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NFL Picks: Patriots vs. Seahawks

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The Week 6 NFL odds are currently listing the Patriots at -3, a number that has been bet down from its opening offering of 4. A mid-range total is also on offer, as the number currently sits at 44. 

Let’s breakdown this matchup and decide where the best value can be found. Should we look to the total or the spread, and which side do we want to be on with our NFL picks?

New England Patriots –

Tom BradyNew Englandaddressed some of their defensive issues in the offseason by drafting impactplayers Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower while implementing a more balancedattack on the other side of the ball which has produced a more dynamic passrush and finally rendered a balanced offensive attack that many believe willmake them more dangerous down the stretch.

The Patriotscan now call upon Stevan Ridley to lead the ground offensive who has taken theleading role from the departed BenJarvus Green-Ellis to new heights. WhileGreen-Ellis was a solid runner who virtually never let go of the football,Ridley is an explosive slasher who can blast through lines as he did last weekwhen he amassed 151 yards on the ground and one touchdown in a 31-21- homevictory over the Broncos. Brady was effective, solid but thanks to Ridleydidn’t need to be spectacular. The Patriots can now offer a different look andare not as predictable as in years past when the only option on 3rddown was a pass over the middle to Welker.

Thedefensive front is much improved over the 2011 edition but the secondary isstill beset with issues. Their run defense ranks 8th in the lead andis anchored by All-Pro Vince Wilfork with Chandler Jones providing an edge passrush that has been lacking in years past. That could be a determining factor inhow this game plays out as Seattle likes to pound the ball as opposed to throwwhich should benefit the Pats even against one of the NFL’s leading rushers inMarshawn Lynch.

Seattle Seahawks –

Marshawn LynchThe Seahawksrely on their defense as much if not more so than the Patriots count on theiroffense. Seattle is currently 5th against the pass and 3rdagainst the run. They are surrendering just 14 points per contest which ranksthem 2nd in the entire league. They have won three of their lastfour (one of which the controversial interception against Green Bay) and arecoming home after a 16-12 grinder against Carolina.

Rookie 1strounder Bruce Irvin has been immense off the edge but consider he’s coming offthe bench to spell veterans Chris Clemons and Red Bryant on certain defensivepackages which illustrates they are not only talented but deep as well. Thisdefensive crew has managed to shutdown Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton.They appear to be getting better every week and that can only spell trouble forany offense regardless how prolific, including the New England Patriots.

Offensivelythere isn’t much to say. Rookie Russell Wilson seems to have lost his preseasonmojo which won him the starting job over an ailing Matt Flynn. The Seattleoffensive line is rugged and creates space for talented runner Marshawn Lynchto work his magic but the passing game has been anemic, ranked 31stin the NFL. At 5’11” Wilson has to take deep drops to see the field andhit his targets but dropping back often gives speedy edge rushers time to trackhim down in the backfield. He has a mediocre group of receivers with SidneyRice being his chief target.


The Pick:

Most punditsare playing up the Patriots offense versus the Seattle defense. Which isbetter? But I would compare the Seattle offense versus the Patriots defense. Onething the Pats do well defensively is stop the run. And that is exactly whatthe Seahawks rely on to move the chains. Marshawn Lynch will be the man thatBelichick will game plan around and Vince Wilfork is an immovable object in themiddle in case Lynch decides to trespass in his territory. If the Seahawksdecide to run end-arounds, the Patriots now have speed on the edge with rookiesJones and Hightower. Where the Patriots are weak is in the secondary but theSeahawks may not get enough opportunities to exploit that glaring weakness.

The Seahawkslost a few weeks ago to Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams on the road. Grantedthis will be on Seattle’s home turf which is a tough place to play for any visitingteam but I believe Brady and Belichick have already figured out what they needto do and now have the luxury of a stable of quality backs to change up thepace and run the ball to set up the pass.

NFL Picks: Patriots -4 is the play.