By Jim Moore
One of these days, I’m going to be wrong with my prediction on a Seahawks game. One of these days, it’s going to be just like the horse races I used to handicap at Longacres – whoever I pick to win will finish way up the track.
But this is not one of these days. This is a day in which I extend my streak of picking against the spread on Seahawks games to 8-1. The only miss was the Green Bay game in which Golden Tate snatched a victory away from the Packers, leading to the real officials returning.
On Sunday the Seahawks host the Vikings at CenturyLink Field. Seattle is favored by 5 points, and I’m trying to figure out why the line isn’t higher than that.
Christian Ponder has led the Vikings to a 5-3 record but has thrown seven interceptions over the last four games. (AP)
The Seahawks should be favored by 7 or 8. Like most teams, they are much better at home. Plus everyone knows they have a bigger advantage than most teams with the ear-shattering 12th Man causing false-start penalties and havoc with opposing offenses.
I’m guessing that will help the Seahawks defense with their third-down struggles because the pass rush should be greatly improved at home. If Christian Ponder has blue jerseys in his face all day long, he’s going to have a heck of a time connecting with Percy Harvin and his other receivers.
Ponder has thrown seven interceptions in the last four games and has been sacked 10 times in his last three games. These are two sorry Vikings trends that should continue here. He’s a second-year quarterback who has never faced a road game like this one before.
It’s hard to bet against Adrian Peterson, who is on a pace to rush for 1,550 yards after his quick return from a torn ACL, but the Seahawks defense is fifth against the run in the NFL, allowing 85 yards a game.
John Clayton estimated Thursday that Peterson will not run for more than 70 yards against the Seahawks.
Conversely, Marshawn Lynch, also on a pace to rush for more than 1,500 yards this season, should pick up more than 100 yards on the ground for the Seahawks. Minnesota is 16th in the NFL against the run, allowing more than 107 yards a game. In their last two games, the Vikings have given up 135 rushing yards to Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin and 104 yards to Arizona’s LaRod Stephens-Howling.
Early in the week, I was concerned about the Seahawks’ passing game with injuries to Doug Baldwin and Braylon Edwards depleting the receiving corps. But Baldwin has recovered from his high ankle sprain and should play on Sunday, giving Russell Wilson a dependable slot receiver to go with the outside guys, Sidney Rice and Golden Tate.
Look for Wilson to take shots against rookie Josh Robinson, who replaces Chris Cook after the Vikings’ starting cornerback broke his arm last week against Tampa Bay.
I’m also expecting tight end Zach Miller to be more of a factor this week although Plan A should still be a steady diet of handoffs to Lynch.
Also of note, the Vikings, though 5-3, seem to be leveling off after being manhandled by Tampa Bay last week and looking ordinary in a 21-14 win over a bad Arizona team the week before. Remember that this was a 3-13 Vikings team last year.
I must be missing something that the guys in Vegas are seeing in the Vikings. What I’m seeing is a much different outcome than the 5-point spread suggests it will be. The official Go 2 Guy forecast calls for a long afternoon and long flight home for the Vikings.
My prediction: Seahawks 27, Vikings 10.