Thursday Night Football Picks: Seahawks home underdogs against Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks
Thursday, 12/1/11, 8:20 PM EST, TV:  NFL
Opening Point Spread:  Philadelphia -3.5
Current Betting Line:  Philadelphia -2.5
Opening Total:  45.5
Current Total:  43.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Seahawks Eagles Thursday Night Football Preview
Tavaris Jackson and the Seahawks are small home underdogs against the Eagles.

The Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles both made the playoffs as division champions a year ago, and now each team is merely fighting to stay alive for a spot in the postseason.  The Seahawks (4-7) are one loss or one San Francisco victory away from being eliminated from contention for the NFC West title and falling to the Eagles (4-7) at home could make it nearly impossible to make the playoffs as a Wild Card.

Philadelphia (-2.5, O/U 43.5) has a slightly better chance to win the NFC East, trailing division leader Dallas by three games with five left to play, including a rematch with the Cowboys looming in Week 17.  The Eagles won the first meeting 34-7 in Week 7 but have lost three of four since then after getting routed by New England 38-20 at home last Sunday.

Philly quarterback Michael Vick is unlikely to play for the third straight game due to broken ribs with backup Vince Young taking over yet again under center if he can’t go.  Against the Patriots, Young threw for a career-high 400 yards, many of which came while he was trying to rally his team back.

Running back LeSean McCoy was limited to 31 yards on 10 carries for the Eagles but still scored a touchdown for the 10th time in 11 games.  McCoy leads the NFL in rushing with 1,050 yards and will be facing a Seattle defense that is giving up 100.9 yards per game on the ground.

The Seahawks could not find a way to stop Washington RB Roy Helu last week in a 23-17 home loss to the Redskins.  Helu carried the ball 23 times for 108 yards and also caught seven passes for 54 yards.  Meanwhile, Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch has continued his strong play of late, breaking the century mark for the third time in four games with 111 yards on 24 carries.

Lynch’s ability to get opponents to respect his team’s running game has been the key to balancing out the offense.  The Seahawks won their previous two games before losing to Washington, including a 22-17 home victory against Baltimore in Week 10.  They are 3-1 against the spread in their last four games and 6-2-1 ATS in their past nine.

Philadelphia has failed to cover three of four and seven of 10.  The Eagles have dropped two of the last three meetings with Seattle both straight-up and ATS but won the last one 26-7 on the road in 2008 as 7-point favorites.  The OVER is 3-1 in the past four meetings.

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