NFL Expert Picks Against the Spread: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
OK, I guess I have to officially believe in the Los Angeles Rams now, so that makes this Thursday's game pretty big between the Seahawks and Cardinals as they chase the first-place Rams in the NFC West. L.A. (6-2) already owns a head-to-head win over the Cardinals and visits them on Dec. 3. The Seahawks hold a head-to-head over the Rams and host them on Dec. 17. Both Los Angeles and Seattle are -110 at BetOnline to win the division with the Cardinals at +2500.
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While I think that Seattle (5-3) will at a minimum earn a wild-card spot and might win the division (even though currently the Seahawks would be on the outside of the playoffs looking in), I don't realistically think Arizona (4-4) is a playoff team after losing star running back David Johnson very early on (he's not coming back) and QB Carson Palmer to a broken arm in Week 7 in London. He's iffy to return this season and might have played his last down as an NFL player. The Eagles are going to win the NFC East, but I'm presuming that Dallas will get a wild-card spot. In the Central, the Vikings probably will win that because of the Aaron Rodgers injury and I'm not confident any other team is good enough for a wild card. In the South, either the Saints or Panthers should win the division, meaning which ever doesn't will be in the wild-card conversation. The Falcons are too flawed in 2017.
So let's say the Seahawks still win the West. That leaves the Rams, Cardinals, Cowboys, maybe Redskins and one of Falcons/Panthers battling it out for the two wild-card spots. Hey, it's Week 10 and time to start thinking playoff tiebreakers and such. Teams need to win their division games first and foremost and then conference games second. Seattle is 3-2 vs. the NFC and Arizona 3-4.
Seahawks at Cardinals Betting Story Lines
When Palmer went down, at least the Cards had their bye week to recover and get backup Drew Stanton as much work with the starters as possible. But Coach Bruce Arians told everyone that the offense would now be built around future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson. Usually it's dangerous to do that with a 32-year-old running back, but so far so good.
In Sunday's 20-10 victory at winless San Francisco, Peterson carried a career-high 37 times - the most carry ever for a running back at his age - for 159 yards. Peterson forced eight missed tackles and ran for 110 of his 159 yards after contact. He even caught two passes, which is somewhat new for him. I thought Peterson was shot when the Saints gave him away for a conditional draft pick a few weeks back to Arizona. But Peterson has been a godsend thus far. Stanton was solid enough vs. the Niners with two TD passes and a pick. He wasn't sacked or even hit once. When you put the defense on its heels thanks to a strong running game, you can keep your QB upright.
It seemed like there were fights all over the NFL on Sunday and the Cardinals were involved in one as well. Arizona defensive lineman Frostee Rucker and linebacker Haason Reddick were both ejected. I think Reddick, the team's first-round pick this year, is safe from suspension but Rucker was throwing some punches so he might have to sit. News likely would have come down by now, though, of any suspension.
Seattle will be kicking itself over Sunday's home loss to Washington, which ended a four-game winning streak, for a while. The Seahawks were mistake-prone all day but took a 14-10 lead with 1:34 left on a Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin 30-yard TD pass - in retrospect, Baldwin should have fallen down at the 1-yard line to eat more clock. Normally, you expect that stout Seattle defense to hold that lead, but the Redskins went 70 yards in just 35 seconds to score the winning touchdown. Seattle outgained Washington by almost 200 yards, but Wilson was picked off twice, Blair Walsh missed three field goals and the team had 16 penalties for 138 yards. The Seahawks apparently will not try out other kickers this week.
Left tackle Duane Brown made his Seattle debut after the trade from Washington and played all 83 offensive snaps. Seattle was much better in the run game with 148 yards (nearly half by Wilson, though) and allowed only two sacks. Eddie Lacy started at tailback but left with a groin injury. Too early to tell if he plays here. Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas missed the game with a hamstring injury - maybe the Redskins don't score on that last drive with Thomas in there.
Seahawks at Cardinals Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Seattle is a 5.5-point favorite (-110) with a total of 41.5. On the moneyline, the Seahawks are -245 and Cardinals +205. On the alternate lines, Seattle is -5 (-115) and -6 (-102). The Seahawks are 3-5 against the spread (2-2 on road) and 3-5 "over/under" (1-3 on road). Arizona is 2-6 ATS (1-2 at home) and 2-6 O/U (1-2 at home).
The Seahawks have covered seven in a row on Thursday. They are 3-7-1 ATS in their past 11 after scoring less than 15 points in the previous game. The Cards are 2-5 ATS in their past seven on Thursday and 1-6 ATS in their previous seven following a win. The under is 5-0 in Seattle's past five vs. the NFC. It's 12-3 in Arizona's past 15 at home. The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings.
Seahawks at Cardinals Betting Prediction
Arizona was 1-0-1 vs. Seattle last year. They played to an amazing 6-6 tie in the desert when both kickers - now elsewhere - missed chip shots to win late in the overtime. The Cardinals dominated that game statistically. It was the lowest-scoring overtime tie in league history and first ever tie for the Seahawks. Then late in the season, the Cardinals upset the Seahawks 34-31 on a last-second field goal.
I have not been great on my Thursday night picks the past two weeks because I went against my guy by taking the road team even though these short turnarounds are such a benefit for the home club. I still think Seattle wins here, but I'm taking the 6 points. Go under the total.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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