Prime Time Picks rolls into Week 2 with a 2-0 record, as both the Chiefs and Steelers covered their respective games last week. Sunday night, the Seattle Seahawks (1-0) welcome the New England Patriots (1-0) to Seattle for their home opener at CenturyLink Field.
Week 2 Prime Time Picks: Patriots (+165) vs. Seahawks (-4) O/U 45 — All lines via DraftKings
This is an excellent matchup for a nationally televised Sunday night game. This game features two outstanding head coaches in Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll, and two dual-threat QB’s in Cam Newton and Russell Wilson. Let’s take a look at the how these teams stack up against one another.
Seahawks Home Opening Dominance
The Seahawks have been dominant in home opening games in recent memory. In fact, they have won 16 of their 17 home openers since 2003, with their last loss coming in 2008. They will look to continue this dominance on Sunday.
Russell Wilson’s Love for Prime Time Games
If there are two things Russell Wilson loves to do, they are play at home, and play in prime time. Those are two things he will be doing this Sunday night. In his career, Wilson is 48-16 at home, with 120 TD passes and just 29 INT’s with a rating of 103.3. In prime time games, Wilson is 25-7-1, and has 61 TD passes against just 17 INT’s with a rating of 103.4. Going up against Wilson in a prime time game at home is an extremely difficult task for the Patriots. In addition, Wilson has a career record of 7-1 against the AFC East. In those 8 games, he has 17 TD’s and just one interception, with a rating of 118.3.
New-Look Patriots with Cam Newton at the Helm
After six-time Super Bowl champ Tom Brady departed Foxboro for Tampa Bay, the Patriots now have 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton leading their offense. Newton led the Patriots to a 21-11 win over the Dolphins in Week 1, and his rushing attack was big reason why. Cam rushed 15 times for 75 yards and 2 TD’s. We have seen the Pats have a strong rushing attack in previous years, just not from the QB position. In total, the Patriots rushing attack was very effective, rushing 42 times for 217 yards, 3 TD’s, and 5.2 yards per carry. Overall, they ran the ball twice as much as they threw it.
Seattle’s Stingy Defense
Last week the Seahawks won in convincing fashion against the Falcons, winning by a score of 38-25. The Seahawks rushing defense was effective in limiting the run to Atlanta and Todd Gurley, holding them to just 72 yards on 21 attempts. The 72 yards given up was the 4th best rushing defense in Week 1, and although Gurley did have a touchdown, it should be noted that the Seahawks were up double digits throughout most of the game, leaving the Falcons to abandon the run and throw the ball a lot to try to catch-up. This led to the Falcons putting up some big passing numbers, as Matt Ryan was 37/54 for 450 yards. He threw 2 TD’s and had one interception. So, the Falcons threw the ball 54 times against the Seahawks in Week 1, whereas the Patriots were very run-heavy, throwing the ball only 19 times. This presents an intriguing matchup for Sunday night. Seattle will have their hands full with Newton and the Patriots running game, but newcomer and First team All-Pro Jamal Adams should help in trying to limit Cam more than the Dolphins defense did last week. Adams was flying all over the field against the Falcons, and could present a tough challenge for the Patriots rushing attack.
Patriots Defense Remains Tough
Last season, the Patriots defense was incredible. They gave up a league-low 14.1 points per game, and allowed a league-low 275.9 yards per game. They were second-best in passing yards per game (180.4), and sixth-best in rushing yards per game (95.5). Picking up right where they left off, the Pats allowed only 11 points and 269 total yards against the Dolphins last week. They also picked off quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick three times. They did this having lost several top-notch players from last year’s defense, including Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Duron Harmon, Danny Shelton, and Elandon Roberts. They also lost Patrick Chung and Dont’a Hightower, who elected to opt-out of this season. However, the Patriots defense looked solid with 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore having a great game against the Dolphins, including an interception. Granted, they faced a below-average Dolphins offense and have a much tougher task this week against Seattle, but the Patriots defense could still give Russell Wilson and company some issues.
Seahawks Balanced Offensive Attack
Wilson was electric against the Falcons. His final state line: 31/35, 322 yards, 4 TD’s, and a rating of 143.1. He had the same number of touchdown passes as incompletions. He was spreading the wealth among his offensive weapons, which now includes two veterans, TE Greg Olsen and RB Carlos Hyde. They join an offensive attack that already includes WR’s Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf, along with RB Chris Carson. Carson and Hyde are two powerful backs that bring a tough running game to an already effective passing game. The Seattle running game rushed for one touchdown and 84 yards on 20 carries, averaging 4.2 yards per carry in Week 1. Don’t forget about Wilson’s running ability too, as that adds a whole other component of this Seattle team that makes them so dangerous.
Cam Newton brings a rushing element to the Patriots offense that was effective last week, but Jamal Adams and the Seattle defense is far stronger than the Dolphins defense. I think this game will come down to how effective Cam can be throwing the ball, which he is definitely capable of. That being said, it is extremely difficult for me to bet against Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll in a prime time game at home. Russell is 25-7-1 in prime time, and the Seahawks are 14-2 in prime time games with Carroll at the helm. Add in Russell’s 7-1 record against the AFC East, including a 2-0 record against the Patriots with 6 TD’s and zero picks, and the Seahawks present an extremely tough matchup for the Patriots. Keep in mind, the Seahawks are 16-1 in their last 17 home openers.
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Title Photo: (AP Photo/Danny Karnik) AP