Arizona Cardinals (6-2) at Seattle Seahawks (4-4)
Despite having 2 losses, the Cardinals rank 1st in rate of moving the chains differential. They’ve won the rate of moving the chains differential battle in all 8 games. In their 2 losses, they won the first down battle by a combined 20 first downs and only lost because they had a -3 turnover margin in both games. Turnover margins are incredibly inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. On average, teams that have a -3 turnover margin in a game have a +0.1 turnover margin the following game. That’s why I don’t really like to use turnover margin as evidence to support an evaluation of a team. The Cardinals, despite a couple losses, have been really dominant through their first 8 games, putting up a +110 point differential, despite just a +3 turnover margin on the season.
That being said, look at who the Cardinals have been dominating: New Orleans (12th in rate of moving the chains differential), Chicago (20th), San Francisco (32nd), St. Louis (26th), Detroit (31st), Pittsburgh (18th), Baltimore (27th), and Cleveland (28th). The Seahawks are easily the toughest opponent they’ve had to date, as they rank 7th, despite a much tougher schedule that has included games against Carolina (5th), Cincinnati (3rd), and Green Bay (9th). The Seahawks are very weak on the offensive line, which has really hurt their offense, but the defense is still really good and they’ve held up well despite a tough schedule, playing close games with all 3 of those aforementioned teams.
They might not be as good as they’ve been in the past 2 years, when they won the NFC both times, but they’re still a force to be reckoned with, especially at home, where they are 21-11 ATS under Russell Wilson. They’re just 6-6 ATS in their last 12 home games, so they’re not an auto-bet at home anymore, but that’s because the odds makers have started expensively pricing the Seahawks’ home dominance into the line, not because they’ve stopped being good at home. This line is an example of that, as they’re favored by a field goal at home over a superior Arizona team. I can’t take the Seahawks this week as field goal favorites, because Arizona has been so dominant, even against a weak schedule, but I’m not confident in the Cardinals either.
Arizona Cardinals 17 Seattle Seahawks 16 Upset Pick +130
Pick against the spread: Arizona +3