NFL Wildcard Betting Pick: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys
The second game of Saturday’s wildcard doubleheader will feature the Seattle Seahawks (10-6) traveling to AT&T Stadium to take on the Dallas Cowboys (10-6). These two teams are basically mirror images of one another as they both rely on strong defenses and have fantastic run games. These two did square off against one another in week 3, with the Seahawks winning 24-13, but not only was that game played in Seattle, but a lot has changed since then. For example, there was no Amari Cooper on the Cowboys at that point. For the Seahawks, they come into this game having won 2 in a row, including beating the vaunted Chiefs in week 16. For the Cowboys, they also come in on a 2-game winning streak, having beaten the Buccaneers and Giants over the last two weeks. The Seahawks and Cowboys will square off in the nightcap with kickoff scheduled for 8:15 pm ET.
The point spread for this one opens with the Dallas Cowboys as 1.5-point favorites playing at home. The over/under on total points scored is set at 43 points.
By The Numbers
On the offensive side, both teams rank in the top-10 in the NFL in rushing. The Cowboys rank 10th, rushing for an average of 122.7 yards per game while the Seahawks rank 1st with 160 yards per game. Neither of the teams is particularly strong in the passing game, with the Cowboys ranking 23rd (221.1 yards per game) and the Seahawks rank 27th with 193.3 yards per game. In terms of overall offense, the Seahawks are tied for 6th with 26.8 points, and the Cowboys rank 22nd with 21.2 points.
With the focus of both teams being on the run game, it is important to look at the defenses against the run. The Cowboys rank 5th against the run, allowing only 94.6 yards per game while the Seahawks rank 13th, allowing 113.2 yards per game. In terms of total points, the Cowboys rank 6th, allowing 20.2 points per game while the Seahawks rank 11th, allowing 21.7.
Seahawks Thrive In Primetime
There is something about playing at night that suits well for the Seahawks. In fact, under Russell Wilson, they are 22-5-1 in primetime games. Speaking of Wilson, this season he has thrown for 3,448 yards, 35 touchdowns, and only 7 interceptions. One area of weakness, though, is the fact that he has been sacked 51 times. Still, his mobility is helpful as he has also rushed for 376 yards this season.
His leading receivers this season have been Tyler Lockett (57 receptions, 965 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Doug Baldwin (50 receptions (618 yards, 5 touchdowns). On the ground, the Seahawks really thrived with Chris Carson in the backfield. This season he rushed for 1,151 yards and 9 touchdowns on 247 carries.
The leading defensive players include Bobby Wagner (138 tackles), Frank Clark (13 sacks) and both Bradley McDougald and Earl Thomas (3 interceptions apiece).
Dallas Looking To Dominate At Home
As I mentioned earlier, these two teams are mirror images, and that is exemplified in their quarterbacks. Like Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott can beat you with both his arm and his feet. In the air, he has thrown for 3,885 yards, 22 touchdowns, and just 8 interceptions. Like Wilson, though, he has been sacked a lot, having been brought down 56 times during the regular season. With his feet, Prescott has rushed for 305 yards and 6 touchdowns this season.
When you talk about the Cowboys’ offense, the focus is on Ezekiel Elliott. He has been fantastic this year, having rushed for 1,434 yards and 6 touchdowns on 304 carries. He also has 77 receptions for 567 yards and 3 touchdowns. Speaking of the receiving game, Amari Cooper has been everything that the Cowboys could have hoped for when they traded for him. On the season, Cooper has 75 catches for 1,005 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Defensively, Leighton Vander Esch leads the team with 140 tackles, while Demarcus Lawrence leads the team with 10.5 sacks. Vander Esch and Xavier Woods are tied for team lead with 2 interceptions apiece.
This Game Is A Coin Flip
This one is a tough one to call because of how similar these two teams are. We have already spoken about the Seahawks’ success in primetime games, but Dallas is equally as good at home, having gone 7-1 on the season. This one could really go either way, but I lean towards the team with the better running back and the better run defense. That is no knock on Carson, but I will take Ezekiel Elliott all day long in a battle of run games. For that reason, I am taking the Cowboys at home despite giving up the 1.5 points.
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