Seattle Seahawks (2-1) at Arizona Cardinals (0-2-1)
The Seahawks picked up their first loss of the season last week at home against the Teddy Bridgewater led Saints, but they actually had a better first down rate differential last week than they had in either of their two wins. They won their first two games of the season by a combined 3 points and had an even first down rate differential through 2 games. Last week, they lost by 6 points despite a +3.47% first down rate differential because they allowed a couple of return touchdowns, which swung the game on two snaps.
Relatively healthy compared to the rest of the league, with defensive end Ezekiel Ansah back in the lineup after missing the first two games of the season, the Seahawks are an above average team that is well positioned in the NFC if they can remain healthy. The Cardinals, meanwhile, have yet to win their first game and rank just 29th in first down rate differential through 2 games. However, I actually like the Cardinals’ chances of catching the Seahawks off guard a little bit this week, because the Seahawks are in a terrible spot.
Not only do the Seahawks have to play the Rams next week, they have to do so in 4 days on Thursday Night Football. Favorites are 56-77 ATS since 2012 before Thursday Night Football and road favorites are just 24-50 ATS since 2012 before being home underdogs, which the Seahawks likely will be (+2.5 on the early line). This is an obvious look ahead spot for the Seahawks, so even though we’re not getting any real line value (I have this line calculated at Seattle -5), the Cardinals are worth a small bet this week. They likely won’t be getting the Seahawks’ best effort and they will be desperate to get their first win against a divisional rival. They’re a competent enough team to keep this close and possibly pull the upset.
Seattle Seahawks 30 Arizona Cardinals 27
Pick against the spread: Arizona +5.5