So another week goes into the history books and as we approach the halfway point just Kansas City, they who drafted first back in April, remain unbeaten. Andy Reid and his staff have turned water into wine and not only have the Chiefs improved in every position; they have gotten a winning mentality. An average performance this past Sunday left them vulnerable but ultimately they outlasted the Texans, would the Chiefs have held on in such a game last year?
Kansas City’s AFC West rivals Denver finally blinked, Peyton Manning and the gang were beaten in his old stomping ground of Indianapolis and the Colts are a team capable of beating anyone it seems, particularly at home. Potentially big for the Colts however was the loss of veteran receiver Reggie Wayne for the season but they weren’t alone in losing a star player this week. Injuries grabbed the headlines throughout the States, some of the biggest included St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford tearing his ACL and being out for the season, Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin has a shoulder injury that has his season in jeopardy, Chicago lost their offensive and defensive captains, quarterback Jay Cutler and linebacker Lance Briggs will both miss a month or more. Houston linebacker Brian Cushing got another season ending injury, pro bowl contender Leon Hall is also done in Cincinnati while Green Bay seemingly have to lose someone each week, this time its tight end Jermichael Finley whose neck injury could see him out until December.
At ATPF we went 10-5 again, for the third time in four weeks, that elusive eleventh winner continues to get away. We were happy with predicting a Steelers win correctly for the second week running, getting the Giants to finally win correct, happy with getting the margins almost spot on in Atlanta and San Diego wins but most delighted by the Jets overtime win by three against New England, an upset predicted pretty perfectly as the Jets defense grew in stature. This week there are just thirteen games with six teams on bye, ten wins would be very acceptable.
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
One of just two winless teams, Tampa Bay have ten games to decide whether rookie Mike Glennon is their future or whether May’s NFL draft, rich in quarterback talent is the way to address the position. Carolina are just about still afloat at 3-3, they surely can’t catch the Saints in the NFC South but a win here will put them firmly in contention for a wild card spot.
The factor that will give the Buccaneers hope here is the inconsistency of Carolina and more particularly their offense. The Panthers have scored more than thirty in all three wins but twice registered single figures in defeats. What isn’t in doubt is the Panthers defense, they have created fourteen turnovers and allowed the third fewest yards in the league, with the second worst offense in the league rolling into town excitement will be high for the defensive starters. Cam Newton is still an enigma at quarterback, big, athletic and with a huge arm, he threatens to one day become a superstar but his production, particularly passing wise doesn’t match his talent yet lack of receivers can be partially blamed beyond Steve Smith of course.
Tampa lost games by three, two and one in the first four weeks and could easily have been at 3-1, 2-2 or at least 1-3 but instead they lost them all and with confidence shattered, hope and their starting quarterback gone they are wondering where that first win will come from. Mike Glennon’s audition for the starting quarterback job hasn’t gone well so far, he averages just over 5 yards per pass attempt and hasn’t been able to consistently use receiver Vincent Jackson’s height and vertical ability, with Doug Martin gone Glennon is all alone against this very talented defense. The Buccaneers defense, so heavily invested in this past spring hasn’t been bad; they are thirteenth in yards allowed and have offset the eleven offensive turnovers of the team. Several times they setup the offense to go and win games and every time they have failed.
If the Mr Hyde version of the Panthers turn up we could have a game here but if Dr Jekyll is operating it could be miserable for the Bucs. The Panthers defense looks sure to create turnovers here and if Newton and co look after the ball they should see some good field positions and run up enough points to win.
ATPF Prediction– It may not be pretty but Carolina should get the job done, ten is the approx margin.
Cleveland Browns @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs defense led by the league’s best pass rushing duo Tamba Hali and Justin Houston and here supercharged by the ear drum bursting Arrowhead faithful will be licking their lips at the Browns and their struggling quarterback Brandon Weeden. At least the Browns defense can be relied upon and for all the Chiefs might their offense is not in the league of Denver for example.
Kansas’ offense has allowed their defense to flourish by staying balanced, not turning the ball over and having very few three and outs, running back Jamaal Charles would be an MVP candidate if Peyton Manning wasn’t having one of the all time great years by a quarterback. Defensively it’s hard to think of any team with as much wall to wall talent as the Chiefs who can boast seven players likely to make the pro bowl and at least ten more that have the talent to start in more than half of the league’s teams. Throw in a reliable kicker, pro-bowl punter and one of the league’s most dangerous returners and you have a heck of a football team.
The Browns strength is their defense. They have allowed the seventh fewest yards, only two places behind the Chiefs but Kansas have thirty five sacks and have forced nineteen turnovers, the Browns have just twenty sacks and nine turnovers, and this is a solid, disciplined defense rather than the highlight reel that their rivals boast. The Browns rank 26th in offensive yards and quarterback Brandon Weeden has just five touchdown passes to six interceptions. Willis McGahee is the leading rusher but the veteran lacks speed or quickness as illustrated by his paltry 2.9 yards per carry average.
Outside of Ohio nobody could envisage a Browns win here, their offense has two options it seems. Keep it safe and punt a lot or try and make things happen and risk the Chiefs feasting on turnovers, neither will cut it. Kansas know exactly what it takes to win such games and will just steadily pull away from their rivals.
ATPF Prediction– Chiefs defense leads them to a near twenty point victory.
New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
Who is the second best team in the NFC East? Believe it or not it still could be the 1-6 Giants and if they win here they will still have some faint hope of catching the Cowboys who aren’t likely to be much better than .500 by the end of year. The Eagles slipped a game back on the Cowboys last week when they were beaten comprehensively by their bitter rivals at home.
The Eagles defense actually played one of their best games a week ago, holding the Cowboys to just a field goal in the first half but their offense minus Michael Vick was predictable and struggled until Matt Barkley came in and threw three exclamation point fourth quarter interceptions including his first two career throws. With Nick Foles leaving that game with concussion Barkley is the only fully healthy quarterback on the Eagles roster but Vick looks likely to return, whether he is willing to risk trying to make plays with his legs considering his hamstring strain however has to be questioned. Running back Shady McCoy is the heartbeat of the offense but teams are keying in on that and his numbers haven’t been as big the last couple of games.
The Giants finally worked out that suicidal turnovers had to stop on Monday night and without them they comprehensively beat the Vikings. Perry Fewells’ defense awoke from their two year slumber also in Monday Night’s win, shutting down MVP Adrian Peterson and forcing turnovers from Josh Freeman, the latter isn’t so hard to do. Chip Kelly’s fast paced offense hasn’t exactly taken the league by storm as the read-option did a year ago but with Vick at the helm it is certainly more effective. An interesting side note is that the Giants love to rotate their pass rushers heavily but with the Eagles no huddle they won’t have that luxury and I wonder whether Philadelphia will run at them plenty to try and wear them down. With Hakeem Nicks, Reuben Randle and Victor Cruz, Eli Manning has three talented receivers to target against this leaky secondary and at last the Giants got some production from the running back position on Monday Night; journeyman Peyton Hillis’ physical running kept Minnesota honest.
Are the Giants back or did they just beat a bad team at home? Probably a bit of both, they are too talented to be 1-6 but too flawed to go on a winning run. Philadelphia at home need this to stay competitive, defeat would derail them and potentially start another late season collapse. If the Giants stay turnover free again they have a real chance but on the road in a raucous Lincoln Financial Field there nightmares could return and the Eagles high powered offense gives them the edge.
ATPF Prediction– Scoring aplenty here but the Eagles at home are too strong, win by seven.
San Francisco 49ers @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The 49ers reaction to a 1-2 start has been to win four straight, here they take the extremely long journey across America and the Atlantic to face a Jaguars team hoping Wembley can do for them what it did for Minnesota. Problems for Jacksonville on that score however, they don’t have Adrian Peterson, San Francisco have a huge following in the UK and are vastly superior to them in all phases and oh yes, the Jags are the league’s worst team.
San Francisco have been strong defensively ever since John Harbaugh and his staff added discipline to the talented but poorly coached group they inherited from Mike Singletary. The offensive explosion that Colin Kaepernick sparked when he came in at quarterback last year took them to the Superbowl and within touching distance of the Lombardi trophy. This year the offense was slow to get going but everything is starting to work again, Frank Gore and the rushing attack are back to their relentless best, Vernon Davis is hitting form and Michael Crabtree is close to returning.
Jacksonville are back to Chad Henne at quarterback, he is marginally better than Blaine Gabbert but it is a 100% certainty that the Jags will be drafting a quarterback in May, luckily for them it’s a talented class and they may have the pick of them. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew is another on borrowed time, he has been mentioned in trade rumours but it’s hard to see anyone picking up his salary on current post-injury form. Receiver Justin Blackmon, an enormous talent is the lone bright spot in North Florida, he has had off the field issues but the Jags have to do whatever it takes to keep him on the straight and narrow. The Jags are almost as poor defensively as they are offensively; they are giving up nearly 400 yards per game.
The Jags may sneak a win somewhere but this won’t be it, a Wembley beat-down looks likely with the 49ers ruthless defense, bludgeoning rushing attack and vastly superior quarterback all likely to win their battles.
ATPF Prediction– San Francisco win by twenty in a one sided affair.
Dallas Cowboys @ Detroit Lions
Two similar teams match up here with the 4-3 pair both looking to enhance their playoff claims. The similarities are everywhere, both have risk taking gun slingers at quarterback, both of which are having huge but largely unnoticed seasons and both have elite receivers. Both have leaky defenses yet both have pro bowl talent in certain areas.
Looking at the hosts first, they lost a wild one at home against the Bengals a week ago. What surprised me was not the fact that the Lions bagged 24 against an ultra talented defense but that they conceded 27 to a stuttering although improving offense. Throughout Matthew Stafford’s time as starting quarterback the Lions have always got in plenty of shootouts and still do. Stafford’s huge arm and receiver Calvin Johnson’s unmatched blend of speed, height and catching ability allow them to score against anyone but defensively, despite a terrific front four they are still too easy to attack with the secondary particularly frail.
The Cowboys were like imposters a week ago, a team in reverse if you like. The dynamic offense, woeful defense that we saw in a 51-48 loss against Denver was replaced with a stifling defense, slow to get going offense in a 17-3 win in Philadelphia. The Cowboys have been noticeably more conservative on the road, their three road games have seen 102 points totalled, at AT&T four games have seen 250 scored. With starting running back DeMarco Murray still injured and their opponents so free scoring however that strategy could be tested here, Tony Romo clearly doesn’t want to pull the trigger as much away from home but his hand may be forced. DeMarcus Ware looks likely to return after missing his first career game but a bigger issue for the Lions line could be Jason Hatcher who is having a pro bowl calibre year, the Cowboys linebackers are talented but will have their work cut out with Reggie Bush and as ever stopping Johnson is an unenviable task.
This should be an exciting match but the Lions have a few key factors in their favour. First of all the health of the Cowboys front four continues to be a worry although the band of journeymen and misfits are playing pretty well. Secondly can the Cowboys run the ball against such a talented pair of tackles with Joseph Randle at tailback? Then there’s the ever present questions playing Detroit, how do you stop Johnson or Bush, let alone both? It looks like a game where Romo will find himself having to do it all, in such games he has the knack for playing admirably only to falter when it matters most.
ATPF Prediction– Detroit win a high scorer by a touchdown.
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots
As we pointed out a week ago the Patriots remain beatable but the Dolphins are really struggling after a bright start and both teams know that a New England win virtually eliminates Miami from the AFC East race.
Injuries and offseason losses have decimated Tom Brady’s receiving corps but make no mistake he is not playing his best football right now. He has one touchdown in his last three games and that was on the final play of the game in week six. Comparing Brady’s performances with a band of backups to Matt Ryan in a similar situation in Atlanta and Ryan has vastly outperformed his more esteemed rival. Nevertheless New England have all-pro tight end Rob Gronkowski back, Danny Amendola is in contention and in Julian Edelman, Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson the Patriots have a trio of unheralded receivers who have done good jobs filling in. Running back Stevan Ridley had a highly productive 2012 and is back to his best after injury so the New England offense could find another gear soon. Their defense has carried the team at times but with key injuries, none more so than Vince Wilfork they struggled against a modest Jets team, their biggest problem was that they couldn’t get off the field.
Miami won their first three but have lost their last three and getting back to winning ways is imperative. Defeats to the Saints and Ravens were one thing but losing to Buffalo last Sunday was another. The Dolphins offense is struggling; Ryan Tannehill has started to turn the ball over and takes too many sacks and big money acquisition Mike Wallace disappears for whole quarters and halfs. Their defense hasn’t held a team to under twenty since week one and despite a great matchup couldn’t take advantage last week.
The Patriots at home are still tough to beat and Bill Belichick rarely loses back to back games. One play separates the Patriots from losing their last three so they are certainly not in top form but play a team who are struggling on both sides of the ball here and have a great chance to regain the winning thread.
ATPF Prediction– Patriots win by seven to ten here.
Buffalo Bills @ New Orleans Saints
The Saints return from their bye week no doubt still sore from the way they threw away their unbeaten record in New England. Nevertheless they are in complete control of the NFC South and still in a strong position to clinch a playoff bye. The Bills upset AFC East rivals Miami a week ago and keep getting upset wins just when you think they are on the verge of sinking. At 3-4 the playoffs look out of reach but a .500 season would give them something to build on.
The Saints incredible offensive machine is old news but this season’s transformation has been down to the defense under new co-ordinator Rob Ryan. Ryan’s unit have made big stands time and time again and twice looked to have finished the Patriots off in week six only for the offense to both times give them another chance. That deciding play has been hyper-analysed and the culprits castigated but if you give any team let alone the Patriots enough chances they will score eventually. The offense need to be better if they get a similar situation again but head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees are extremely diligent, mistakes in New Orleans are rarely repeated.
Buffalo’s starting rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel has missed the last two games but little known backup Thad Lewis has done a decent job in his place. Lewis took the talented Bengals to overtime in week six before guiding his team well in last week’s win; crucially he has just one pick in two games. The strength of the Bills offensively is their talented tandem of running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson but both are injury prone and have missed time already this season yet both have chances to play on Sunday, the Bills really need them. The Bills have found a star in rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso but he is one of few bright spots on a defense that has given up almost 2000 yards passing and 15 passing touchdowns already. The Bills corners are particularly vulnerable and in the Superdome against the Saints spread offense they could be ripe for Drew Brees picking.
This looks a terrible matchup for Buffalo; their weak secondary could be torn apart by the Saints and if they are forced to pass more than they like Rob Ryan’s hybrid blitz packages will get more and more exotic and could wreak havoc.
ATPF Prediction– Saints are near unbeatable in the Superdome, they win this by double figures.
New York Jets @ Cincinnati Bengals
The Jets at 4-3 are bang in contention for a playoff spot and Rex Ryan’s job may depend upon it. Cincinnati knew that just making the playoffs for the third straight year wasn’t enough this year and at 5-2 they are starting to look the powerhouse that they have threatened to be, the postseason will define their year.
The Bengals inexplicably lost to the Browns in week three but have beaten Green Bay, New England and a week ago Detroit on the road so they are very much legitimate contenders in the AFC. Their much vaunted defense lost top cornerback Leon Hall last week, a big loss but not one likely to hurt them too much against the run first offense of the Jets. The Bengals dominating front four will want to shut down the Jets running game and take their chances on rookie quarterback Geno Smith who has made some stunning plays but also some backbreaking ones already this year. Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton was the fall guy for the team’s two losses but he played maybe his best game this year a week ago and in A.J. Green, Giovani Bernard, Tyler Eifert, Jermaine Gresham and Mohammed Sanu he has plenty of playmakers around him. Dalton needs to sometimes just put the ball in the hands of his skill players rather than trying to be Aaron Rodgers.
The Jets best teams under Ryan have played great defense and the 2013 unit have given up the fourth fewest yards in the league, like the Bengals the strength of the unit is an outstanding defensive line, defensive ends Muhammed Wilkerson and rookie Sheldon Richardson are both having pro bowl years. The offense has little talent and is short on playmakers but has relied on a physical running game and their talented rookie passer to get their yards and the defense gives them plenty of good field positions.
Arguably the best two defensive lines face off in what promises to be a physical encounter. Both teams may find running the football difficult here so Cincinnati’s far more talented receivers can be the difference.
ATPF Prediction– Bengals win a low scorer by around a touchdown.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Oakland Raiders
The Steelers have responded admirably to heading into their bye at 0-4 with two wins, you judge a team by how they respond to adversity, hats off to Mike Tomlin and his staff. Oakland had their bye last week and like the Steelers sit at 2-4, in a division with two major contenders for the Superbowl and a third still not out of wildcard contention things are tough for the rebuilding Raiders but despite this they are playing better fundamental football and have a nice find in quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
The Steelers are short on weapons in the passing game but rookie running back Le’Veon Bell has sparked the offense into life since belatedly making his NFL debut after injury. The offensive line has bore the brunt of the criticism in Pittsburgh although the way Ben Roethlisberger keeps plays alive gives them a tough job, nevertheless Roethlisberger is capable of making plays that others simply can’t and he always gives Pittsburgh a shot. The Steelers defense was humiliated at Wembley but the unit have fought back and have a chance to strangle their opposition here if they can keep Terrelle Pryor in the pocket.
Oakland were supposed to be all about running back Darren McFadden but the oft injured star has barely had an impact at all this year, he is healthy again after the bye and his career in silver and black may depend on the next nine games. Terrelle Pryor’s emergence has offset McFadden’s struggles and the sophomore can only get better if the Raiders find legitimate weapons for him in the 2014 draft. The Raiders with nine new starters on defense rank 12th in yards allowed, a tremendous achievement especially considering they have already faced the likes of Denver, Kansas City and Indianapolis on the road. They should get plenty of pressure on Ben Roethlisberger especially with the passionate Black Hole roaring them on.
Traditionally the Steelers shutdown their opponent’s best weapon as first priority, their inability to stop Adrian Peterson at Wembley was surprising but Terrelle Pryor is not in that class as a playmaker and here he will likely be bulls-eyed by Dick LeBeau. If they stop Pryor it’s hard to see how the Raiders are moving the ball consistently and the Steelers with Bell and Roethlisberger can have enough success to put up two or three touchdowns and win again.
ATPF Prediction– Pittsburgh’s renaissance continues, they grind out a narrow victory.
Washington Redskins @ Denver Broncos
The Broncos winning run ended in an emotional game in Indianapolis, 6-1 is still a fine start but not enough to lead the AFC West. The Redskins are trying to stay in the NFC East race, it’s a poor division but if they slip to 2-5 here they could find themselves three wins off the pace against Dallas who already have a tiebreaker over them.
Turnovers have crept in to Peyton Manning’s game in the last three games and the rest of the offense has been fumbling the ball too much all season. Manning will no doubt quickly snap his run but the rest of the team really need to take more care when in possession. The offense of Denver has been exceptional but the defense has been poor and looks unlikely to ever bail the offense out if called upon. Collectively the unit needs to realise that to win a championship you have to be good on both sides of the ball, sitting back admiring your offense does not cut it in January.
Washington have been hamstrung by Robert Griffin’s lack of usual explosiveness so far but he is definitely showing signs that it is coming back and he can have success in the air also against the Broncos open gate of a secondary. Running back Alfred Morris while not repeating last year’s numbers has already shown he is not a one year wonder. The biggest problem for the Redskins has been their defense, they are near the bottom of most statistics and have allowed 7.8 yards per pass attempt, that bodes very badly given the quartet of potential 1000 yard receivers they will be faced with here.
Defense is a foreign language to these two teams, both quarterbacks will have fantasy owners drooling and both teams bruising runners will expect to find the end zone. Peyton Manning’s arsenal of weapons is vastly superior to Griffin’s and that combined with home field advantage gives the Broncos the advantage.
ATPF Prediction– Broncos win but their defense or lack of makes this close, in-fact the Redskins could get within a touchdown.
Atlanta Falcons @ Arizona Cardinals
The injury plagued Falcons just about kept their head above water with a win last week, Matt Ryan is having the most under-appreciated season in the NFL, he is playing flawlessly often with little or no support. Arizona on the contrary are struggling to overcome the turnovers which quarterback Carson Palmer continually commits.
Matt Ryan has lost Julio Jones for the year and has barely seen either Roddy White or Steven Jackson this season either. The Falcons are unfortunate in that all three are historically sound and rarely injured. Despite this Matt Ryan has made plays to Tony Gonzalez and Harry Douglas and has thirteen touchdowns to just three interceptions. The Falcons defense has had its share of injuries also but has still played short of expectations, they have allowed 366 yards per game and managed just five turnovers, lack of pass rush has been critical and John Abraham’s departure was a real head scratcher.
Arizona have lost to the two powerhouses of the brutal NFC West in the last two weeks but at 3-4 are still a capable team. They rank mid table defensively but have forced fifteen turnovers and in corner Patrick Peterson and linebacker Daryl Washington they have two all pro talents to build around. The Cardinals running game has been almost non-existent and pressurised to make plays Carson Palmer has thrown thirteen interceptions, he gets respite from a defense low on playmakers here but the Falcons will still get chances.
The Cardinals have overachieved thus far, contrary to their rivals here. The Cardinals can’t be written off because they found Seattle and San Francisco too good, they are a useful team at home and if Pat Peterson shuts down Harry Douglas and Washington shuts Gonzalez down its hard to see where the Falcons are throwing the football unless Roddy White returns. If Carson Palmer can look after the ball he can pick up yardage and guide the Cardinals to success.
ATPF Prediction– In a close game homefield advantage helps Arizona to the victory.
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings
The Packers have won three straight and are now at 4-2, half a game ahead of the 4-3 Bears and Lions and three ahead of their rivals here in the race for the NFC North. Green Bay’s hugely talented roster has had more than its fair share of injuries but the same could be said of them during their Superbowl year three season ago, the Packers have that next man up mentality where everyone is ready to step into the team when called upon. Minnesota hoped a win at Wembley could revive their season; instead they were slammed by Carolina who had only one previous win and beaten at the Meadowlands by the previous winless Giants last Monday.
The Vikings quarterback carousel continues, after an uninspiring debut Josh Freeman is likely out here with a head injury so in comes Matt Cassel who was at the helm for that lone victory, he may be the best of a bad bunch but Freeman for now is atop the depth chart. Running back Adrian Peterson has struggled since a big game at Wembley and he will continue to face nine man fronts until somebody proves they can hurt teams deep in the passing game. The Vikings defense, an aging roster expected to be enthused by two first round draft picks has been woeful, only one team has given up more than the 420 yards per game Minnesota has so far.
The Packers are all about Aaron Rodgers, the former league and Superbowl MVP is capable of beating teams on his own, his arm strength, accuracy and ability to throw on the move are unmatched and he is again having a terrific season. Rodgers receivers have been hit hard by injury, playmaker Randall Cobb, deep threat James Jones and now big tight end Jermichael Finley have all been suffering but Rodgers has rumbled on regardless. Green Bay’s defense has played better than it often did last year, the only issue there is lack of turnovers but the fact that Rodgers throws so few interceptions means that they still don’t lose many turnover battles.
This game may be in the Metrodome but there is little to fear for Mike McCarthy’s team. The Packers are starting to take command of the NFC North and should take another step here. With the Bears hit hard by injuries last week and Detroit having a tough game on Sunday they could be in a very strong position come Monday. Adrian Peterson should have some success but not nearly as much as Aaron Rodgers should and this could be very one sided if Green Bay score early.
ATPF Prediction– Packers are far too good, win by two scores.
Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams
The Seahawks have just one blemish on their record and remain the favourites for the NFC, they aren’t the irresistible force at home that they are at CenturyLink Field but are still more than a match for most and when Percy Harvin returns he may take them to the next level offensively. St. Louis’ disappointing season went to new levels on Sunday when starting quarterback Sam Bradford tore his anterior cruciate ligaments, ending his season, he may not even make the start of next season such is the severity of the injury.
The Rams at 3-4 would be behind the eight ball with Bradford, with either Kellen Clemens or Brady Quinn they are completely snookered with no escape. It’s hard to say what they will want to achieve with the remainder of their season but certainly beating their divisional rivals would cheer everyone up. No jobs or at least many high up in St. Louis look in danger but some seats could be warm next year.
The Seahawks are marching on relentlessly and few teams can boast their abilities on both sides of the ball. They are tenth overall offensively and second in rushing, halfback Marshawn ‘beast mode’ Lynch is a relentless battering ram and quarterback Russell Wilson is composed and accurate from the pocket and a threat on the perimeter to break big runs of his own, the addition of multi talented playmaker Percy Harvin anytime now could take them even further. The Seahawks defense are strong contenders for the title league’s best although they currently rank second in yards allowed. Having one shutdown corner is a major asset, having two is just unfair. Where the Rams get yards against this unit is anyone’s guess, special teams may be their best chance.
The Seahawks haven’t routed teams on the road as they have at home but this could be different, they are vastly superior on both sides of the ball to their opponents and their ruthless defense may fancy a feasting frenzy at the Rams expense.
ATPF Prediction– Rams don’t score a touchdown in a heavy twenty plus point defeat.