The Seattle Seahawks have surprised some people who felt that in a season where San Francisco was coming off a Super Bowl appearance, and the L.A. Rams were going to get healthier on the offensive line, the NFC West was going to be a very difficult place to be competitive in.
But the ‘Hawks are the NFC’s only unbeaten team at the moment, and they will put that clean mark on the line on Sunday night when they visit the desert for a game with the Arizona Cardinals. Game time at State Farm Stadium (formerly University of Phoenix Stadium) in Glendale, Arizona will be 8:20 PM ET.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS at ARIZONA CARDINALS
BetOnline Sunday Night NFL Odds: Seahawks -3.5
Total: 55 points (Over -115, Under -105)
In this election year, Russell Wilson continues his campaign for Most Valuable Player. Wilson has 73% completions and 19 touchdown passes, and has been intercepted only three times.
We certainly can’t disparage much of what Seattle can do on offense, because they have been the most successful team in term of scoring touchdowns in the red zone, doing so on 88% of all occasions.
But there is something Arizona is doing inside the 20-yard lines that is also remarkable. When you look at the offensive end, they are second only to Seattle in points and TD’s per red zone appearance. And defensively, they have allowed fewer points per red zone trip (on the part of opponents) than any NFL team. And that is probably one factor that contributes to Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury getting such a nice start out of the gate as an NFL head coach – relative to the pointspread – as he is currently 14-7-1 ATS.
It is not lost on us that the Cardinals could wind up winning by 28 points even though they were able to get only nine completions out of their quarterback. They can win the game in more than one way, and that isn’t something that one necessarily expects out of an Air Raid team. If you don’t believe us, just go look at the rushing numbers assembled on a yearly basis by Kingsbury’s mentor, Mike Leach, at Washington State and now Mississippi State.
But with Kyler Murray contributing to those rushing numbers, you have an automatic threat on the ground. And they obviously had something very concrete in mind when they plucked Kenyan Drake off the Miami Dolphins’ roster a year ago. Drake came into the weekend fourth in the NFL in rushing, with 478 yards, and Murray leads everybody in yards per rush attempt at 7.3. Who’d have thought that Arizona, where Kingsbury didn’t speak a lot about establishing a formidable ground game when he took over the reins, would be running the ball 46% of the time, while Seattle, where Pete Carroll gives the ground game all the lip service it could possibly get, would have only 39% runs?
And who would have thought that the Seahawks, who came into this week priced at +700 to win the Super Bowl at BetOnline, have been a team full of close calls? Since the beginning of last season, only two of their 17 wins have come by more than one possession. So you want to be careful in terms of the number you want to lay with them. Wilson is unquestionably a magician who can walk the tightrope, but the fact that the Seahawks get themselves there so often should tell you something. In this atmosphere, we’re going to want to take the points with ARIZONA.
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