Seahawks 27, Falcons 21. Season openers are always tricky to read, and even trickier this year due to no preseason games and a shortened training camp. On paper, the Seahawks are the better team, with what should be an improved defense from a year ago, and an offense that with everyone healthy again should again be one of the best in the league. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones will surely do some damage but the Seahawks should prevail — and maybe even without needing last-minute heroics from Russell Wilson.
Seahawks 30, Falcons 27. If there’s an offense built to exploit the Seahawks’ defensive front, it’s the Falcons. Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley form one of the league’s best wide-receiver tandems, making this an intriguing matchup for the Seahawks’ new-look secondary. Expect new safety Jamal Adams to make his mark early in his Seahawks debut, and count on more fourth-quarter heroics from Russell Wilson to put the Seahawks over the top.
Seahawks 30, Falcons 20. When these two teams met last year in Week 8, Seattle jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead — and hung on to beat the Falcons by a touchdown, 27-20. The Seahawks always seem to find a way to make it close — whether they’re trailing or leading big. Atlanta is filled with playmakers on offense, which will be an immediate test for Seattle’s defense, especially the defensive front. I see the Seahawks having enough weapons on both sides of the ball to make this a little more comfortable than their customary one-possession victory. Jamal Adams’ impact will immediately be felt, and I suspect Russell Wilson will be cooking from the start.
Seahawks 30, Falcons 23. Adam Jude favored the home team as he rode the Seahawks to The Seattle Times Prediction title last year. But he’s right about picking them this week. Defensive-line holes notwithstanding, Seattle is a more complete team with the (slightly) superior quarterback in Russell Wilson. Look for a key turnover and late, Wilson-led drive to be the difference in the game, as the Seahawks start the year in an auspicious fashion.