Nobody expected the Minnesota Vikings to be where they are after the first eight weeks of the NFL season, but after a beating against the Bucs last week, many are wondering if this team is for real. Though the Vikes sit at a 5-3 record entering this game, they’ve yet to beat any impressive teams, and looked awful in Week 8 at home to Tampa Bay. Now they’ll travel to one of the most hostile atmospheres in football, with hopes they can get their season back on track. Going against a ferocious Seahawks’ defense certainly won’t be an easy feat.
Seattle sits with an average 4-4 record entering this game, but they’re an entirely different team at home compared to on the road. In fact, since 2002 the Seahawks are 61% against the spread, compared to just 39% when on the road. They have been simply amazing in front of their home fans, and look for that trend to continue throughout the rest of the season. Seattle’s defense is still a strong point of their team, though they were shredded last week in Detroit. Look for a huge bounce-back outing from that unit, as coach Pete Carroll were certainly have his guys inspired to end this mini-slide. Wide-out Braylon Edwards and DT Jason Jones will both miss their second straight games, while key wide receiver Doug Baldwin should re-enter the fold. This is a big game for Seattle’s play-off push, and expect CenturyLink Field to be as loud as ever.
Minnesota enters Week 9 as a puzzling group, and to be honest, I’m quite anxious to see how they’ll fare in this type of environment. They’ve really yet to net an impressive victory this season, and coming off a bad loss and going into Seattle to take on a motivated Seahawks team just seems like a recipe for disaster. The Vikes would appear to be a fraudulent 5-3 group but we’ll find out for sure Sunday afternoon. Minnesota’s run-defense is porous, and that’s being kind. Stopping Marshawn Lynch will be an issue. Add in the fact that the Vikings will be without their best man cover man in cornerback Chris Cook, and their defense could be sleepless in Seattle. This is a watershed game for both teams, and it will be very interesting to see what the Vikings can muster in one of the game’s harshest environments.
Vikings vs. Seahawks Betting Odds:
Minnesota Vikings +4 (-110)
@ Seattle Seahawks -4 (-110)
Over 38.5 (-110)
Under 38.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Vikings vs. Seahawks Pick:
To be perfectly honest, I’m still confused as to how this Vikings team is sitting with a 5-3 record. Last week’s outing was dismal against the Bucs, and that’s what I consider to be a fair reflection of this overachieving group. They’ve had a nice ride, but expect their season to come crashing to a halt at CenturyLInk Field on Sunday. This is one of football’s toughest atmospheres, and the Seahawks frankly play like Super Bowl contenders in these confines. Already this season Seattle’s knocked off guys like Romo, Rodgers, and Brady, so Christian Ponder likely won’t be too much of a challenge.
Look for Seattle to absolutely pound the rock with Marshawn Lynch. Lynch’s career has been rejuvenated in Seattle, and he’ll produce yet another monster outing on Sunday. The Vikings run defense is incredibly soft, conceding 107 yards per game on the ground, so look for Seattle to exploit this for all four quarters.
Even though Russell Wilson has endured his fair share of struggles as a rookie quarterback this season, he’s thrived at home. Wilson currently holds a 116.9 quarterback rating, with six touchdowns and no picks in the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field, and expect another solid outing on Sunday. Minnesota has lost their top man in the secondary in cornerback Chris Cook, so the likes of Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin, and Golden Tate should all have solid games in the passing attack.
For Minnesota to have a chance in this contest, they’ll need to put the ball in the hands of their best players, Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin. But doing so against this stout Seattle defense is not going to be an easy task. Though Peterson leads the league in rushing yards, Seattle boasts a top-5 rush defense, and will be hungry after last week’s showing in Detroit. Meanwhile, Harvin has been dynamic for the Vikes so far in 2012, but his effectiveness is at times hampered by his quarterback. To date, Christian Ponder has yet to attempt a pass of 30 yards or more, and look for Seattle’s ferocious secondary to keep the Minnesota passing game in check. Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are two of the top press cover corners in the game, and Harvin will have very little time and space to get going.
It’s somewhat surprising the spread in this game is only sitting at 4 points. Seattle is not only the better team than Minnesota, but considering this game is taking place in the NFL’s most decisive home field setting, makes the line all the more surprising. Nonetheless, the Seahawks are the right side in this contest, and I don’t expect it to be all that close. Minnesota snapped back to reality in Week 8, and those will be the Vikes we’ll see the rest of the way. Seattle by double digits in this one.
PICK = Seattle -4 (-110)