Denver Broncos vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Odds & Picks

September 20, 8:20 PM EDT

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
NE +4/SEA -4

The New England Patriots come to CenturyLink to take on the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Night Football. For non-conference teams, the history runs deep between these two, stemming from that Super Bowl the Pats won in 2015, though with the player-turnover, precious few remain from both sidelines who were even in that game. One who remains is Seattle QB Russell Wilson, who was impressive in his week one dissection of the Atlanta defense in a 38-25 road win. They now get their home-opener against a new-look Patriots team, fresh off 21-11 week one win over Miami, with new quarterback Cam Newton in tow. Who can cover this tricky number at CenturyLink?

Seattle Offense for Real?

Naturally, against an incoming Patriots' squad, the Seahawks' offense should be tested to a greater degree than they were in Atlanta. It seems with each passing season, the tether on Russell Wilson becomes longer, which seems to have been to the overall benefit of this offense. We saw that get ramped up another notch in week one, with Wilson putting together an impressive stat line of 31-35 for 322 yards and four touchdowns. With Wilson, Chris Carson, and now Carlos Hyde, they can throw a lot of different run looks on a defense. Aerially is where Wilson is really starting to shine, and Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf are shaping into a formidable 1-2 punch. With pass-catching backs, a new tight end in Greg Olsen, and other nice complementary pieces, this group can do damage, and the philosophy now seems best-suited to bring that to fruition.

Still, a lot of teams this year will have productive offensive days in Atlanta, New England is a little bit different. Their offense might have a new look, but that just means Belichick will be putting more emphasis on defense, where he has the tools to work. In allowing 11 points to the Dolphins, they shut them down both aerially and on the ground. Just as Seattle's offense was made to look good last week, the same could be said of the New England defense going against a dysfunctional Miami offense. Still, it's a good enough unit that you really can't write off the Patriots this season.

What to Expect from the Patriots on Offense

On one hand, Cam Newton looked comfortable behind center in week one, got the team a win, and covered the spread, while giving the Pats something they haven't seen in ages in a QB that can really use his legs as a weapon. He was also 15-for-19, and he took care of the ball. I'm not sure 155 yards through the air against that secondary is a good sign, nor is the 21-point total. Scoring two touchdowns on his feet is nice, but he's going to have to bring out more from the guys around him. A rebirth for Newton in Carolina is very plausible, but not being the force of nature he was five years ago, he won't be able to do it all by himself.

Newton inherits an offensive line that was better than the one he left in Carolina, which will help. Veteran receiver Julian Edelman is also still a valuable asset. But whereas Brady was able to get the most out of everyone, it's uncertain what Newton will be able to extract from what is really a group without stars. Guys like Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, N'Keal Harry, James White, and others are nice pieces to have, but it seemed like some guys disappeared from this offense on Sunday.

Can New England Exploit the Seattle "D?"

For what it's worth, which might not be a lot, Cam Newton usually played Seattle pretty well when he was with the Panthers. A former team strength, the Seahawks defense is not the dependable unit of years past. Jamal Adams was pretty active in his first game with the team, but a lot of issues persist. When a team like Atlanta is playing from behind with the aerial talent they still have, maybe one shouldn't read too much into the 434 aerial yards Matt Ryan put up on Sunday. Still, if Seattle somehow doesn't take hold this season, this is the side of the ball that will most likely be responsible.

Patriots at New England Prediction Week 2

Seattle's defense might be porous, but I'm not sure New England can take full advantage, at least not aerially. I see a coming down to earth for the Patriots this week in this road-spot, and it's worth mentioning they are the most depleted team in terms of coronavirus-related opt-outs, with their O-line and the "D" most hit. The Patriots could be very competitive in what should still be a hard-fought game, but I see the far greater spark on the Seattle offense playing the dominant role in this game. I'm taking Seattle.</p>
Free Pick: 
Take the Seahawks -4
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