2015 Week 7 Thursday Night ATS Pick
** As always, Thursday Night picks will be included as one of my five weekly picks. A full review of the previous week will be included when I pick the remaining four games this week**
Seattle -6 (120) @ San Francisco
Seattle, four forth quarter defensive collapses and four losses through six weeks of play. There are no historical comparisons for a streak like that. So, what does it mean? How could it happen? Maybe teams don't throw against Seattle until they have to late in games, only to find out that Seattle's pass defense is below average. Maybe Seattle's inability to play control offense with a rushing attack puts undo pressure on the defense, which folds from fatigue late in the game. Maybe Seattle has just lost that championship edge and can't close out games anymore. All these theories are effectively speculation, and no one really knows why Seattle can't hold a fourth quarter lead.
The only thing we know empirically, is that Seattle has built some impressively large fourth quarter leads against quality opponents. Going in to the season, general consensus was that Seattle would be a Super Bowl contender. Logic leads me to believe that Seattle's ability to build large leads is more indicative of who they are as a football team than their inability to hold them.
There are few areas where San Francisco could be competitive in this game. Seattle is transitioning to a more multiple defense and is experiencing growing pains in the secondary. San Francisco's Torrey Smith will likely see more than one blown coverage. There is also a possibility that San Francisco's surprisingly solid run defense could make Seattle more one dimensional than it already is.
All this being said, I think the most interesting storyline of this game is that Seattle is adding layers of complexity to its defense while San Francisco is pulling back layers of complexity from its offense. In the short run, I'd expect Seattle to experience growing pains (they have), while San Francisco experiences surprising offensive success (they have). However, in the long-run, I'd expect Seattle to become more dangerous while San Francisco becomes more predictable. These teams will undoubtedly trend in opposite directions over the season, and I think that divergence starts tonight.