The Spread and Total
Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5, O/U 47) at Seattle Seahawks, courtesy of Sportsbetting.ag.
If that line looks weird, it’s because the Seahawks have never been that big of a home underdog in the Russell Wilson era. Some books have it even worse, with the Eagles installed as a six-point favorite.
Philadelphia Eagles: 10-1 SU (9-2 ATS); 1st NFC East
Seattle Seahawks 7-4 SU (4-6-1 ATS); 2nd NFC West
WR Alshon Jeffery (foot), probable; LB Derek Barnett (groin), probable; C Jason Kelce (ankle), probable.
DE Malik McDowell (concussion), out; G/T Oday Aboushi (shoulder), doubtful; DE Dion Jordan (neck), questionable; TE Luke Willson (concussion), questionable; S Earl Thomas (heel), questionable.
Nov. 26, 2016 (CenturyLink Field): Seattle 26 Philadelphia 15
Dec. 14, 2014 (Lincoln Financial Field): Seattle 24 Philadelphia 14
Significant ATS Trends
Favorites dominated the month of November, going 37-15-4 against the spread. The Eagles were a big part of that, having covered in eight straight games. All told, they’re 9-2 ATS this season.
Since drafting Carson Wentz, the Eagles are 6-7 ATS on the road.
The Seahawks have won their last eight Week 13 games straight up and ATS.
Since 2015, Seattle is 11-16-1 ATS following a SU win.
For both teams, three of the last four games have gone UNDER.
This game is the last great chance for Russell Wilson to close the expansive gap between himself and Carson Wentz for MVP. Those of you who don’t have money riding on Wilson may not have realized what a great argument can be made for him; the numbers are staggering. He’s currently accounting for 82.5-percent of the Seahawks’ yards from scrimmage, which would be an NFL record for a season (eclipsing the 81.8-percent mark set in 2006 by the great … Jon Kitna??). He’s tied for third in the league with 3,029 passing yards and leading his team with 401 rushing yards. With the Legion of Boom now completely decimated and Seattle on the outside of the playoff picture, any run Seattle makes down the stretch will be spurred almost entirely by Wilson.
However, there’s a reason the Wentz wagon had to be scrapped; it’s not big enough to contain all the attention the second year QB is getting. Instead, he needed an entire state to fit all his backers, and Wentzylvania will argue there’s been no one better in 2017. Not only do his 28 passing touchdowns lead the league, but the Eagles have the top scoring offense and the NFL’s best record. In fact, with a win this weekend, they’ll already clinch the NFC East title, their first since 2013.
A little over one year ago, Wentz and the Eagles had a day to forget in Seattle. A then-rookie, Wentz tossed two interceptions and completed just over 50-percent of his passes in a 26-15 loss. Nelson Agholor caused a 57-yard touchdown to be called back after lining up incorrectly, and the defensive line barely mustered any pressure on Wilson. This year, it would be a shock for any of those things to happen again. Wentz hasn’t had two turnovers in a game since Week 1; Agholor makes far more big plays than he misses now; and the defensive line may be the most dominant in all of football.
To go along with all those strengths, Philly also has a stable full of running backs capable of making big plays. Their offensive line continues to create holes for the run game, even without Jason Peters, and a secondary that was the Achilles heel of last year’s team is much improved, thanks in part to Patrick Robinson, the second-ranked corner per ProFootballFocus.
For as many positive changes as the Eagles have made, the Seahawks may have matched those in the negative category. This year’s team gets no production from their running backs, defensive backs Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor are out for the year, and Seattle has major deficiencies along the offensive line and in the kicking game. Just for fun, they also average the most penalties per game of any team.
That would seem to paint a pretty dour picture of their chances on Sunday, but the Seahawks can still pull off the upset because their strengths are really strong. We’ve already touched on how good Wilson has been this year, and he’s avoided any let-down games thanks to the emergence of Paul Richardson in the passing game. To go along with Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham, there are enough top-notch options to keep the chains moving regardless of the down and distance.
On defense, the Seahawks front seven is scary. Michael Bennett and Sheldon Richardson consistently win their battles, freeing up space for KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner to make plays. And though the two backers don’t blitz often, they are incredibly efficient when they do, with Wagner pressuring QBs 35-percent of the time and having a Defensive POY-type year, all around. If the Eagles have a weakness this year, it’s in pass protection. Wentz has made some dazzling plays while under pressure, but his refusal to just go down and take the sack will have him on the wrong side of some big hits one day. Perhaps Sunday is that day?
The Eagles haven’t gotten much help clearing the over in the past few weeks, with three of their last four opponents failing to score more than 10 points. Seattle can definitely pull their own weight on the scoreboard, making the OVER the most enticing play here.
The spread is a little tougher to make a call on. Although we’ve seen Seattle drop two straight at home, both were three-point losses coming in the final minutes. However, Philadelphia has shown an immunity to the let-down game. I’ll roll with Philly on this 5.5-point line, but this is far from a lock.
Picks: Eagles (-5.5) and OVER (47)