NFL Sunday Night Football Betting Picks: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Arizona

Sunday, December 21, 2014, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Opening Line: Seattle -7 1/2
Current Line: Seattle -8 1/2
Opening Total: 37
Current Total: 36 1/2
Opening Money Line: Seahawks -360 / Cardinals +295
Current Money Line: Seahawks -400 / Cardinals +300

Seattle is an 8.5 point favorite on the road at Arizona in a battle for first place in the NFC West.
Seattle is an 8.5 point favorite on the road at Arizona in a battle for first place in the NFC West.

Despite being 11-3 and tied for the best record in football, the Arizona Cardinals are 8.5 point underdogs at home against the 10-4 Seattle Seahawks. Arizona is undefeated at home, but Seattle has been the best team in football over the last 4 weeks. Arizona has already clinched a playoff spot and can clinch the NFC West title with a win Sunday night. Seattle will clinch a playoff spot with a win but can’t clinch the division title yet. The Seahawks would hold the tiebreaker over the Cardinals by virtue of sweeping the season series though.

Since 2001, Seattle leads the series 14-11 against Arizona. The Seahawks have won 3 of the last 4 meetings against the Cardinals, including 19-3 in Seattle last month.

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Seattle is coached by Pete Carroll. The Seahawks have road losses at the San Diego Chargers 30-21 St. Louis Rams 28-26 and Kansas City Chiefs 24-20. The Seahawks lost at home to the Cowboys 30-23. Seattle has home wins over the Green Bay Packers 36-16, Denver Broncos 26-20 in overtime, Oakland Raiders 30-24, Arizona Cardinals 19-3, and and San Francisco 49ers 17-7 last week, plus road wins at the Redskins  27-17, Carolina Panthers 13-9, 49ers 19-3 and at the Eagles 24-14. Seattle has won 4 straight games and 7 of the last 8 games. The Seahawks are 7-6-1 ATS and the total is 7-7 this season. Seattle was a 10 point favorite against San Francisco and the total was 38.

Arizona is coached by Bruce Arians. The only losses for the Cardinals came at the Denver Broncos 41-20, Seattle Seahawks 19-3 and Atlanta Falcons 29-18. The Cardinals have home wins over the San Diego Chargers 18-17, San Francisco 49ers 23-14, Washington Redskins 30-20, Philadelphia Eagles 24-20, St. Louis Rams 31-14, Detroit Lions 14-6 and the Kansas City Chiefs 17-14. Arizona also has road wins at the New York Giants 25-14, Oakland Raiders 24-13, Dallas Cowboys 28-17 and St. Louis Rams 12-6 last week. Arizona has won 2 straight games. The Cardinals are 10-4 ATS and the total is 4-9-1 this season. Arizona was a 6 point underdog against St. Louis and the total was 40.5.

Seattle is outscoring teams 24-17. The Seahawks are #11 in scoring and #2 in points allowed. Seattle is averaging 362 yards per game on offense including 193 passing and 169 rushing yards per game. The Seahawks are #1 in rushing in the NFL, but #29 in passing. Seattle is allowing 272 yards per game on defense including 184 passing and 88 rushing yards per game. The Seahawks lead the league in total and pass defense and are #5 in rush defense. Seattle is 81/195 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 76/187. The Seahawks have forced 29 sacks and allowed 38 this season. Seattle is +8 in turnovers this season. The Seahawks have 2 defensive touchdowns and have allowed a defensive and a special teams touchdown.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has completed 62.6% his passes for 2,897 yards with 18 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He also has 106 carries for 754 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns. Running back Marshawn Lynch has 256 carries for 1,143 yards and 10 touchdowns, plus 34 catches for 331 yards and 4 touchdowns. Robert Turbin and Christine Michael will also get some carries.

Receiver Doug Baldwin has 56 catches for 669 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jermaine Kearse has 37 catches for 529 yards and a touchdown. Ricardo Lockette, tight end Cooper Helfet and Turbin each have two touchdown catches. Helfet is probable with an ankle injury.  Tight end Zach Miller is out for the season with an ankle injury.  Ten defensive players and four offensive linemen are listed as questionable or out.

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Arizona is outscoring teams 21-17 this season. The Cardinals are #3 in points allowed and #22 in scoring. Arizona is averaging 322 yards per game on offense including 237 passing and 84 rushing yards per game. The Cardinals are #25 in total offense and #28 in rushing. On defense, Arizona is allowing 350 yards per game including 260 passing and 90 rushing yards per game. The Cardinals are #29 in pass defense and #6 in rush defense. Arizona is 85/202 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 76/204. The Cardinals have forced 33 sacks and allowed 22 this season. Arizona is +12 in turnovers. The Cardinals have four defensive and and one special teams touchdowns and have allowed a defensive touchdown.

What has made the Cardinals’ great start even more remarkable is the fact that Arizona has used 4 quarterbacks this season. Carson Palmer missed three games with a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder. He was replaced by Drew Stanton. Even rookie Logan Thomas took some snaps against the Broncos when Stanton was injured. Palmer tore his ACL and is out for the season. Stanton is out indefinitely with a knee injury. He was replaced by Ryan Lindley last week against the Rams. Lindley will get the start against the Seahawks. Lindley has 180 pass attempts in his NFL career and has yet to throw a touchdown pass. He was 4/10 for 30 yards against the Rams. Palmer  completed 62.9% of his passes for 1,626 yards with 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Stanton has thrown for 1,711 yards with 7 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with 25 carries for 63 yards. Thomas was only 1/8 against the Broncos but the one completion was an 81 yard touchdown pass. Thomas could also see some snaps if Lindley falters.

Running back Andre Ellington has 201 carries for 660 yards with 3 touchdowns, plus 46 catches for 395 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is out for a season with a hip injury. Jonathan Dwyer, Kerwynn Williams and Stepfan Taylor will split the carries without Ellington. The trio has combined for under 400 rushing yards and only 2 touchdowns. Taylor does have 3 touchdown catches though.

Receiver Larry Fitzgerald has 57 catches for 722 yards and 2 touchdowns. John Brown has 41 catches for 591 yards and 5 touchdowns.  Michael Floyd has 37 catches for 647 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tight end John Carlson has 30 catches for 329 yards and a touchdown. Seven defensive players are questionable to out for the Cardinals.

Seattle is 4-0-1 ATS after allowing 150 passing yards or less, 3-0-1 overall, and after allowing less than 250 total yards, 12-3-1 in December, 4-1-1 against NFC West teams, 10-3 against teams with winning home records, 3-1-1 after a straight up win, and after allowing 15 points or less, 9-3 on grass, 20-7-1 against teams with winning records, 14-6 in road games, 36-16-1 against NFC teams, and 1-4 in week 16. Nine of the last ten games in this series in Arizona have gone under the total.

Arizona is 6-0 ATS at home and on grass, 7-1 in December, 6-1 after a cover, 5-1 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 13-3 after a straight up win, 4-1 against teams with winning records, 12-3 against NFC teams, 16-5 overall, 5-2 after scoring less than 15 points and against NFC West teams, 7-3 after allowing less than 15 points, and 2-5 after passing for less than 150 yards. The home team is 5-2 ATS in this series recently. The Cardinals have covered 6 of the last 8 games at home against the Seahawks.

This should be a very low scoring game with two defensive minded teams. Arizona needs to get some offensive production out of Lindley. Good luck with that against the league’s #1 defense. Arizona beat St. Louis last week with only 4 field goals. That won’t happen against the Seahawks. The crowd will be frenzied as Arizona can also clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs, including potentially the Super Bowl in their home stadium. Arizona’s defense keeps it close but Seattle escapes with a hard fought win.

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