Monday Night Football Predictions: Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks
Remember, there's no Monday night (or Thursday night) game in Week 17, so just three MNF games left including this week. And it's one of the biggest games on the Week 14 schedule with Minnesota visiting Seattle.
The Seahawks (7-5) won't be winning the NFC West as the Rams already have clinched that for a second year in a row. So it's wild-card or bust for Pete Carroll, who might be doing his best-ever coaching job. This his is least-talented team in a while with the Legion of Boom having broken up, etc. Yet there Seattle sits at No. 5 in the NFC standings. Bovada gives the Hawks odds of -1400 to make the playoffs, which seems awfully generous, and +650 not to.
Seattle closes in San Francisco, vs. Kansas City and vs. Arizona. So that seems like 2-1 at a minimum. Win Monday and 10-6 should be a near-lock unless Russell Wilson gets hurt. Ten wins would be plenty for a wild-card spot in the NFC. The Seahawks currently hold head-to-head tiebreakers over Dallas and Carolina but would lose one to Chicago.
Minnesota (6-5-1) was great last year and supposed to be at least as good in 2018 in upgrading at quarterback from Case Keenum to Kirk Cousins, but it hasn't worked out for whatever reason. Injuries are one part of it, especially on a weak offensive line. The Vikes are -160 to make the playoffs and +120 to miss. They have two routes: the wild card and the NFC North, sitting just a game in the loss column (but really 1.5 games overall due to a tie) behind the Bears - who probably lose Sunday night to the Rams. Minnesota closes vs. Miami, at Detroit and vs. Chicago.
Seahawks at Vikings Betting Story Lines
If you like a wide-open, gimmicky, pass-happy, trick-play offense like the Chiefs or Rams run, well, the Seahawks aren't for you. They are old-school: Pound the rock and put Wilson into manageable third-and-short. Seattle leads the NFL in carries (380) and rushing yards (1,786). Yep, it's also last in pass attempts (326). Didn't Carroll get the message that this is 2018 and you are supposed to pass the ball like 70 percent of the time? Just for a point of comparison, the Chief have attempted 297 rushing plays and 429 passing (that ratio is likely to get more pass-heavy without Kareem Hunt).
Seattle took Rashaad Penny with its first-round pick this season in what many thought was a reach, and Penny was expected to be the primary ball-carrier but it has been Chris Carson with Penny and Mike Davis mixed in - plus Wilson remains one of the best running QBs in the NFL. Carson left last week's blowout win over San Francisco with a dislocated finger but is expected to play. However, starting right guard D.J. Fluker hurt his hammy and will miss a while. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who played really well in three early-season games before getting suspended for an insider trading arrest, has been activated.
Really not sure why the Vikings aren't better - other than the O-Line. The defense is still good, if not at 2017 levels. Minnesota allows third-down conversions just 29.9 percent of the time, which is first in the NFL. It ranks No. 6 in yards allowed, No. 7 against the rush, No. 9 against the pass but 14th in points allowed (22.5 ppg).
It should be noted that Minnesota has yet to beat at team with a winning record currently and is 0-5 this year when allowing at least 100 yards rushing - the Patriots had 160 in last week's 24-10 loss. Cousins has nice numbers but has been up-and-down. He wasn't great last week (201 yards two picks) and wasn't a few weeks ago in a loss in Chicago (two picks). Adam Thielen has been maybe the greatest undrafted receiver in league history, for one year at least, as his 98 receptions lead the league and are third-most in NFL history through the first 12 games of a season. His 1,166 receiving yards rank second in the NFL, and his nine receiving touchdowns are tied for fifth. Thielen's nine 100-yard games are a franchise record - a franchise that had Cris Carter and Randy Moss.
Vikings at Seahawks Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Seattle is a 3-point favorite with a total of 45.5. On the moneyline, the Seahawks are -170 and Vikings +150. On the alternate lines, Seattle is -3.5 (+105) and -2.5 (-145). The Vikings are 6-5-1 against the spread (3-3 on road) and 5-7 "over/under" (4-2 on road). The Seahawks are 7-3-2 ATS (3-1-1 at home) and 6-6 O/U (3-2 at home).
Minnesota is 2-9 ATS in its past 11 Monday games and 1-7 ATS in its previous eight vs. teams with a winning record. Seattle is 5-0-1 ATS in its past six vs. the NFC and 22-9-1 ATS in its previous 32 in December. The under is 5-1 in the Vikes' past six after a loss. It's 6-2 in the Hawks' previous eight on Monday. The home team is 4-1 in the past five meetings.
Vikings at Seahawks Betting Prediction
It's Minnesota's 62nd all-time game on MNF yet, amazingly, its first against Seattle. The Seahawks have won the past four meetings but they haven't played since the wild-card round following the 2015 season when Seattle upset the Vikings on a blistering cold day at the University of Minnesota, 10-9. I'll just let you Google "Blair Walsh" regarding that game.
Fully expect a physical, low-scoring game. So hard to win at Seattle at night, while Cousins has a terrible prime-time record. Take the Seahawks -2.5 and go under the total.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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