Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks: 2017 Week 17 NFL Pick

Arizona Cardinals (7-8) at Seattle Seahawks (9-6)

The Cardinals’ season was derailed by injuries, particularly on offense, where they have lost quarterback Carson Palmer, running back David Johnson, and their three best week 1 starting offensive linemen (left tackle DJ Humphries, left guard Mike Iupati, and right tackle Jared Veldheer) for the season. I’ve bet against the Cardinals frequently since they have had all these injuries, but I won’t be doing that this week because I’ve been underrating their defense.

Their defense has remained strong throughout the season, as they rank 7th in first rate allowed at 31.90%, despite losing outside linebacker Markus Golden and safety Tyvon Branch for the season earlier this year. Young players like Budda Baker, Olsen Pierre, and Kareem Martin have stepped up in big ways, though the Cardinals will be without talented safety Antoine Bethea in this one. I’m still taking the Seahawks as 9-point home favorites this week because of the Cardinals’ abysmal offense with Drew Stanton under center, but I only have this line calculated at Seattle -9.5, so we aren’t getting any line value with them.

Seattle Seahawks 20 Arizona Cardinals 10

Pick against the spread: Seattle -9

Confidence: None

Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys: 2017 Week 16 NFL Pick

Seattle Seahawks (8-6) at Dallas Cowboys (8-6)

The Seahawks were embarrassed at home last week by the Rams 42-7 in a big divisional game. As a result, this line has shifted from Dallas -3 to Dallas -5. It’s understandable, but I think it’s an overreaction, considering the Seahawks were without their stud linebackers KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner for most of that game. Both of them are not listed on the injury report this week, a huge boost for this team as they try to bounce back in a pivotal game.

Teams tend to bounce back off of blowout losses anyway, going 54-31 ATS since 2002 after a loss by 35 or more. It’s counterintuitive, but it makes sense, as teams tend to be overlooked, underrated, and embarrassed after getting blown out. The Seahawks might not necessarily be overlooked, but they are definitely underrated as 5-point underdogs and the they have done especially well off of a loss in the Pete Carroll era, going 23-13 ATS, including 5-1 ATS off of a double digit loss.

Even if this line was still 3, I would still take the Seahawks. They are without cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor for the season, but their secondary has held up pretty well, as guys like Byron Maxwell, Justin Coleman, Shaq Griffin, and Bradley McDougald have stepped up. Remember, this team is only a few weeks away from beating the Carson Wentz led Eagles, even without Sherman and Chancellor. With Wright and Wagner back in the lineup, they should have a strong defensive performance this week.

The Cowboys get Ezekiel Elliott back this week, but they could be without left tackle Tyron Smith, who was very limited in practice this week after leaving last week’s game with a knee injury. The media will likely focus on Elliott’s return, but the absence of Smith could be even bigger, given how much quarterback Dak Prescott struggled without his talented blind side protector when he missed time earlier in the season. The Cowboys actually ran the ball pretty well in Elliott’s absence, but they don’t have anyone that comes close to replacing Smith at left tackle. Even if Smith plays, it’ll likely be at less than 100%.

Given that, I have these two teams about even, at best, so the Cowboys shouldn’t be favored by anymore than a field goal. I actually have this line at Dallas -2 because of their lack of homefield advantage in recent years.  They are 35-28 on the road since 2010 (36-27 ATS), with a scoring differential of +0.30 points per game, as opposed to 32-33 at home (23-42 ATS), with a scoring differential of +1.26 points per game. The Cowboys have a national fan base and tend to draw fans wherever they go, so they are at less of an advantage when they play at home. I like the Seahawks a lot this week.

Seattle Seahawks 24 Dallas Cowboys 23 Upset Pick +190

Pick against the spread: Seattle +5

Confidence: High

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks: 2017 Week 15 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Rams (9-4) at Seattle Seahawks (8-5)

The Seahawks have perennially had one of the top defenses in the league over the past several seasons, but they’ve had a season from hell injury wise on that side of the ball. They lost top edge rusher Cliff Avril for the season early in the year with a neck injury. Then both #1 cornerback Richard Sherman and Pro-Bowl safety Kam Chancellor had their season cut short by injuries to their achilles and neck respectively. And then last week, in a huge game on the road in Jacksonville, they lost two their stud linebackers, Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright, with a hamstring injury and a concussion respectively.

Despite that, the Seahawks actually won the first down battle in a close road loss in Jacksonville, against a legitimately good Jaguars team. The Rams won in Jacksonville this year, but needed two return touchdowns in a game in which they lost the first down battle badly. The Seahawks also beat the Eagles at home in Seattle when Carson Wentz was healthy, something only one other team has done this season. The Rams, meanwhile, lost to the Eagles at home last week, despite Wentz going down for the season with a torn ACL late in the 3rd quarter.

The Seahawks’ offense has gotten better with Mike Davis at running back and Duane Brown at left tackle and their defense has continued to play well thanks to strong play from newcomers like Bradley McDougald, Shaq Griffin, and Byron Maxwell. I wish the Seahawks were getting KJ Wright back this week, but Bobby Wagner could return from his hamstring injury, as he’s been called a gametime decision. Even with their injury situation, I still feel like the Seahawks are a little bit better than the Rams and should be at least 3 point favorites here at home. There’s not enough here for me to bet Seattle -2 with confidence, given that Wright will be out and Wagner will be uncertain, but the Seahawks are the smarter choice for pick ‘em purposes.

Seattle Seahawks 24 Los Angeles Rams 20

Pick against the spread: Seattle -2

Confidence: Low

Seattle Seahawks at Jacksonville Jaguars: 2017 Week 14 NFL Pick

Seattle Seahawks (8-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4)

The Seahawks won on Sunday Night Football last week at home against the Philadelphia Eagles, who previously had the best record in the NFL. That shouldn’t have been a huge surprise though, considering how much of an advantage west coast teams have against east coast teams in night games. The Seahawks have done especially well in night games, as they are now 18-5 ATS in the Russell Wilson era in regular season primetime games, including 6-2 ATS against east coast teams.

This week, they don’t have that advantage, as they go to Jacksonville for this afternoon matchup. Teams also tend not to cover off of a home upset win, covering the spread at about a 45% rate the following week, as teams tend to be a little overrated and a little overconfident after home upsets. The Seahawks’ win last week shifted this line from -3 on the early line to -2.5 now this week and the public is still all over the Seahawks. That might not seem like a huge shift, but about 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal, so it’s pretty significant.

The Seahawks also are in a tough spot because they have to turn around and play the Rams next week, a game that could decide the division. The Jaguars, meanwhile, only host the lowly Texans. I’m not saying the Seahawks are going to look past the Jaguars, but they might be a little flat this week after a huge home win with another tough home game on deck. The Jaguars, meanwhile, have no upcoming distractions and will likely be viewing this as a statement game. With their defense, they are good enough to be considered one of the top-10 teams in the league. I have this line calculated at -3 even before any situational trends are taken into account, as I have these two teams close to even with Seattle banged up defensively. As long as you can get this line lower than 3, the Jaguars are worth a small bet because of the line value and the good spot.

Jacksonville Jaguars 17 Seattle Seahawks 13

Pick against the spread: Jacksonville -2.5

Confidence: Medium

Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks: 2017 Week 13 NFL Pick

Philadelphia Eagles (10-1) at Seattle Seahawks (7-4)

I picked the Eagles to get a first round bye before the season and I have picked them to cover the spread every week this season prior to last week, when they were 14-point favorites against the Bears. Last week I made a no confidence pick against them because I felt the spreads had finally caught up to how good they are, but they ended up covering anyway, blowing out the Bears 31-3, improving to 9-2 ATS on the season. They improved their league best first down rate differential in the process, as they are now at +8.00%. No one else is better than +5.51%.

Despite that, I think we are getting some line value with the Seahawks this week as 5.5 point home underdogs. This is the most points we’ve gotten with the Seahawks in Seattle since week 10 of 2011, a game started by Tarvaris Jackson. This is not the same Seattle defense as years past and the Eagles are as tough of an opponent as they’ve faced in years, but I still have this line calculated at only 3. On top of that, Pete Carroll is 7-2-1 ATS as home underdogs as coach of the Seahawks, including 3-1 ATS with Russell Wilson, so they could play well with their backs up against the wall this week.

The Seahawks are also at an advantage in this primetime game because they are a West Coast team. Because of time zones, this game is going to be played from about 5:30 – 8:30 local time, but the visiting Eagles will still be on East Coast time, 8:30 – 11:30. West Coast teams cover at about a 65% rate against East Coast teams in night games, no matter where the game is played. The Seahawks are 17-5 ATS in the Russell Wilson era in regular season primetime games, including 5-2 ATS against an East Coast opponent. I’m torn between making a bet on this one or not, but I probably will if the line moves up to 6 by gametime. At 5.5, this is just a low confidence pick for right now because I’m not eager to bet against the Eagles, but this line is too many points, so the Seahawks seem like the smarter side to be on this week.

Philadelphia Eagles 23 Seattle Seahawks 20

Pick against the spread: Seattle +5.5

Confidence: Low

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers: 2017 Week 12 NFL Pick

Seattle Seahawks (6-4) at San Francisco 49ers (1-9)

The Seahawks are 6-4 and in the thick of a tight NFC playoff race, but they are not the same team they’ve been in recent years. They rank 17th in first down rate differential and have just 3 more offensive touchdowns than their opponents. They also have just two wins by more than a touchdown and they came against the Colts and the Giants. They also have a ton of injuries. Defensive end Cliff Avril, cornerback Richard Sherman, and safety Kam Chancellor are out for the season and promising rookie cornerback Shaq Griffin joins them on the sideline. On top of that, offensive tackle Duane Brown and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, both listed as questionable, did not practice at all this week. They can’t run the ball or pass protect and their defense is not nearly what we’re used to from them.

The 49ers are not a great opponent. In fact, they are one of the worst teams in the league. However, they played the Seahawks close in Seattle early this year, losing by 3. The Seahawks also won by just 6 in Arizona a few weeks back. And those two games are before the injuries for the most part. This line isn’t huge at 7, but the 49ers could play the Seahawks tight, especially since the Seahawks have a huge home game on deck. They are projected to be 6 point home underdogs for the Eagles next week and teams are just 36-67 ATS since 2014 before being home underdogs of 4.5 or more. On top of that, road favorites are 35-57 ATS since 2008 before being home underdogs. The Seahawks could look past the 49ers a little bit and let them hang around a little bit with sloppiness and penalties. I’m not confident enough in the 49ers to pick them at +7, but I might change my mind if we can get +7.5.

Seattle Seahawks 22 San Francisco 49ers 17

Pick against the spread: San Francisco +7

Confidence: Low

Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks: 2017 Week 11 NFL Pick

Atlanta Falcons (5-4) at Seattle Seahawks (6-3)

The Seahawks beat the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football last week to improve to 6-3, but their season could be in serious trouble. In cruel irony, the Seahawks, always a vocal opponent of Thursday Night Football for safety reasons, lost stud cornerback Richard Sherman for the season with an achilles tear and stud safety Kam Chancellor for the season with a neck injury in that win over the Cardinals. They’ve already lost talented defensive end Cliff Avril for the season with a neck injury, so this defense is not nearly what it used to be.

On top of that, the Seahawks will also be without talented left tackle Duane Brown, who also went down against Arizona, a big blow to an offensive line with serious problems at other positions. Even before the injury, the Seahawks only ranked 18th in first down rate differential. The Falcons, meanwhile, rank 8th, and have a significant talent edge on paper right now too, even more so than when the Falcons blew out the Seahawks 36-20 in Atlanta last season in the post-season. The Falcons are not as well coached this season, especially on offense, but they still have largely the same personnel.

This one is in Seattle though, which hurts the Falcons’ chances of winning, as does the fact that this is a night game. West coast teams cover about two thirds of the time in night games against East coast teams. In the second half of this game, the Seahawks’ internal clock will be at about 7 PM, while the Falcons will be at 10 PM, which puts them at a significant disadvantage. The Seahawks are also in a big statement game spot given all of their injuries and they tend to be a great second half of the season team (35-14 ATS in regular season games 9-16 in the Pete Carroll era). With only an easy game against the 49ers on deck, the Seahawks have no upcoming distractions and could play one of their best games of the season. I’m still taking the Falcons, but this is a no confidence pick at +3. This seems like a field goal Seattle win.

Update: This line has moved significantly since Saturday because of Kam Chancellor being officially ruled out and heavy public action on the Falcons. The Seahawks are now underdogs of 1.5 points. Given that I still see this as a field goal game, Seattle is now a medium confidence pick. They are 7-2-1 ATS in regular season home primetime games in Russell Wilson’s career and get the added benefit of playing a time that’s flown across the country. They’re also in a great spot with an easy trip to San Francisco on deck.

Seattle Seahawks 27 Atlanta Falcons 24 Upset Pick +105

Pick against the spread: Seattle +1.5

Confidence: Medium