Sunday Night Football is going to be a good one between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. There will be no fans allowed, so the 12th Man will be unavailable for the Seahawks on Sunday night. It’s going to feel awfully weird without fans in Seattle, especially a night game where CenturyLink Field is always rocking.
The Patriots are not going to complain about that. It’s a rare trip to Seattle for the Patriots, and they’re lucky to avoid the 12th Man on Sunday Night Football. If there’s any season where going to Seattle won’t be so bad, it’s the pandemic year in 2020.
Having said that, playing the Seahawks isn’t going to be a simple assignment for any team this season. No matter if there’s fans at CenturyLink Field, or it’s a road game for the Seahawks, Russell Wilson and company are going to provide a tough matchup. Bill Belichick has a lot of respect for Wilson, and he reinforced that point this week.
He threw for 4 touchdowns and no interceptions on 31 for 35 passing against the Falcons in Week 1. The Pats’ defense will be a bigger test, but that was impressive on the road. Cam Newton and the Patriots opened with a 21-11 win over the Miami Dolphins at Gillette last week. We were on the Patriots in that one, which saw Ryan Fitzpatrick throw a late pick to preserve the cover.
It might be only the Dolphins, but I know there were a lot of people saying the Dolphins could upset the Pats in that spot. It didn’t happen and we have a battle between two 1-0 teams on Sunday Night Football. Head below for our free New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks props picks for NFL Week 2.
Is Russell Wilson the best player in the NFL?
Bill Belichick thinks he might be 👀 pic.twitter.com/ZIM8FYQgqf
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 17, 2020
Cam Newton Rushing Yards
The New England offense will be based around newcomer Cam Newton. This is a totally different offense from what we’ve seen in the Tom Brady era. There is nothing that teams can go back and look at. The Seahawks will at least have film from the Dolphins’ game to go over, but they won’t be looking at the full playbook. Belichick gave Newton the keys to the offense right out of the gate, and put the ball in hands often.
Newton passed for 155 yards on 15 for 19 passing, with his legs being his greatest asset. He gained 75 yards and 2 scores on 15 carries. There were a lot of designed runs for Newton last Sunday. It wasn’t really Newton scrambling around when things broke down in the pocket. Most of his yards were accumulated because of read options and run plays set up by Josh McDaniels for Cam.
It’s unlikely that a defense like the Seahawks will give Newton as much freedom to run around. However, McDaniels will continue to feed him on the ground with the football. It’s hard to see him running for 75 more yards on Sunday night, but I could certainly see Newton getting beyond the 40-yard mark. A couple of chunk runs and some small yardage here and there should be enough to get him there. I’d consider a look at the OVER 37.5 rushing yards for Cam Newton.
Julian Edelman Receptions
Julian Edelman is listed as questionable on the injury report, but is expected to play on Sunday night in Seattle. N’Keal Harry is also listed as questionable. Belichick had Tom Brady listed as questionable for almost every game throughout his career because of a minor ailment. Doubtful feels more like questionable on a Patriots’ injury report, and questionable is probable. If he doesn’t play, though, then this bet would be refunded.
With the Patriots’ depth chart weak at wide receiver, Edelman is the undisputed No. 1 target for Cam in the offense. McDaniels didn’t open up the full playbook last week and didn’t have Edelman on the field a whole lot. Edelman was on the field for only 58 percent of snaps in Week 1. That said, Edelman still hauled in 5 receptions for 57 yards. He was the leading receiver on the Patriots’ offense.
Part of holding Edelman off the field was probably partly because of the opponent. I don’t think Belichick and company believed they needed to pull all of the tricks out of the bag and reveal too much against the Dolphins. Going forward, we should see more of Edelman on the field against a more talented defense.
That should be the case on Sunday night in Seattle. Look for Edeleman to be the primary target for Cam. He’s a receiver he trusts in and feels comfortable just one game in. Even in a smaller role in Week 1, Edelman still went OVER 4.5 receptions. With the Pats likely having to open the offense up a bit more in Week 2, look for Edelman to receive more targets tonight.
Russell Wilson Pass Completions
Russell Wilson put on a nice show to open the season in Atlanta against the Falcons. He completed 31 passes on 35 attempts for 322 yards and 4 touchdowns. Wilson ran a blemish free game under center and is a way too early MVP candidate with that performance. He also rushed for 29 yards on the ground.
Wilson benefits from the team drafting D.K. Metcalf last season. I don’t know how he slipped to the No. 64 overall pick, but the Seahawks got a steal. With Metcalf and Tyler Lockett on the field at the same time, they have a legitimate passing game in Seattle.
Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense have a tougher challenge on their hands in Week 1. The Patriots aren’t going to allow receivers to run wild in their secondary. However, expect the ball to be in Wilson’s hands plenty on Sunday night. Wilson completed more than 20 passes in nine games last season.
Note that Wilson never went over 30 completions in 2019. Pete Carroll allowed Wilson to unload more than usual versus the Falcons. The Patriots’ defense is stout against the run, and should be able to boggle the Seahawks up at the line. The development of Chase Winovich adds a nice layer to this defense.
As hot as Wilson was last week, expect him to get plenty of opportunities in the passing game again. He’s not connecting for 30+ completions again, but 23 for 32 or 24 for 34 looks pretty realistic. With that in mind, OVER 20.5 completions against the Patriots looks like a fine prop bet.