The NFC West is on center stage this week as the (4-4) Arizona Cardinals host the (5-3) Seattle Seahawks in a Thursday night showdown that looks to have early implications on the NFC wildcard spots (8:25pm ET).
The Seahawks and Cardinals are on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff race. Seattle, at 5-3, is tied with the Dallas Cowboys for the sixth seed but due to divisional and conference records, is one spot behind them in the standings. Arizona, at 4-4, is currently sitting in 12th place, but tied with four other teams record-wise, including the Atlanta Falcons who are the eighth seeded team in the conference.
Both the Cardinals and Seahawks are still in the race and not just for the wildcard either. While the NFC West-leading (6-2) LA Rams have looked really good, they still only have the one game lead over Seattle and two game lead over Arizona. Anything could happen over the final stretch of games this season, and this Thursday night first meeting of the Cardinals and Seahawks this year, will go a long way to determining who stays in the race and who falls out of it.
Seattle under the Lights
When it comes to sports betting, one of the hardest things to handicap are the trends, due to the level of turnover that often happens in sports. Sure putting money on a matchup of a team going 10-0 against another team is something to consider, but what does it really mean if that 0-10 team now has a new head coach and quarterback? How much faith can one reasonably put in that kind of trend if there have been massive roster and coaching shakeups?
Probably not much but that doesn’t mean trends should be ignored altogether, especially those trends which suggest an individual player’s dominance, such as this one: The Seahawks are 16-4-1 ATS and 17-4 SU, in Russell Wilson’s 21 career prime-time starts.
That’s not just one team beating another team with consistency. That’s Wilson, Seattle’s QB, being absolutely unstoppable in his entire career, against any and all teams, when it comes to playing under the lights.
Putting stats to the trend, Wilson has a career QB rating of 106.5 at night, and over 20 touchdowns to just three interceptions in games on Monday or Thursday nights. He has excelled on that stage, be it at home or on the road. Unlike trends which change alongside the fluctuation of teams, this doesn’t seem like one that will be affected anytime soon.
The Impact of Adrian Peterson
The 2017 season began incredibly quietly for the 32-year-old Adrian Peterson. A Pro Bowl running back with the Minnesota Vikings for the first 10 years of his career, Peterson found himself with a new team, the New Orleans Saints, prior to the start of this year. The fresh start seemed like it would do Peterson well but New Orleans barely used him. In four games, Peterson totaled just 27 carries, never once eclipsing nine carries in a single contest.
New Orleans’ failure to utilize Peterson left many with questions about how much gas the veteran had left in his tank. Those questions however, were quickly dispelled when Arizona came calling. Fresh off the loss of their own top back, David Johnson, the Cardinals traded for Peterson and the season turned around for the former Saint. In just three games, Peterson has already amassed 74 carries, and two games of over 130 yards rushing. The most yards he had in a single game in New Orleans was 33.
Peterson has turned back the clock and has helped the Cardinals to two wins in the three games he has played. Against Seattle however, Peterson is likely to face his toughest test this season as the Seahawks boast the league’s 10th best road run defense, allowing just 106 yards per game. That being said, with the sheer volume of carries Peterson is expected to get, due to Arizona’s less than stellar confidence in Drew Stanton at quarterback, topping 100 wouldn’t at all be a surprise.
Stats Of Interest
- The total has hit the over in 10 of the last 13 games Seattle has played on the road against Arizona.
- The Seahawks are 8-0 SU and 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games following a loss as a betting favorite.
- The Cardinals are 1-4 ATS in their last five when playing at home against the Seahawks.
Our Preview’s Seahawks vs. Cardinals Picks & Predictions
Their record may suggest otherwise, but the Arizona Cardinals really have not been a good team this year. The opponents they have beaten are a dreadful 5-30 combined on the season, including two wins against the hapless and winless San Francisco 49ers, who Arizona bested most recently. For as bad as their opponents have been, the Cardinals haven’t come by these wins as easily as they should have. It took them an overtime period to beat the Indianapolis Colts and 49ers in the teams’ first meeting in early October. They also barely scraped by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This Cardinals team may be the most undeserving 4-4 team that the NFL has seen in quite some time.
They will be faced with a tough task in the Seahawks, who had been on cruise control prior to this past Sunday’s loss against the Washington Redskins. Seattle opened the year 1-2 before going on a four-game winning streak which included a victory over the Rams, one that could come into play depending on how both teams finish out the year. In those four games, almost no team in the NFL looked better.
Seattle will be looking to get back to their winning ways and to get back to a position where they can run with the Rams for the NFC West title race. A win against the Cardinals is the first step.
- With Wilson’s dominance in night games, this preview’s betting pick is to bet on Seattle -5.5pts @ -120 with BetOnline. All the other top rated sports betting websites have the spread at 6 to 6.5 points.
- Given what we know about the way these teams almost always play to the over in Arizona as well, the prediction is to take the over on the modest 41.5 total @ best odds of -108, once again courtesy of BetOnline.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.