Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons Matchup Preview 10/27/2019: Analysis, Depth Charts, Picks, Daily Fantasy

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The Seattle Seahawks (5-2) head to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium as they look to knock off the Atlanta Falcons (1-6). The Seahawks look to bounce back from their disappointing loss against the Ravens by extending the Falcons losing streak to six games. Seattle’s outing in week 7 was uncharacteristic due to their inefficiency in the passing game, low productivity in the run game, and an overall abysmal defensive performance. However, against a weak defense, like Atlanta’s, the Seahawks are likely to improve drastically. For Falcons head coach, Dan Quinn, a sixth straight loss would exponentially increase the likelihood that the Falcons will part ways with Quinn before the end of the season. The Falcons’ defense has been ineffective this season. This is unfortunate for Quinn, who is almost entirely responsible for the defensive play-calling [1]. Even worse, starting quarterback, Matt Ryan, is currently undergoing an MRI for a leg injury, further putting Quinn’s job in jeopardy [14]. If the Falcons are unable to put up a competitive outing against the Seahawks, Falcons owner Arthur Blank might decide to fire Quinn immediately after the game. For Odds movement and full matchup details on the Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons Matchup.

TV Schedule

Date: Sunday, Oct. 27th, 2019
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta, GA
Coverage: FOX

Injury Report

Seattle Seahawks: E. Ansah (Q) ankle, D. Brown (Q) biceps, B. McDougald (Q) back, L. Hill (Q) elbow, W. Dissly (IR) Achilles, E. Pocic (IR) back, J. Boykins (IR) undisclosed, E. Dickson (IR) knee, P. Haynes (PUP) hernia, J. Simmons (IR) knee, D. Christmas (PUP) back, K. Reed (IR) neck, D. Knox (IR) knee, J. Johnson (IR) Achilles, E. Ellerbee (IR) undisclosed, A. Choice (IR) undisclosed, E. Walden (Q) hip

Atlanta Falcons: D. Trufant (Q) toe, I. Smith (Q) head, M. Ryan (Q) ankle, J. Cyprien (IR) foot, M. Bosher (IR) groin, K. Neal (IR) Achilles, R. Hageman (IR) undisclosed, C. Lindstrom (IR) foot, T. Calhoun (IR) undisclosed, R. Brown (IR) undisclosed, A. Gray (IR) undisclosed, M. Simms (IR) undisclosed, K. Benkert (IR) toe, M. Bennett (IR) ankle, J. Wilcox (IR) ACL, J. Langford (Q) undisclosed, S. Means (IR) Achilles

Seattle Seahawks Analysis

Seattle SeahawksRussell Wilson has carried the Seattle Seahawks to a 5-2 record due to his MVP-caliber season. Aside from an uncharacteristically substandard game against the Ravens, Wilson has been slicing and dicing opposing secondaries this season. He has been the best game manager in the NFL, leading all quarterbacks in terms of money throws and true passer efficiency and ranking in the mid-30s in danger plays and interceptable passes [3]. Furthermore, Wilson is doing all of this against quality defenses such as the Rams, Steelers, and Saints.

While Seattle’s passing attack has been maximized due to the play of Russell Wilson, their rushing attack has not reached its full potential. Even though Chris Carson is currently in the top ten amongst running backs when it comes to total rushing yards, he isn’t even in the top 20 in terms of yards/carry. A big reason why Carson is experiencing problems on a per-carry basis is his offensive line, as they have allowed the Seahawks’ RB to get tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage on 20% of their carries [4]. Carson ranks in the top five when it comes to breaking tackles and the top ten in terms of yards after contact, so look for his rushing totals to skyrocket as this offensive line improves [5].

On the other side of the ball, Seattle’s defense has been relatively average. Seattle’s defensive captain, Bobby Wagner, has regressed this season, which is a cause of concern for this defense. After only missing one tackle in 2018, Wagner has already missed four in 2019 and is allowing 85% of the targets in his coverage to be completed [6,7].

Similar to Wagner, some of Seattle’s secondary is also having trouble covering opposing receivers. Cornerback Tre Flowers is especially struggling, surrendering a 62.2% completion percentage to opposing wideouts [7]. Strong safety Bradley McDougald is also struggling to tackle well, missing on nearly 14% of his tackles. If Seattle is going to be a real contender, they are going to need to see improvement from Wagner and the Seahawks’ secondary.

Seattle Seahawks Depth Chart

QB: Russell Wilson
RB1: Chris Carson
RB2: Rashaad Penny
WR1: Tyler Lockett
WR2: DK Metcalf
WR3: David Moore
TE: Luke Willson

Atlanta Falcons Analysis

Atlanta FalconsThe Atlanta Falcons’ 2019 season has been an overall nightmare. While most of the issues pertained to the defensive side of the ball, their offense might have taken a massive blow with the injury of QB Matt Ryan. If Ryan is unable to suit up on Sunday, the Falcons will go from a quarterback ranking in the top five in terms of completed air yards and true efficiency to Matt Schaub, who is most notable for his tendency to complete precise passes to defensive backs [8].

Atlanta’s ground game has been wholly unproductive and inefficient, and unfortunately for them, this trend looks to continue for the rest of the year. The Falcons currently have the 3rd worst rushing attack, and Devonta Freeman is only averaging 3.5 yards/carry. To make matters worse, Atlanta’s running backs are getting stopped before or at the line of scrimmage on 23% of their runs [4]. Although Atlanta’s offense is lackluster, their receiving corps has been stellar. Wide receiver, Julio Jones, and tight end, Austin Hooper, are both projected to have 1,000-yard seasons, nearly 10 TDs, and zero drops [9].

When it comes to the defensive side of the ball, there are almost no bright spots. Atlanta’s defensive unit has failed to sack opposing quarterbacks since week three and hasn’t forced a turnover since week two [10]. Additionally, Atlanta has been unable to hold a team below 20 points this year and has given up 30+ points in three straight games.

Most of this team’s defensive issues pertain to coverage, with Atlanta’s CBs and LBs struggling to cover opposing wideouts. Cornerback Isaiah Oliver is currently allowing a 75.6% completion percentage, a 139 QB rating, and has already given up 487 receiving yards this season [11]. Linebackers Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell have also been underwhelming this year, allowing a passer rating of 119.6 and 127.3, respectively, and allowing a 70%+ completion percentage each [11]. Atlanta’s inability to cover opposing receivers will be extremely evident against an elite QB, like Russell Wilson.

Atlanta Falcons Depth Chart

QB: Matt Ryan
RB1: Devonta Freeman
RB2: Ito Smith
WR1: Julio Jones
WR2: Calvin Ridley
WR3: Mohamed Sanu
TE: Austin Hooper

Daily Fantasy

Russell WilsonRussell Wilson looks to be a reliable QB1 option against a terrible Atlanta secondary. As of week six, Wilson was ESPN Fantasy Football’s, NFL Index’s and Pro Football Focus’ no. 1 QB [12, 13]. Wilson is doing a tremendous job of pushing the ball down the field while avoiding turnovers, as evidenced by his league-leading true passer efficiency [3]. As of week seven, the Falcons were allowing the 3rd most fantasy points per game, and week eight shouldn’t fare any differently.

Tyler Lockett is a reliable WR2 option in week eight. Lockett leads all Seahawks pass-catchers in terms of target share and TDs. Especially against an atrocious Atlanta secondary, Lockett will have an excellent opportunity to have a booming performance.

Fantasy owners should be cautious with Chris Carson. While Carson is an explosive runner, his offensive line has allowed defenders to stop the Seahawks’ running backs at or behind the line of scrimmage on 20% of their carries [4]. Also, Atlanta’s defense has been efficient when it comes to stopping the run, ranking 7th in the league in terms of rush defense efficiency [4]. Chris Carson is projected to only put up modest production as a low-end RB/decent flex option in week eight.

Julio Jones is a decent WR1 option in week eight. Jones ranks in the top ten in terms of receptions and receiving yards, and leads all Falcons pass-catchers in terms of yard share. If Matt Ryan is unable to play, Jones’ value will decrease a bit, but he would still be a quality WR2 option due to his reliable production.

Austin Hooper is a quality fantasy option in week eight. Hooper trails only Julio Jones in terms of target share by less than a percentage point and is on pace to accumulate over 1,000 receiving yards. In addition, Hooper leads all tight ends in receptions and touchdowns, and Seattle has struggled in pass coverage, especially against tight ends. Hooper is a must-start against in week eight.

References:
[1] https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/falcons-dan-quinn-wont-give-up-defensive-play-calling-if-i-felt-it-was-best-i-would-have-done-that/
[2] https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/teams/ATL/atlanta-falcons/injuries/
[3] https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/russell-wilson/
[4] https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/ol/2019
[5] https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2019/rushing_advanced.htm
[6] https://www.espn.com/blog/seattle-seahawks/post/_/id/32954/inside-bobby-wagners-one-missed-tackle-from-2018
[7] https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/sea/2019_advanced.htm#all_advanced_defense
[8] https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/matt-ryan/
[9] https://www.foxsports.com/nfl/atlanta-falcons-team-stats?season=2019&week=0&category=RECEIVING
[10] https://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/dan-quinn-distributing-falcons-defensive-play-calling-duties
[11] https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/atl/2019_advanced.htm#all_advanced_defense
[12] http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001066300/article/qb-index-week-7-russell-wilson-alone-at-no-1-tom-brady-falls
[13] https://theeagleswire.usatoday.com/2019/10/19/eagles-carson-wentz-highest-graded-qb-russell-wilson/
[14] https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/27888589/falcons-qb-matt-ryan-undergo-mri-ankle-source-says

  
I am a junior at Morehouse College, majoring in economics. I have experience as a data analyst at Pro Football Focus and as a football scouting intern at Fanteractive.com. I enjoy scouting and analyzing NCAAF and NFL games, especially quarterback and running back play.

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