It’s a new week, a new game, and a new opportunity. Still, the stench lingering from last Sunday’s game well…stinks. Russell Wilson had his first bad game of 2019, completing less than 50% of his passes and throwing his first interception en route to a 30-16 loss at the hands of the visiting Baltimore Ravens. The timing was poor, as the loss gave more breathing room to the first place 6-0 San Francisco 49ers, and gave hope to the 4-3 Los Angeles Rams. Even the 3-3-1 Arizona Cardinals are shockingly in the hunt now.
How We Got Here
Known for their preference for noisy and rain soaked conditions under dark and gloomy skies, the Seahawks had the weather gage in open water against their opponents, and held dynamic Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson to just nine completions for 143 yards on 20 attempts. Their undoing was their run defense, that focused so well on Raven’s RB Mark Ingram (46 yards on 12 attempts), they unintentionally opened the lanes for Jackson, who burned them for 116 yards and a touchdown. Even Jackson’s solid day on the ground could have been absorbed if not for two turnovers by Seattle that were returned for touchdowns. Wilson’s interception and a rare showing of bad hands by DK Metcalf that resulted in a fumble were the difference in this game in which neither team truly shined. The game was tied 13-all at halftime, and as the commentary crew mentioned during the broadcast – it’s tough to win when the opposing defense outscores your offense.
The game really turned for good when Jason Myers missed a field goal in the third quarter with a chance to put Seattle in the lead 16-13, and on the ensuing drive the Ravens called time out with the field goal unit lining up, and went for it on 4th down, turning back the play books and the clocks to a formation not forgotten but long since used, and Jackson ran it in to put the Ravens ahead for good. Metcalf’s fumble-six put the game out of reach with the Seahawks already down two scores, and a goofy decision to go for a field goal when down 17 inside of two minutes all but erased Seattle’s chances at a comeback.
Wilson finished the game 20 of 41 for 241 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and rarely looked comfortable in the pocket without left tackle Duane Brown, as the Ravens pass rush just kept coming and coming. Seattle RB Chris Carson didn’t give Wilson much help, as he rushed for just 65 yards on 21 carries, and star receiver Tyler Lockett was held to five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. It was a forgettable performance by Seattle’s stars and one they will try to learn from and move on.
This week, the Seahawks get a needed “get-right” game, as they travel to face the one-win Atlanta Falcons this Sunday morning. There might be some concern for Seattle, as this is their second “get-right” game they have needed in the first half of the season. With the midway point just around the corner, Seattle needs to get serious and decide what their identity is and if they’re going to compete for a playoff spot this year.
The Falcons are coming off a 37-10 loss at home to the Rams last week, dropping them to 1-6 on the season, as they spiral on a five game losing streak. Starting QB Matt Ryan injured his ankle late in the game and was replaced by 38 year old journeyman QB Matt Schaub, who performed well in mop-up duty. Schaub is preparing to start this Sunday’s contest in the event Ryan can’t suit up, which is more good news for Seattle, since their defense could use a tune up from a QB who hasn’t started a game since week 12 of 2015. And yet a similar set of circumstances didn’t stop a certain NFC South team from beating the Seahawks back in week 3, so don’t assume an out of practice veteran coming off fill in duty in a major loss to the Rams makes for a good matchup automatically.
The good news for Seattle’s skill position players is that the Falcons lack a legitimate threat on defense to stop much of anything. Their offense is a shell of its 2016 Super Bowl talent level, and the defense is arguably the worst head coach Dan Quinn has overseen in his time in Atlanta. Quinn, known for running Seattle’s dominating Super Bowl defenses before being hired for the top job with the Falcons, will have his work cut out for him this week and the rest of the season as the team decides whether to write the year off or try to build for the future.
If Wilson, Carson, and Lockett can get rolling early against the Falcons, it could get ugly quick, especially if Ryan is out as Schaub is not at the point in his career where he can win a shootout. Even if Ryan plays, this is a team headed nowhere, and only Seattle being generous will keep them in it.
What’s At Stake
If they can beat Atlanta, and even the Falcons would agree there’s not much getting between the Seahawks and a win, Seattle can notch another conference win and keep their heads above .500 for at least another week. Seattle will also remain entrenched in the playoff hunt, and in the running for the NFC West crown. After the game, Seattle heads back home to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Falcons head into their bye week before visiting New Orleans. The Falcons are the third straight opponent Seattle has faced before sending them on their bye week, and they’re 1-1 on that score. The Bucs were on bye last week so this is the Seahawks’ chance to post a winning record on a trend that doesn’t actually matter.
If the Falcons lose, they can essentially wave goodbye to any chance they have at a winning record, and for that matter any postseason hopes, assuming they are still holding on to any. Even if they win out from here, they will have lost enough head to head tiebreakers that a 10-6 record might not be enough in such a competitive NFC. So if they lose and fall to 1-7, that’s that for their 2019 season and they should just start playing their young guys to see what they have as far as depth.
Fantasy Start/Sit Advice:
Seahawks – pretty much every skill position player on Seattle should be in your lineup, except for maybe TE Luke Willson, who doesn’t get involved much. The Seahawks defense should have a good day against the Falcons, and should collect a few sacks and some turnovers. DK Metcalf doesn’t get a lot of catches but he could be good for a few big plays which could be a sneaky flex play.
QB Russell Wilson – start
RB Chris Carson – start
RB Rashaad Penny – sit
WR Tyler Lockett – start
TE Luke Willson – sit
WR – D.K. Metcalf – Flex
Seattle Defense – start
Falcons – Be careful who you start from Atlanta, as they don’t have much going for them. In PPR (point per reception) leagues, make sure to start the receivers and TE Austin Hooper, as whoever starts at QB will be forced to dump the ball off a lot. On that note, RB Freeman is a smart move at the Flex for his work in the passing game, but the game script might force the Falcons to abandon the run game early which could limit his opportunities to get you points.
QB Matt Ryan – sit
QB Matt Schaub – sit
RB Devonta Freeman – Flex
WR Julio Jones – start
WR Calvin Ridley – sit
TE Austin Hooper – start
Atlanta Defense – sit
You can catch the game this Sunday at 10am on FOX