As the NFL season hits its midpoint, both the (3-3) Houston Texans and (4-2) Seattle Seahawks will look to keep their playoff hopes alive as they face each other on Sunday at CenturyLink Field (4:05 PM on CBS).
It wasn’t that long ago that the Seattle Seahawks were one of the bottom of the barrel teams in the NFL, struggling just to get wins let alone postseason appearances. But in 2012, the team began to turn it around and won the Super Bowl the following year. They have been powerhouses in the division and in the NFC ever since and the big reason why has been their defense.
Dating back to 2012, the Seahawks have had either the best or second best defense in all but one of the last five seasons. That was last year, when Seattle finished with just the third ranked defense in the NFL. Of course, being top-three doesn’t really sound like a bad thing especially given the Seahawks have yet to surrender over 20 points in a game as a season average ever since 2012. Most teams would kill to have that kind of defensive dominance and for such an extended stretch of time.
This year will mark the sixth season in a row that Seattle will have a defensive average of under -20 points allowed if everything holds. Currently, the Seahawks are tied for the best mark in the league, allowing an average of just 15.7 points per game. It is an incredible number and shows just how impressive Seattle’s defense has really been. Even more impressive however is that the Seahawks have continued to have this success despite losing several pieces of their secondary over the years including Byron Maxwell, Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond. However, the main three members of the so-called Legion of Boom are still in Seattle and clearly still causing trouble for opposing quarterbacks everywhere.
Watson vs the Seattle Secondary
That brings us to Deshaun Watson, Houston’s rookie quarterback, who is about to face the toughest test of his young career.
The last time a rookie quarterback won in Seattle was midway through the 2011 season or approximately 50 games ago. Now, the Seahawks haven’t faced 50 rookie quarterbacks at home in that span but it’s still a pretty lengthy period. Since Pete Carroll joined the Seahawks, rookie quarterbacks are only 1-7 when playing at CenturyLink Field. Of course, this is largely because of the team’s defense.
Seattle’s secondary is tough enough for any quarterback and opposing offense to play against, let alone one who’s barely gotten his feet wet in the league. That’s not to say Watson hasn’t excelled in his position because he has. Watson has a 101.1 rating, with 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns, which is good enough for second most in the NFL. He is having a stellar rookie campaign and nothing should be taken away for him for that. But this is by far the toughest defense he has ever faced.
Watson has the fifth-highest interception rate when pressured compared against the league’s third-best passer rating in situations where he is free to throw the ball at his pace. This is worth noting because the Seahawks have the 10th highest rate of pressuring opposing quarterbacks at home, which they do almost one-third of all dropbacks. Watson could be looking at a subpar passing performance in this one but fortunately he has an asset that Seattle doesn’t do the greatest job of defending against and that’s his legs. Watson has rushed for 202 yards on just 28 attempts, which is an average of over seven yards per carry. That’s a great number for any rusher especially at the quarterback position.
If Houston is to win on Sunday, it will be on the ground as the Seahawks have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards to opposing QBs and 17th overall in rushing yards.
Texans at Seahawks Stats To Ponder
- The Texans are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games following a victory.
- The Seahawks have won 10 of their last 11 games at home.
- The Texans are 3-8 in their last 11 games on the road.
Our Preview’s Houston vs Seattle Picks & Betting Predictions Verdict
It is really no surprise that the Seahawks, who have enjoyed such home field advantage over the past several years, enter this game staked as over one touchdown favorites with the online United States’ sports betting sites. The Seahawks are favored by 6.5 to 7 points with a points total for this NFL matchup projected to sit at 46pts.
- For starters, take the under on 46pts. The total has gone under in four of Houston’s last six games on the road and has gone under in four of Seattle’s last six games period. The Seahawks’ defense allows just over 15 points per game and their offense isn’t good for the other 30. The under seems to be a safe bet here and the best option is to pick under 46pts @ -110 with BetOnline. The other bookies are either under 45.5pts or have worse odds.
- As for our preview’s predictions on the spread, it also seems to be safe money to take the Seahawks to cover at home. Seattle is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games at home and 10-1 SU in their last 11. In fact, no one in the league has really enjoyed more home field advantage in recent memory than the Seahawks. This will come into play on Sunday and while it won’t be Seattle’s biggest asset in what should be a game they are expected to win, it certainly will be a factor. Take the Seahawks -6.5pts @ -118 with Bovada to win their sixth game of the season. Most other firms are at shorter betting odds or offer -7pts.
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.