NFL Thursday Night Picks: Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks on FOX

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks

Time: 7:20 PM, FOX

Spread:  SEA -2.5

Total: 57

Odds c/o 5dimes

The Seattle Seahawks are 6-3 thus far and in first place in the NFC West. It will host the visiting Arizona Cardinals as 2.5-point favorites on its home field, as the game kicks off at 7:20 PM (EST) on FOX Thursday evening. The over-under is set at a somewhat high 57 points, a reflection of two strong offenses colliding in what promises to be a good game.

SEA

The Seattle Seahawks are in a three-way tie for first in the NFC West, when we get specific. It is tied with the team it hosts tonight, and also with the Los Angeles Rams. Seattle has lost three of its last four, including its last two to Buffalo and the LA Rams. It really needs a victory to get back on track this week.

Seattle has the No. 3 pass offense in the NFL at 289.4 yards per game with a middle-of-the-pack 116.4 yards via the rush. The result is the NFL’s highest-scoring team at 32.2 points per game, though the Seahawks also do nearly surrender 30 per contest, as well. Even so, Seattle has a +2.6 point differential and is a potent enough offensive team that its defense can have some bad nights while Seattle still picks up the “W.” It gave up 34 points to Buffalo for instance, but the offense generated 44 points and still won healthily. It is a stranger formula and Seattle will seek balance in future moves and drafts undoubtedly seeking to add some defensive playmakers to its “flat” unit.

The arm behind the No. 3 pass offense is veteran Russell Wilson, a player frequently emulated by new quarterbacks, but whose style has eluded even the very best of those prospects. Wilson makes those things look easy, such as averaging 7.2 yards per rush attempt and leading his entire team in rushing yardage. So is throwing nearly 70 percent for completion. Wilson does have 10 interceptions and suffered 30 sacks thus far, but his passer rating is still a superb 110.5. Seattle’s top three backfield options all average less than five yards per game, but Chris Carson is the best of those at 4.9 per-carry with a team-best three touchdowns. No one is matching Wilson’s production, though he has also fumbled once this season. Wilson ranks No. 2 in first downs as well with 18.

ARI

Arizona as mentioned is 6-3. It enters as winners of four of its last five overall, including last week’s two-point victory over the Buffalo Bills. The Cardinals are riding Kyler Murray from the pocket to the victor’s seat- ranking No. 1 in rushing yardage due to the dual-threat quarterback. Arizona generates 168.9 yards per game on the ground, while still ranking No. 13 in passing yardage at 256.6 per game. Resultantly, the offense ranks No. 7 in scoring at 29.6 points per game, while the Cardinals have a much better defense than Seattle. It limits opponents to just 23.3 points per game, ranking in the top-12 defenses in the NFL.

It is hard to find any fault with what Murray has done so far. He has a 68.2 percent passing clip at 331 yards per game and 17 touchdowns with eight picks. He has only been sacked 13 times in nine games despite holding the ball often, as he has to. Murray has rushed 87 times, which lingers behind lead running back Kenyan Drake who has 135 attempts. Murray has 604 yards to his 812, dominating him in yards-per-carry at 6.9 while Drake is just at 4.5. Chase Edmonds is nearly good for five yards-per, and he has 302 yards with a touchdown. Murray has 10 of the team’s 15 rushing touchdowns this season.

DeAndre Hopkins is the top receiver by a large margin. He has caught 67 of 88 targeted looks for 861 yards and four touchdowns. He also has 321 yards after the catch, and just one fumble despite the volume and additional yardage. Larry Fitzgerald ranks No. 2 in receptions but No. 3 in yardage due to obtaining just 7.8 yards-per-catch. Christian Kirk leads the team in touchdowns with six, and he has caught 27 of 46 targeted passes. The tight end Dan Arnold has caught 80 percent of his targeted looks but averages just 22 yards receiving per game and has no touchdowns to his credit yet.

Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez is 15 of 19 on attempts, with all four misses coming from beyond the 40, and one of those from beyond midfield. Gonzalez is 29 of 30 on PATs, and remains one of the most consistent kickers in the league. And Lee averages 43.9 yards and 39.8 net on his punts and has placed 8 of 15 attempts within the 20 yards line.

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