Expert's Final Thoughts On NFC Wild Card Matchup Seahawks vs. Vikings

Kevin Stott

Saturday, January 9, 2016 7:17 PM GMT

Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016 7:17 PM GMT

Let’s take a look at the Trends & relevant statistics and see what may be decent approaches for this affair from the Land of the 10,000 Frozen Lakes and offer up some profitable NFL picks.

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Predicted Final Score: Seattle Seahawks 23   Minnesota Vikings 13
NFL Picks: Seahawks -4 , Seahawks Money Line -210, 1st Quarter Under 7½ -145 & Under 40
Best Line Offered: at TheGreek

 

Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings
Russell Wilson and the defending NFC champion and #4 seed Seattle Seahawks (10-6 SU, 8-7-1 ATS) head to TCF Bank Stadium (FieldTurf) in frigid Minneapolis (Partly Cloudy, Winds NW 5-10 mph, 1°, Low -6°, 10% Chance of Snow) on Sunday to face the host and NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings (11-5 SU, 13-3 ATS) in the first of the day’s two NFC Wild Card games and second meeting of the season between these two fairly similar teams. Current NFL Odds (Friday morning) see the visiting Seahawks in a large 4- (BetOnline) to 6-point (Bovada, Peppermill) range as the Road favorites with a really large number of lines (4, 4½, 5, 5½ and 6) available right now while the Total Points in this game in a tight 39½ to 40 range, predominantly because of these teams’ Defenses, their Under records this Regular Season and the beyond-chilly Weather Forecasts. In the Money Line (Winner) marketplace, the Seahawks are presently priced as low as -210 (at 5Dimes) with the host Vikings lined at +190. The Seattle Seahawks Total Team Points is at 22½ (bet365) while the Minnesota Vikings Total Team Points is at 17½ (Stan James) while the First Half Total is 20 (at William Hill), and, 1st Quarter Total Points is 7½ (Under -145, Betway).

 

Last 10 Final Scores Minnesota Vikings-Seattle Seahawks Series
2015—Seahawks 38 @ Vikings 7 (SEA -2½) Total Points Scored: 45 (Over, 43)
2013—@ Seahawks 41 Vikings 20 (SEA -13½) Total Points Scored: 61 (Over, 45)
2012—@ Seahawks 30 Vikings 20 (SEA -4½) Total Points Scored: 50 (Over, 38)
2009—@ Vikings 35 Seahawks 9 (MIN -10½) Points: 44 (Under, 47) (HHH Metrodome)
2006—Vikings 31 @ Seahawks 13 (SEA -6½) Points: 44 (Over, 41) (Qwest Field, Seattle)
2004— Seahawks 27 @ Vikings 23 (MIN -6½) Points: 50 (Under, 52½) (HHH Metrodome)
2003—@ Vikings 34 Seahawks 7 (MIN -1) Points Scored: 41 (Under, 51½) (HHH Metrodome)
2002—@ Seahawks 48 Vikings 23 (SEA -3) Points Scored: 71 (Over, 44) (Seahawks Stadium)
1996—@ Seahawks 42 Vikings 23 (SEA 1½) Total Points Scored: 65 (Over, 39) (Kingdome)
1990—Vikings 24 @ Seahawks 21 (SEA -3½) Total Points Scored: 45 (Over, 39) (Kingdome)

 

Totals Trends Thoughts 
As you can see from the list of the L10 meetings in this series, the Over is a strong 7-3 ATS in the L10 meetings in this series with the L5 games played in Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis going 3-2 Under in this infrequent series in which this 10-game sample size has games dating all the way back to when the Seahawks were still in the AFC (AFC West). So these aren’t exactly significant Trend numbers to put too much credence in as none were Playoff games and none were likely played in Weather better suited for Antarctica. The Weather Forecast calls for some really Cold temperatures (1°) for Minneapolis on Saturday and with both teams having really solid Rushing attacks and RBs who will be counted on to carry the football in this big game in the freezing Cold in the Vikings Adrian Peterson (-120 Anytime TD Scorer, bet365) and the Seahawks Thomas Rawls and (maybe, likely) Marshawn Lynch (-120, bet365) if he returns. When the Temperatures gets as Cold as they are forecasted to be here, then the football itself becomes harder to hold, harder to catch, harder to pass and grip and harder to kick. And even with both teams coming from cities in US states as far North as you can go, and even with all of the modern hand-warmers and heaters and stuff, the Cold may actually be a bigger story than the Seahawks Defense, which should make life for Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater (11-4 ATS Home) and veteran RB Peterson extremely hard in this Wild Card game. Expect Minnesota (40/1 to win Super Bowl, William Hill) to be hard-pressed to get 2 TDs in their Home stadium in this nasty matchup, complete with nasty Minnesota conditions, including Winds currently forecast at 5 to 10 mph, which could make matters even worse for both Offenses should those Wind speeds actually be higher. Vikings Unders were 11-4-1 ATS while Seahawks Unders were 9-7. The Under is 6-1-1 in the L8 Vikings Playoff games.

 

Why Take the Seattle Seahawks in this Situation?
The Seahawks (6/1 to win Super Bowl, bet365) seems worth plays both ATS and on the Money Line in this NFC Wild Card for a number of seemingly logical reasons:

1—The Seahawks are in their 2nd Half-Playoffs Groove where they act like Pirates and destroy everything in their sights. From weeks 11-17 of the Regular Season, Seattle W6 of 7, outscoring opponents 230-92, averaging 32.9 ppg as Wilson and WR Doug Baldwin (78 receptions, 1,069 yards, 14 TDs, 13.7 ypc) connected much and the aforementioned RB Rawls filled in nicely for the injured Lynch. The absence of new TE Jimmy Graham (TE) was hardly noticed as this team clicked into high gear on Offense as well as Defense. Rawls is really a good player.

2—The QB matchup favors the Seahawks as Russell Wilson (12-11 ATS on Road) borders on elite status in the NFL while Teddy Bridgewater constantly tries to get validation of simply being a good QB—something he did a pretty good job of this past season. Seattle is scoring TDs at will and ranks #4 in the league with 6,058 Total Yards, 378.6 ypg and a scoring average of 26.4 ppg, while the Vikings rank 29th (out of 32 teams) on Offense with 5,139 Total Yards, 321.1 ypg and an average of 22.8 ppg. Minnesota is looking to make that move up in the NFL while Seattle sits comfortably in the (NFC) Owner’s box and having Wilson in this game over Bridgewater is a bigger advantage than many pundits think. Wishful thinking often doesn’t become Reality.

3—Seattle plays in the toughest division in the NFL, the NFC West, who has two legitimate candidates to win Super Bowl 50 in these Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals (+450, bet365), and is driven by the bitter Memory of missing out on winning a second straight NFL championship when 6th-year Head Coach Pete Carroll (62-41-3 ATS) decided to pass the football from the 1-yard line in the closing seconds of last year’s loss to the champion New England Patriots (+450, Paddy Power). And the Seahawks are also just glad the St. Louis Rams aren’t in the Postseason. St. Louis bopped Seattle in Week 1 in the Gateway City (34-31, OT), and then the Rams reminded the defending NFC champions what’s up again in Week 16 in Seattle (23-17) and the Rams have won 3 of the L4 meetings with the dreaded Legion of Doom.

4—The Seahawks Defense. Minnesota (+5 TO Differential, Tied #10) has improved drastically on Defense and its 13th ranking and 5,507 Total Yards allowed in the Regular Season is a step in the right direction and 2nd-year Head Coach Mike Zimmer has this team believing. But it would be hard to say that side of the ball is dominant. Dominant is Seattle’s D, which has been consistently great for three straight seasons and ranks #2 in the NFL, having allowed just 4,668 Total Yards, 291.8 ypg and 17.3 ppg for opponents. With LB Bobby Wagner, LB KJ Wright (116 Tackles), DE Cliff Avril, CB Richard Sherman, S Earl Thomas and other hungry piranhas, Seattle (+6 TO Differential, Tied #6). The Seahawks Defense ranks #1 in Rushing Yards allowed (81.5 ypg), #2 in Passing Yards allowed (210.2 ypg) and #2 in Total Yards allowed (291.8 ypg), so Bridgewater and Peterson and WR Mike Wallace may not only be Cold, but frustrated in this one. Especially with the thoughts running through their purple minds of...

5—The Last Meeting between these two. Week 13. December 6, 2015. A little more than a month ago. Seattle smashed the Vikings, 38-7 here at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, easily covering as 2½-point chalks with the game trickling over the posted Total of 43 by 2 points. So the Fresh Memories are bad memories. In that game, Baldwin (94 yards) caught 2 TD passes and Rawls ran for 101 yards and Wilson had 3 TD passes and ran for another in the romp. It will be hard for Minnesota to try to forget that game.

6—Recent history. As you can see from the L10 games list above, the Seahawks have Won and Covered 3 in a row against the Vikings (38-7, 41-20, 30-20) winning by an average score of 36.3-15.7. Wins by 31, 21 and 10 can’t be ignored and there is an obvious class difference here that Minnesota (10-3 ATS L13 Home) can do something about...but the Vikings Roster and Defense (and Drive) just don’t seem as powerful as Seattle’s. Not even close. Let's check the final analysis for our NFL pick....

 

Trends, How This Chilly Meeting Between These Similar NFC Sides Could Evolve Sunday
As just mentioned, the Seahawks have W3 ATS in this series and Seattle has also covered 5 of its L6 to close out the Regular Season, that second Loss to those dreaded Rams being the only SU and ATS setback. The big thing here is the way the Seattle Seahawks play in this 2nd Half-Postseason Beast-Mode compared to Seahawks Regular Season. It’s sort of like NASCAR compared to IndyCar and although the Vikings have gotten an incredible season from RB Peterson (1,418 rushing yards, 10 TDs) and have some nice Skill Position guys like RB Jerick McKinnon (48 rushes, 256 yards; 18 receptions, 140 yards), super Rookie WR Stefon Diggs (Maryland, 51 receptions, 712 yards, 4 TDs, 14.0 ypc), TE Kyle Rudolph (49 receptions, 495 yards, 5 TDs, 10.1 ypc) and WR Jarius Wright (32 receptions, 421 yards, 13.2 ypc) to go with QB Bridgewater and Free Agent signee WR Mike Wallace (38 receptions, 451 yards, 2 TDs, 11.9 ypc) but there’s just something intense and swarm-like about the Seahawks from November to February. With Rawls impressing and Lynch probably come back this weekend and WR Baldwin having an incredible season (he leads the league in Scoring, TDs)—and filling that need to have a go-to WR that can actually score TDs—and guys like Jermaine Kearse, Rookie WR Tyler Lockett, TE Luke Wilson and RB Fred Jackson, Seattle has become well-rounded through necessity and enough can’t be said about how much Rawls, Lockett, Wilson, Kearse and especially Baldwin have all stepped up. And of course, Russell Wilson. The man just gets things done. This is the possibly the best 10-6 team in NFL history, and driven by that Super Bowl near-miss, are a team nobody will want to face from this point on. Even though Minnesota Vikings (13-3 ATS) were the ATS Champions of the Regular Season and are 7-2 ATS the L9 against teams with a Winning Record, Seattle is still in the top three teams in the league and won’t want to be de-railed in this situation, no matter what the Weather. And if Seattle does get down to the Vikings somehow, bettor’s should have much more confidence in Wilson’s ability to throw the ball downfield than Louisville product Bridgewater, who is still an unproven commodity.

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