Saturday’s Wild Card matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys marks the beginning of the postseason for the NFC Conference. Seattle defeated Dallas earlier this year and looks to repeat that success on the road in a hostile environment.
The Cowboys look to establish themselves as a legitimate NFC contender by defeating Seattle in prime time on Saturday night. Kickoff inside AT&T Stadium is at 8:15 PM ET.
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The following odds are courtesy of live odds feed:
|Betting Data||Seattle Seahawks||Dallas Cowboys|
|Current S/U record||10-6||10-6|
|2018 ATS Home||5-2-1||5-2-1|
|2018 ATS Away||4-3-1||4-4|
|2018 O/U Home||5-3||5-3|
|2018 O/U Away||4-4||2-6|
Saturday night will mark the 20th time these two teams have played against each other, with the Cowboys leading the series at 10-9. This will also mark the 2nd time these two teams have played against each other in the playoffs. Their first encounter was the 2007 NFC Wild Card where Dallas botched a FG attempt at the end of the game to win it.
Seattle has won 4 of the last 5 games in his series including earlier this year when they defeated Dallas 24-13.
Seattle (10-6) clinched a playoff spot in Week 16 after they beat the Kansas City Chiefs at home. In Week 17 they won at the end of the game over the Cardinals and come into the playoffs having won 6 of their last 7 games overall. Seattle reshaped their roster and identity this year after many pundits believed they would be a bad team.
Now, Seattle is the one NFC team that nobody wants to play. Can the Seahawks keep this freight train rolling and beat Dallas again?
Dallas (10-6) surprised us all by playing most of their starters in Week 17 despite already locking up the NFC East division and having nothing to play for. However, the team wanted to get some momentum going into the playoffs. Dallas has won 7 of their last 8 games including that fantastic 13-10 win over the Saints in Week 13. Can Dallas defend their home turf on Saturday and win the WC game?
Depending on which online sportsbook you looked at, Dallas was favored as high as 3 points when the lines were first released. Since then, most online betting sites have seen that number come down to where Dallas is now favored by just 1 point.
The Over/Under opened at 42 total points with most NFL betting sites. Since then, the O/U is listed at 43.5 total points and could possibly climb another 1 to 2 points by Saturday.
This game is going to come down to two major factors: running the ball and quarterback play. Whoever gets the advantage in those areas will win the NFC Wild Card game. With that said, I believe the Seattle Seahawks will win this game.
Let’s start with the QBs first. Dallas QB Dak Prescott is a good, young quarterback, but he’s not as good as Russell Wilson. Prescott finished with 400 more passing yards, but Wilson had 13 more passing touchdowns. More importantly, Wilson has a huge advantage in playoff experience, playmaking abilities and is clutch in big moments. Prescott may get to this level at some point, but he’s not there now.
Both teams rush the ball really well and feature powerful running backs. Dallas finished 10th in the NFL in rushing yards at 122.7 ypg. They have the NFL’s leading rusher in Ezekiell Elliott who is also a beast out of the backfield in dump offs and screen passes.
The Seahawks led the NFL in rushing at 160 ypg and are led by Chris Carson who finished about 280 yards behind Elliott this year. However, Carson finished with 3 more rushing TDs than Elliott at 9 to 6.
Dallas finished 5th in the NFL against the run as they allowed just 94.6 ypg. Seattle was 13th as they allowed 113.2 ypg. In their game earlier this year, Dallas finished with 166 rushing yards and Seattle had 113 rushing yards. Elliott had 127 rushing yards and Carson had 102 rushing yards on twice as many carries. The difference was Wilson who finished with a 109.8 QB rating compared to Prescott at a 54.5 rating as he had two interceptions and a 14.3 QBR.
I see a similar outcome for this game. If Seattle can shut down Dallas’ run game then they will force Dak Prescott to beat them. With that said, I don’t see it happening. Wilson will once again outperform Prescott and could throw for 250+ yards if Dallas contains Chris Carson and the rest of Seattle’s running backs.
Speaking of Wilson, he’s gone 22-5-1 SU in his last 28 prime time games. The team has gone 11-2 SU in their last 13 primetime games, 11-2 ATS in their last 13 primetime games as an underdog, and 25-6-4 ATS in their last 35 overall primetime games.
In other words, they play on an entirely different level when the lights are on and the entire nation is watching. Dallas is 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games against Seattle, 2-4 ATS in their 6 Wild Card games, and 0-2 in January games.
I believe both defenses will be stout against the run and make the opposing QB beat them. With that said, Russell Wilson is very capable of winning this game by himself and I believe he will. Look for Wilson to shine in Dallas on Saturday night as the Seahawks win 23 – 20.
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