The Seattle Seahawks (6-1) and Buffalo Bills (6-2) only meet once every four years, but this is one of the most interesting games for your NFL picks in Week 9. The Seahawks are the top seed in the NFC and rank No. 1 in scoring (34.3 points per game) while the Bills are looking to hold onto the No. 3 seed in the AFC.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Buffalo Bills
Sunday, November 8, 2020 – 01:00 PM EDT at Bills Stadium
Seattle was able to win comfortably (for a change) 37-27 against San Francisco on Sunday. The Bills finally beat the Patriots in an important game, but it was a little tougher than expected. Buffalo has not covered the spread since a Week 4 win over the Raiders. Seattle (5-2 ATS) comes in as a 3-point road favorite for this matchup.
Can Russ Cook on Every Down?
There is no doubt that Russell Wilson is having the best season of his career so far. Wilson’s 26 touchdown passes are the second-most in the first seven games of a season in NFL history. Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf are arguably the best wide receiver duo in the NFL right now, and Metcalf’s progression has quickly vaulted him into the upper tier of game-changing skill players. He has already matched his rookie total with seven touchdown catches and is averaging 18.9 yards per catch.
The 2020 Seahawks are only the seventh team in NFL history to score at least 27 points in each of their first seven games, but there has been one concern with this offense so far. Despite Wilson’s gaudy numbers, he only ranks sixth in DVOA and third in QBR this season, a step below the usual standards for an MVP season. A big reason for that has been third down where the Seahawks only rank 26th in conversion rate (39.2%). Wilson has completed 52% of his passes with 5.4 YPA and as many interceptions (three) as touchdowns on third down.
So it’s great that Wilson has been able to cook on early downs this year where he’s completing 75.6% of his passes with 20 touchdowns to three picks, but third down has been brutal. Fortunately, the Bills (50.6%) are one of three defenses this season allowing offenses to convert over half the time on third down. Buffalo had issues with New England’s undermanned offense on Sunday, so the top scoring unit with the hottest quarterback in the league will present a big problem in this matchup.
Can the Bills Beat a Good Team?
Josh Allen will have to play a great game to outdo the offense Wilson brings to this matchup. Allen has really cooled off the last four games after a hot start to 2020. Since the Tennessee loss, Allen has thrown as many interceptions (four) as touchdowns and his yards per attempt dropped from 8.96 to 6.56, or basically where he was as a young, struggling quarterback in 2018-19.
The good news is the Seattle pass defense is one of the worst in the NFL. The unit lacks a great pass-rusher and the 2020 Seahawks have allowed the most net passing yards (2,511) through the first seven games in NFL history. One of the only bright spots with Seattle’s defense is it has multiple takeaways in all but one game this year.
The run defense has also been solid, but the Bills did just rush for a season-high 190 yards against New England with rookie Zack Moss having his best game yet (81 yards). The Bills probably need to score at least 28 points to win this one as it has a high projected total of 55 points.
Both teams could really use this win, but it comes down to trust when you make your NFL picks this week. Wilson has been great, and the Buffalo defense is no longer a top 10 unit. In his career, Wilson is only 5-6 SU and 4-6-1 ATS as a 3-point favorite.
However, when will the Bills beat a legit contender? In the previous two seasons, the Bills were 1-12 against playoff teams. The only win was a 14-7 game against the 2019 Titans, a game started by Marcus Mariota (instead of Ryan Tannehill) where the Titans missed four field goals.
That is a terrible track record and the results this year have not been encouraging either. Buffalo was crushed 42-16 in Tennessee, ran over by the Chiefs, were the only team the Jets have covered against, and had to get a Cam Newton fumble in the final seconds to beat a talent-deprived New England team.
Maybe this is the game where Allen and his wide receivers feast on Seattle’s defense, but I trust Wilson to complete the first half of what has been an MVP season to this point. Teasing the Bills +9 would be my favorite pick with the NFL odds spread in this game, but I will take the Seahawks to cover and enjoy what could be the shootout of the day.