Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks
Date and Time: Monday, November 20, 2017, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
Opening NFL Odds: Seahawks -3, O/U 45
Falcons vs. Seahawks TV Coverage: ESPN
Reality is going to have to set in at some point for these two teams that they might indeed be the second-best teams in their own division. Heck, Atlanta might be third-best in the NFC South! The Saints and Rams don't look like they're trailing off any time in the near future, and that could make this game crucial for two teams that are fighting for Wild Card spots.
For the Seahawks, a win in this game would at least leave them a game clear of the rest of the pack aside from Carolina in the NFC Wild Card chase with a good chance to be two up on the field by the time the rest of the Week 11 results are in.
For Atlanta, this game is about survival. Just as the Falcons really had to win last week against Dallas to get over .500, winning this game is about staying there. Atlanta will have its opportunities the rest of the way, but you have to think there's a loss in here somewhere either in this one or against Minnesota, Carolina or New Orleans in at least one of the two meetings in December.
Needless to say, the Falcons could surely regret those losses to the Dolphins and Bills in October by the time the end of the season rolls around just like the Seahawks could live to rue their losses to Washington and Tennessee.
All eyes are going to be on the Seattle secondary and how it's going to get along without Richard Sherman. When various iterations of the "Legion of Boom" has been fully healthy, this defense has looked unstoppable. With Sherman, Kam Chancellor or Earl Thomas sidelined, the unit has been merely mortal.
However, we're not sure the Sherman injury was the biggest of the bunch. The newly acquired Duane Brown is likely going to miss this game after picking up an ankle injury against the Cardinals last week as well. If Brown is out, that's going to send Matt Tobin back out at tackle to try to hold off Atlanta's pass rush.
Remember what happened last week when Adrian Clayborn went up against a backup left tackle? He had a franchise-record six sacks.
Russell Wilson had better hope he has his life insurance paid up.
On the other side of the ball, keep an eye on the Devonta Freeman situation. He only ran the ball twice before heading into concussion protocol last week for the Falcons. If he can't go, Tevin Coleman is a solid replacement as a starter, but the depth chart will be thinned out in a huge way.
Falcons vs. Seahawks Free Picks
Wilson has been a one-man band this year, and that isn't going to change in this one. The Seahawks are going to be counting on their leading passer (and their leading rusher!) to work the ball into the hands of all of the top targets as much as he can in the face of a pass rush that is suddenly one of the more ferocious-looking in the NFL.
Still, as we look at these two rosters, we see two teams that are headed in opposite directions. Seattle feels like it has a middling roster with an elite quarterback playing MVP-caliber football. Atlanta feels like it is merely underachieving with a far superior team that was in the Super Bowl a year ago.
There's no guarantee the Falcons are going to figure out how to get the most out of their talent in this game, but we have a lot better feeling that their talent is just better than what Seattle is bringing to the table. There's a reason why all of the top online sportsbooks agree that Atlanta should only be a short underdog.
NFL ATS Pick: Falcons +3 at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Falcons 26, Seahawks 20