Sunday Night NFL Picks -- Seahawks-Patriots: Will it Be a Wilson-Newton Duel..... on the Ground?

  • In Charles Jay
  • Sun, Sep 20th, 2020 10:11:14 am
  • By Charles Jay - Exclusive to OSGA

Russell Wilson will try to expand upon his terrific performance last week as he leads the Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots on Sunday night.

The Seattle Seahawks changed course a bit last week in an impressive win over the Atlanta Falcons. But will it be the way they continue to play? That is an interesting question for BetOnline customers to ponder.

A question just as interesting is where the New England Patriots will wind up with Cam Newton at quarterback. He seemed to pass the first test last week and added a different dimension to the Pats' offense.

These teams will get together on Sunday night (8:20 PM ET) at CenturyLink Field in Seattle in the NBC-televised game of the week.

Patriots Seahawks betting previewNewton is certainly a different kind of "personality" to be involved in the New England - perhaps a little too demonstrative for Bill Belichick's taste. But he does bring an energy level that is different than that of Tom Brady. Because of injury problems the last couple of seasons, the former NFL MVP had to tone things down on throwing long and running with abandon. maybe the jury is still out to an extent, but Newton did run for 75 yards and two touchdowns against Miami in the opener.

Designed runs were something opposing defensive coordinators didn't have to worry about with Brady. But that has changed. And offensive play-caller Josh McDaniels, who truly likes to control games on the ground, might find his job to be much easier. The Pats led all NFL teams in run frequency rate in the first week of play.

Here are the Sunday night NFL odds that have been posted at BetOnline, which have the Seahawks favored at home:

Seattle Seahawks        -4 (-102)
New England Patriots +4 (-118)

Over 44.5 points (-113)
Under 44.5 points (-107)

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Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is one of those guys who would ideally like to build his offense around the running game. And if possible, he doesn't want to have to use Russell Wilson as its featured attraction. Last season the 'Hawks were sixth in the NFL in Run Play Percentage at 45.7%. Chris Carson was the featured back, and handled the burden well, with 1230 yards. Wilson, who had been perhaps the most dangerous threat to run among quarterbacks, had just 342 yards.

Patriots Seahawks free pickBut Carson suffered a hip injury, and the team knew they could not rush him back into the workhorse role. They did acquire Carlos Hyde, but that didn't seem enough to keep Seattle running. Wilson took to the air, and was red-hot, hitting 31 of 35 passes in the 38-25 win. When all was said and done, the Seahawks ran the ball just 34.5% of the time, and that is 26th in the NFL.

There are a couple of ways to look at this. On the one hand, the Seahawks are getting away from the way they really want to play, and maybe that catches up to them. On the other hand, Wilson is probably the best part of the Seattle offense, so why not just hitch your wagon to him and ride?

It could be that the Seahawks' run game just isn't ready for prime time yet. But we have a feeling the Pats can take care of business in the secondary if Wilson and Carroll want to get too one-dimensional. This is not a Patriots team you want to go to sleep on, not yet anyway. Throughout Belichick's tenure, he has had a way of crafting things to compensate for the absence of Brady. And this team has not collapsed when he's been out. Sure, maybe it will take a while for Newton to make a real connection with his receivers. But Cam can do some things to make up for it in the meantime.

Let's grab the points with a team that is not so often the underdog, and 12 of their last 15 when they are. PATS

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