The Seattle Seahawks are outperforming the Detroit Lions in just about every aspect of the game. But do the 'Hawks belong in our NFL picks as 9.5-point home faves?
Jason's 2015 record as of Sept. 30: 12-7 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 6-9 Total
The sharps have spoken. As we go to press, the Seattle Seahawks are 9.5-point home favorites for Monday night's matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) with the Detroit Lions, as they were when we last checked in. Our expanded consensus reports show nearly 60 percent of bettors on Seattle's side, contributing nearly 70 percent of the action. Neither club is generating much in the way of big bets, but our surveys do show two $1000+ wagers on the Seahawks and one on the Lions. Sharpy-sharp.
Apparently we're going to have to bite the bullet and join in. There's sharp action on Seattle, the spread has yet to reach the magic –10 on our NFL odds board, and the advanced stats tell us the Lions are outclassed in pretty much every department. Plus, Matthew Stafford has been pulverized this year, and apparently someone leaked the Lions playbook, because opponents have reportedly been calling out the plays before they happen. What's not to love about the Seahawks?
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Thomas Rawls Live
You know the answer by now. The defense may be intact now that Kam Chancellor is back at safety, but Seattle's offensive line is still a big area of concern. Football Outsiders has this unit ranked No. 16 in the league in run blocking, and No. 31 in pass protection, with an adjusted sack rate of 11.3 percent. That's even worse than the Denver Broncos at 11.2 percent, and they've got some serious issues up front.
On top of that, Marshawn Lynch is considered 50-50 at this point to face the Lions. We haven't been given any information on the MRI results for his ailing hamstring, and Seattle doesn't practice until Thursday, so who knows. Undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls did a fine job last week against the Chicago Bears, barreling his way for 104 yards on 16 carries, but that was against the Bears, who might be in tank mode for the rest of the season.
Waddle This Way
Fortunately for us, the Lions are making our NFL picks a little easier by having their own problems on the offensive line. Detroit ranks No. 31 in run blocking, in part because RG Larry Warford suffered a high-ankle sprain during the preseason and has yet to shake it off. Things could improve now that RT LaAdrian Waddle is back after offseason knee surgery. We haven't seen it yet, though, and Leos coach Jim Caldwell says he's sticking with the running game.
Not that Caldwell has much choice with Stafford's health and his throwing ability compromised. Meanwhile, Detroit's defense ranks No. 22 overall in DVOA, and Seattle has the league's best special teams, thanks in large part to two return touchdowns by Tyler Lockett. The home crowd should give the Seahawks some added lift, too – unless they start booing again. How quickly they turn.
Free NFL Pick: Take the Seahawks -9.5 (-105) at Heritage