Do you believe in payback games in the NFL? If you do, Sunday is a chance at some revenge for Seattle as the Seahawks visit Dallas in a matchup of below-.500 teams. Seattle is -6 on BetOnline's NFL odds with a low total of 41 points.
Seattle Still Dangerous At 3-4
There was panic in the Pacific Northwest when Seattle started 2-4, including blowing a nine-point fourth-quarter home lead in a Week 6 home loss to Carolina. But on a short week last Thursday, the Seahawks dominated a pretty bad San Francisco team on its own field, 20-3. Marshawn Lynch had his best game of the year with 27 carries for 122 yards and a score. Russell Wilson was 18-for-24 for 235 yards, a touchdown and two picks. One worry, though: his protection continued to be spotty as Wilson was sacked five more times. He leads the NFL in being sacked.
The Seattle defense held the Niners to eight first downs and 142 total yards. Of the 49ers' 11 drives, nine ended with a punt, one with a made field goal and one with the end of the first half. It was the third time this season that the Seahawks held a team without an offensive touchdown. Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor has played 11 games since Week 12 of last season -- missing the first two this year as he held out -- and the Seahawks have held their opponents without an offensive touchdown in seven of those games. Seattle had six sacks of the mobile Colin Kaepernick. The Seahawks now have 13 sacks over the past three games after just six over the first season's four games.
That was Seattle's first road win in four tries this season. My one concern would be the team's three wins are over bad teams, with the other two against Chicago and Detroit, and the Lions probably should have won in Seattle if not for a missed call by the officials.
The Seattle Seahawks are 3-4 for the eighth time in club history. None of those teams made the playoffs, though the 1978 Seahawks were a win away from the playoffs. I think they make it this year. Since 1990, 29 of 153 teams that started 3-4 made the playoffs.
Lynch could have a big day Sunday. Over their four-game losing streak, Dallas has allowed teams to rush for 158 (Falcons), 103 (Saints), 109 (Patriots) and 132 (Giants) yards.
Seattle is 2-4-1 against the spread on NFL odds and 3-4 'over/under.'
Cowboys May Get Bryant Back
The big story for Dallas (2-4) here is the likely return of Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant from his broken foot -- sooner than I expected, for sure. He returned to practice on Wednesday in a limited fashion for the first time since the injury and executive VP Stephen Jones said Bryant looked good and is "on target to play." Bryant might be the NFL's best receiver and he has been sorely missed since that Week 1 injury. In the five games Bryant has missed, the Dallas Cowboys' wideouts have been targeted 67 times, 31st in the league among receivers. The receivers’ 38 catches are 31st in the league. Their 559 yards are 29th. Their three receiving touchdowns are tied for 29th. A lot of that is on the quarterback, though, and of course Tony Romo was lost in Week 2 to a broken collarbone and won't be back until Nov. 22 at the earliest. Veteran journeyman Matt Cassel starts for the second game in a row. He wasn't very good in last week's loss at the Giants, completing 17-for-27 for 227 yards, one TD and three picks. Having Bryant back can only help.
The news isn't all good for Dallas as running back Joseph Randle won't play Sunday because of an oblique strain (supposedly that's why). But he also went AWOL from the team on Wednesday after learning he was demoted to second team behind Darren McFadden. In addition, Randle could be facing an NFL suspension. The league has determined Randle violated the personal conduct policy during a domestic incident in February. It was the second time in four months Randle had been arrested. McFadden deserves the start as he rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries against the Giants.
The Cowboys are 2-4 for just the eighth time in team history. None of the previous seven teams made the playoffs. Since 1990, only 14 of 168 teams that started 2-4 made the playoffs. The Cowboys have never had a four-game losing streak and made the playoffs in the same season.
Dallas is 1-5 ATS on NFL picks and 3-3 O/U.
Seattle's only home loss in 2014 was in Week 6 to these Cowboys, 30-23. But the two Dallas players most responsible for that victory won't be on the field Sunday. That would be DeMarco Murray, now with the Eagles, who rushed 28 times for 115 yards and a touchdown, and Romo, who was 21-for-32 for 250 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers. Dallas rallied from an early 10-0 deficit. Rolando McClain intercepted Wilson's pass with less than a minute remaining to clinch the victory. Dallas deserved the win as it simply outplayed Seattle. Wilson wasn't good, going 14-for-28 for 126 yards and that interception. Lynch rushed 10 times for 61 yards.
NFL Picks: Cassel should not be a starting QB. Plus Seattle had a few extra days to rest up and prepare for Dallas. Go 'under' the total and give the points at BetOnline.