By: Trent Pruitt (@trentbets)
The Seattle Seahawks limp into Thursday night’s game having lost two straight games and now sit at 6-3. The Arizona Cardinals are also 6-3 but entering Thursday Night Football with much better vibes after the walkoff hail mary from Kyler Murray to DeAndre Hopkins against the Bills on Sunday. This is a huge matchup for the NFC West which is up for grabs with the Rams also sitting at 6-3. Let’s break down the stats, trends, and available information and start the new NFL week with a winning pick!
Spread: SEA -3 (-115)
Money Line: SEA -165, ARI +145
Total: 57.5 (O -110, U -110)
Kickoff: 8:20 ET, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
Kliff Kingsbury, Kyler Murray, & Co. have generated the number one offense in terms of yards in 2020 and they have the best run game in the league. Kenyan Drake (612), Kyler Murray (604), and Chase Edmonds (302) lead the charge on the ground and I love what Kingsbury is doing. If you want to try and win in the NFL with a dual-threat quarterback, then you have to 100% embrace it and build around him. That’s what Kliff is doing and it’s paid off for them so far as they have a share of the lead in one of the toughest divisions in football. The receiving corps. is led by DeAndre Hopkins with 861 yards, 67 receptions, and he leads the team with 88 targets. Christian Kirk (427 yards) has emerged as a nice number two for Kyler Murray while Larry Fitzgerald has still found productivity hauling in 35 balls for 274 yards.
Defensively, the Cardinals are mediocre in terms of yardage against but they play aggressive and really turn it up in the red zone. They have the 3rd best defensive red zone efficiency, limiting opponents to touchdowns 51.6% of the time. They’re also 9th in 3rd down efficiency, getting off of the field on 3rd down 61.1% of the time. Say what you want about the yardage they give up, but Vance Joseph’s defense gets off the field and limits opposing team’s points when they are threatening.
Russell Wilson hasn’t been nearly as sharp as he’d like as of late. He’s thrown 10 interceptions this season with seven of those coming over the last four games. Russ threw three against this Cardinals team back in their 37-34 overtime loss on October 25th. He threw the ball 50 times in that game, racking up 388 yards and three TD’s but all of that means nothing if you turn it over three times and come away with the loss. Tyler Lockett is still Russell Wilson’s go-to man as he leads the team in targets and receptions (79, 58) but D.K. Metcalf is the leader in receiving yards with 816 on 45 catches. The run game is “middle of the pack” as they’re 13th in yards (1,048) but they do average 4.9 yards per attempt on the ground which is good enough for 6th in the NFL.
The issue with the Seahawks is their pass defense – it’s historically bad. They’ve given up 3,180 yards through the air which is dead last and they’ve been terrible at getting off the field on third down, where they only get stops 50.8% of the time (30th). Jamal Adams is back in the secondary but they’ve still been torched for 809 yards over the two games since his return from the injury. Initially I thought it might be a lack of pressure that is giving opposing quarterbacks a lot of time to throw, but Seattle is 10th in the league with 19 sacks.
Final Analysis & Best Bet
The oddsmakers have come to the conclusion that this is going to be a shootout as they’ve set the total at 57-57.5. I think they have no choice but to go that high after seeing these two teams combine for 71 the last time out. Regardless of this line, I don’t like it either way as it’s going to be raining in Seattle tonight and on the flip side, I cannot trust Pete Carroll’s defense… especially against an emerging offense like Arizona.
With that being said, I’m going to trust them enough to win this game. For my best bet I’m taking Seattle on the money line tonight at -165 for a unit. Seattle is 4-0 this season at home. They’ve won those four games by a combined 23 points (5.75 ppg) so they haven’t been very convincing wins, but they’ve gotten the job done. I think it’s going to come down to Russell Wilson taking this game into his own hands in the primetime spotlight and grinding out a win. I’m also going to throw this out there… I believe the Cardinals are overrated and I don’t think their schedule has been very challenging. Four of their six wins have come against sub .500 teams and the other two wins were at home and with a combined winning margin of five points.
Finally, I love to fade a young quarterback on the road with a short week. I have no idea what the statistics say in regards to this but I stand behind the philosophy. It’s going to be a wet one tonight at a tough place to play so I’m confident that there will be some mistakes made by the Cardinals offense.
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