57 yards and Austin Hooper caught six passes of his own for 49 yards and a score. I expect Jones and Hooper to have a much bigger impact on the game Monday night with Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman both out for Seattle.
The Falcons will have to go without starting running back Devonta Freeman. He’s still in the league’s concussion protocol. Everyone else should play, including outside linebacker Duke Riley, who’s been dealing with a knee.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (6-3)
Yep, the worst has happened for Seattle. In addition to losing Richard Sherman for the year with an Achilles injury last week, this week they learned safety Kam Chancellor will miss the rest of the season with a neck injury. He’s headed to injured reserve, even though head coach Pete Carroll hedged that Saturday.
Chancellor and Sherman aren’t the only players slated to miss this game. Linebacker Michael Wilhoite is out with a calf injury and offensive guard Luke Joeckel showed up on the injury report again with his knee. He won’t play either.
The Seahawks roll into this one off a 22-16 too close victory over the depleted Arizona Cardinals last Sunday. Russell Wilson again had to do most of the work on offense himself, completing 22 of 32 for 238 yard and two touchdowns. The good news for Seattle is Wilson’s explosion as a passer has made tight end Jimmy Graham valuable again. He caught two touchdowns.
This line has moved down a point and a half since Chancellor’s injury status was released and the over-under went up a point. That’s a nice swing for just the loss of one guy, but it goes to show how important he is to the Seahawks. I like Atlanta in this one with Sherman and Chancellor both out and, frankly, the only reason I don’t just load up on them is the fact that they’ve just played so shitty for most of the season. Last week was a good start. Let’s see if they can keep it going. Falcons 31, Seahawks 30
Straight up: 1-0
Against the spread: 0-1
Straight up: 9-5
Against the spread: 6-8
Straight up: 87-59
Against the spread: 75-70
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