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