Monday Night Football Predictions: Buffalo Bills at Seattle Seahawks Odds & Pick
by Alan Matthews - 11/3/2016
This year's Monday night schedule has left plenty to be desired, but this week's matchup between Buffalo (4-4) and Seattle (4-2-1) starts a stretch where every Monday game the rest of the way looks pretty interesting as of now, other than probably Colts-Jets on Dec. 5.
Now that the Chicago Cubs have ended the longest World Series drought in baseball, can the Bills end the longest active playoff drought in the NFL? It's going to have to be the wild-card route as Buffalo is already three games behind the first-place Patriots in the AFC East and would also lose the tiebreaker as things stand.
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The Bills are currently eighth in the AFC standings and thus behind three other wild-card contenders in Oakland (6-2; currently tied for AFC West lead but losing tiebreaker for now vs. Denver), Kansas City (5-2) and Tennessee (4-4). One major issue for the Bills is that the most important tiebreaker after head-to-head is record in conference, and Buffalo is just 1-4 vs. the AFC. So in that regard, this game doesn't help. Since 2000, 40 teams have reached the halfway point of their season with a .500 or below winning percentage and advanced to the playoffs, including at least one in each season. Five clubs did it last year.
Seattle leads the NFC West by two games over Arizona in the loss column, and it will be interesting to see if that initial tie between the clubs affects things. The Seahawks host Arizona in Week 16, and the winner of that could hold a crucial tiebreaker. Might this be a bit of a look-ahead game for the Seahawks? They visit New England next Sunday night in rematch of that terrific Super Bowl from two seasons ago.
Bills at Seahawks Betting Story Lines
Buffalo has followed a four-game winning streak with back-to-back losses at Miami and home to New England, scoring exactly 25 points in each. Two things have changed in those losses. First is the defense, which didn't allow more than 18 points during the winning streak. The Bills were gashed on the ground by Jay Ajayi and the Dolphins and then through the air by Tom Brady and the Patriots. Also, top running back LeSean McCoy played only briefly vs. Miami and not at all vs. the Patriots with a hamstring injury. He's not only the focal point of the Buffalo offense but when the Bills run the ball well, they eat the clock and keep their defense rested. It's not clear yet if McCoy can return this week. If not, Mike Gillislee starts again.
The Bills are really thin at receiver with No. 1 Sammy Watkins having not played since Week 2 and on injured reserve. No. 2 Robert Woods is also banged up but should play Monday. So Buffalo signed Percy Harvin this week out of retirement. He played five games for Buffalo in 2015 before being sidelined by a hip injury, which is what forced him into retirement. Harvin says he feels good, however. He used to be an electric talent but injuries have torpedoed his career. Harvin was a member of the Seahawks' Super Bowl XLVIII-winning team. Seattle, which gave up a first-round pick to Minnesota to get Harvin, traded him to the New York Jets early in the 2014 season.
One key injury to monitor for Buffalo other than McCoy is to outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. He left the Patriots game with a hamstring injury. Alexander, a virtual unknown outside of Buffalo entering this season, leads the NFL with a career-high nine sacks. Entering this season, Alexander had nine total sacks in 127 career games. With one Monday, he would become the first player to begin his career in 1982 or later with a career total of fewer than 10 sacks to record 10 sacks in his 10th season. Who finds these stats?
The Seahawks lost 25-20 in New Orleans last week. A Will Lutz field goal with 1:57 left forced Seattle to need a touchdown to win. Russell Wilson drove Seattle to the New Orleans 10, but his pass on the game's final play to Jermaine Kearse was caught out of bounds. Wilson is not having the season many anticipated and was 22-for-34 for 253 yards and a pick. Last year, Wilson produced 60 explosive plays (20 yards or more), fourth-most in the NFL. This season, he has 20, which ranks 17th.
Wilson's offensive line is a major problem, and I know the Seahawks were looking for help ahead of Tuesday's deadline. The Seattle running game also has disappointed, and projected No. 1 Thomas Rawls still isn't ready to return from his leg injury. You might see more of rookie C.J. Prosise going forward. Against the Saints, he ran four times for 23 yards and also was the Seahawks' leading receiver in catching for four balls for 80 yards.
Two big injuries on defense for Seattle in defensive end Michael Bennett and safety Kam Chancellor. The latter missed his third game in a row vs. New Orleans with a groin pull and Bennett sat out with a knee injury. Bennett for sure won't play here following minor surgery on Wednesday.
Bills at Seahawks Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Seattle is a 7.5-point favorite (+115) with a total of 43.5. On the moneyline, the Seahawks are -300 and the Bills +250. On the alternate lines, Seattle is -7 (-105) and -6.5 (-125). Buffalo is 4-4 against the spread (2-2 on road) and 6-2 "over/under" (2-2 on road). Seattle is 3-4 ATS (1-2 at home) and 3-4 O/U (2-1 at home).
The Bills are 5-1-1 ATS in their past six vs. teams with a winning record. They are 1-10 ATS in their past 11 following a double-digit home loss. The Seahawks are 4-0 ATS in their past four after a loss. They are 7-2-1 in the past 10 on Monday. The under is 7-3 in Buffalo's past 10 on the road vs. teams with a winning home record. The under is 5-0 in Seattle's previous five on Monday.
Bills at Seahawks Betting Prediction
This is Buffalo's first trip to Seattle in 12 years. I don't particularly remember their last meeting, but something historic happened in the Dec. 16, 2012, game in Toronto back when the NFL played one Bills game a year there. Seattle rolled 50-17, and Wilson, then a rookie, became the first player in NFL history to have three rushing touchdowns and a touchdown pass in the first half of a game.
This could easily be the lowest-scoring Monday night game of the year. Seattle has won seven straight Monday home games and should here. Give the 6.5-point alternate line and go under.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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