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Atlanta @ Seattle: Close-fought game likely as playoff hopefuls do battle

Russell Wilson is looking for another Seattle win
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Mike Carlson thinks we're in for a tight MNF match-up when the Falcons take on the Seahawks...

"The line is tight here: moneyline equal, Seattle slightly better -1 at 20/21 than Atlanta +1 at 20/23. I don't believe enough in either time. I'm more keen on taking the under 46 at 10/11: the only big scoring game in Seattle was the one against Houston with DeShaun Watson and Russell Wilson duelling it out, and this one seems more like a 24-21 kind of finish."

In the rush to get from here to Thanksgiving, it might be easy to overlook Monday Night Football's best game in ages, with the Atlanta Falcons visiting Seattle Seahawks. But the teams won't. A win for Seattle would put them even with the Rams atop the NFC West at 7-3, while Atlanta, at 6-4, have Carolina (7-3) and New Orleans (8-2) ahead of them in the South.

Last season Seattle won at home 26-24 in the regular season, but lost in Atlanta in the Divisional Round playoff game, 36-20. Atlanta's coach, Dan Quinn, was defensive coordinator in Seattle, so we expect he should know how his former team's defense works, but conversely, the Seahawks ought to know what Atlanta's is about.

The biggest problem for Atlanta is likely to be the usual 12th man factor of crowd noise; the biggest problem for Seattle is that Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor are definitely out, and Earl Thomas is probably a game-time decision with his hamstring. That's half the Legion of Boom out, but seriously Thomas is the one who, if he's gone, has the biggest effect and is the hardest to replace. Offensive tackle Duane Brown, brought into Houston to help the Seahawks' porous O line, is 'questionable with an ankle' as they say, but when he's been in the Seattle lineup it hasn't made much difference.

Straight up I picked Seattle, assuming Thomas, who is the key to their D, would be playing. Plus the Falcons will be without running back Devonta Freeman, though Julio Jones, listed as 'limited' with an ankle of his own, would be highly unlikely not to play. His loss would hurt more than Freeman, as the Falcons haven't been able to use their runners as efficiently in play-action passing as they did last year.

The line is tight here: moneyline equal, Seattle slightly better -1 at 20/21 than Atlanta +1 at 20/23. I don't believe enough in either time. I'm more keen on taking the under 46 at 10/11: the only big scoring game in Seattle was the one against Houston with DeShaun Watson and Russell Wilson duelling it out, and this one seems more like a 24-21 kind of finish.

I'd dive into the specials again: If you like the Seahawks, getting them to win by 1-5 at 4/1 seems a good idea. Julio to score a TD at 7/5 is justifiably short-odds, but Jimmy Graham at 7/4, Doug Baldwin at 17/10 and Thomas Rawls at 23/10 might be worth a shot. Of course I'm looking at a low-scoring game, so be careful.

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