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

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals: 2017 Week 10 NFL Pick

Seattle Seahawks (5-3) at Arizona Cardinals (4-4)

The Seahawks lost at home to a banged up Redskins team last week, causing this line to drop from 7 in favor of the Seahawks on the early line last week to 6 this week. That might not seem like a huge line movement, but 7 is a key number because about 9% of games are decided by 7 points exactly, making it the 2nd most common margin of victory, behind 3 (15%). It’s also a bit of an overreaction because the Seahawks won the first down battle in that game 22 and 16 and would have won the game (which they ended up losing by 3) had they not missed 3 makeable field goals. If the Seahawks win last week, even in a close one, I think this line stays put at 7.

The Cardinals won in San Francisco last week, but, with all of their injuries, the 49ers are arguably the least talented team in the league this year, so that wasn’t a terribly impressive win. The Cardinals were able to establish their running game with Adrian Peterson, which allowed them to hide quarterback Drew Stanton, who is filling in for an injured Carson Palmer. That gameplan won’t be as successful this week because the Seahawks have a much better run defense and, if Seattle gets up big early, they won’t be able to keep their play calling as conservative (43 runs to 30 passes against the 49ers). Peterson could also be worn out on a short week, after getting 39 touches last week, most ever by a running back over 30. Peterson is obviously a freak of nature, something he’s proven time and time again, but 60+ touches in 5-day stretch is a lot for any running back, especially one over 30.

Despite their loss last week, the Seahawks are still one of the better teams in the league, especially now that they have an actual left tackle after acquiring Duane Brown from the Texans at the trade deadline. They’re also healthier this week than last with Sheldon Richardson returning from a one-game absence. Earl Thomas remains out, but he won’t be needed as much in this game because of the Cardinals’ quarterback situation. The Cardinals were a below average team even before the Palmer injury and Stanton is arguably the worst starting quarterback in the NFL right now. He hasn’t completed more than 50% of his passes or had more touchdowns than interceptions in a season since 2013 and he has a career QB rating of 65.9. We’re not getting enough line value with the Seahawks to take them confidently, but they should be the right pick as long as the line is lower than a touchdown.

Also, by request, I’m going to be posting lines I lock in early in the week during my Thursday Night writeups this season, so readers can lock them in before they move. These are not all my picks for the week, just picks where I think the line may move in an unfavorable direction (usually underdogs). The rest of the writeups will continue to be posted over the weekend as normal.

NO -2.5 @ BUF (I would NOT take -3)

DAL +3.5 @ ATL (I would also take +3)

LAC +4.5 @ JAX (I would also take +4 and +3.5)

Seattle Seahawks 17 Arizona Cardinals 9

Pick against the spread: Seattle -6

Confidence: Low

Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks: 2017 Week 9 NFL Pick

Washington Redskins (3-4) at Seattle Seahawks (5-2)

The Seahawks have to play again 4 days after this game as they are on Thursday Night Football in week 10. Favorites typically do not do well before Thursday Night Football, going 60-92 ATS since 2008 in that spot. There are two big problems with betting against Seattle this week though. The first is that the Seahawks are only facing the Cardinals next week, so it’s not like they have a tough upcoming matchup on the short week. The early line has the Seahawks favored by a touchdown in Arizona. Teams are 73-54 ATS since 2012 before being road favorites of 5 or more. On top of that, favorites of 6+ like the Seahawks are this week are 103-63 ATS since 2012 before being favored by 6+ again the following week.

The second problem is that the Redskins come in here incredibly banged up and I don’t know if this line fully takes that into account. They’ll be without left tackle Trent Williams, left guard Shawn Lauvao, center Spencer Long, wide receiver Jamison Crowder, tight end Jordan Reed, defensive end Matt Ioannidis, middle linebacker Mason Foster, and defensive end Jonathan Allen, a whopping nine week 1 starters. On top of that, they could also be without cornerback Bashaud Breeland and right guard Brandon Scherff, another two week 1 starters.

The Seahawks have injury problems of their own with left guard Luke Joeckel, running back Chris Carson, defensive end Cliff Avril, and safety Earl Thomas out and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson expected to be gametime calls. Their injury situation still is significantly better than Washington’s though and this line isn’t high enough at 7.5 to confidently bet on the Redskins unless Scherff plays for Washington and Wagner does not for Seattle. If that happens, I’ll revisit this pick in the morning, but, for now, this is a low confidence pick.

Seattle Seahawks 24 Washington Redskins 17

Pick against the spread: Washington +7.5

Confidence: Low

Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks: 2017 Week 8 NFL Pick

Houston Texans (3-3) at Seattle Seahawks (4-2)

When this line opened at 5.5 early in the week, I was strongly considering betting on the Seahawks. The Texans have exceeded expectations offensively thanks to breakout seasons from their last two first round picks, wide receiver Will Fuller and quarterback Deshaun Watson, and they get valuable left tackle Duane Brown back from his holdout this week, but I want to see how their defense fares without JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus against an offense other than the Browns.

On top of that, the Seahawks are a step up in class defensively from any defense the Texans have faced since Jacksonville and Cincinnati in weeks 1 and 2, when they managed just 2 total offensive touchdowns. Since then, they’ve scored 16 offensive touchdowns in 4 games, but against New England, Tennessee, Kansas City, and Cleveland, who are among the worst defenses in the league. They could easily have a lot of trouble in Seattle, where the Seahawks have been so good over the years (31-16 ATS at home in the Russell Wilson era).

Unfortunately, this line has moved from 5.5 to 7, as the sharps likely jumped on the Seahawks after the news broke about Houston owner Bob McNair’s “inmates” comment and the subsequent reaction of the Texan players. I ultimately don’t see that affecting the Texans on the field on Sunday, as they are in the middle of a race for a division title, so I’m not as excited to bet the Seahawks at -7 as I was at -5.5. If this line drops back down under a touchdown tomorrow morning, I may reconsider.

Update: This line has dropped down to 6.5, so I’ll make this a medium confidence pick.

Seattle Seahawks 24 Houston Texans 16

Pick against the spread: Seattle -6.5

Confidence: Medium