Buffalo Bills (4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (4-2-1 SU, 3-4 ATS)
NFL Football Week 9
Date/Time: Monday, November 7 at 8:30pm ET
Where: CenturyLink Field
by Evergreen, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BUF +7/SEA -7
Over/Under Total: 44
It is getting late early in the NFL with many teams in possession of records that are far below preseason expectations. Seattle was a popular pick to bounce back and regain a spot atop the NFC but the Seahawks have won just four of their first seven and find themselves in search of some consistent offense. The Buffalo Bills head to Seattle for Monday Night Football looking to break a two game losing streak in one of the toughest venues to steal a win as the visitor. Both teams are banged up a bit but someone has to get a win, I mean, how many ties are we going to see this year, right?
CenturyLink Field is home to the 12th man so the Hawks as 7-point favorites is a pretty common sight. This is the first meeting between these teams since 2012 so there isn’t much recent history to guide us but both teams have fared pretty well on Monday Night Football. The Bills are 3-1-1 against the spread in their last five MNF games with the Seahawks at 7-2-1 ATS in their ten played on Monday. Buffalo will need a plus effort as they have just two ATS wins in their last eight games on the road and one of those was the New England game with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. The Bills are the better team if you look at the Sagarin Computer ranks. Seattle gets the three points as the home team but this match is even on a neutral field according the computers so you can see what kind of effect the home field advantage Vegas thinks Seattle has.
The NFL is a quarterback league so you can’t avoid talking about the signal callers in this one. Russell Wilson is usually aces but he has been severely limited by multiple injuries over the last four games. He hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in any on the last three games and his running ability is completely absent. The inefficiency of Seattle’s offense with the injured Wilson was front and center during the 6-6 tie against Arizona and the Seahawks were only able to muster 20 in a loss to New Orleans last week. Their points per game average has dipped to 18.7 per contest, good for 29th in the league. Things are healthier in Buffalo but not much more productive with Tyrod Taylor at the helm. Taylor is a talented runner with 319 rushing yards and three scores but Buffalo is 31st in passing yards per game and Taylor is currently completing less than 59% of his passes. That doesn’t cut it in the NFL and those numbers are even worse if you take away a couple of big plays from the Jets game. Buffalo has leaned on their ability to run the ball, especially their 5.5 yards per rush as at team but LeSean McCoy and Reggie Bush are both questionable for Monday, leaving Mike Gillislee as the lone healthy running back. Gillislee is averaging 6.5 yards per carry in limited work but he will have to run against the 7th best run defense in a hostile environment.
If McCoy can’t go, the Bills are really lacking for playmakers. Remember that Sammy Watkins is on the shelf so Robert Woods, Charles Clay and Marquise Goodwin are what Taylor has been working with in the pass game. NFL talent is NFL talent but I don’t think a Seattle defense that is allowing 319 total yards and 15.6 points per game is losing sleep about how to matchup against the Bills skill players. Safety Kam Chancellor is battling groin injury and may miss the game but the Seattle defense would remain in a tremendous position to hold down Buffalo. It is a tough sell to think that the Bills are going to hammer the ball against a solid defense. The Bills already lose the time of possession battle more often than not and that won’t change this Monday Night.
Seattle will be looking to push around a Buffalo run defense that is ranked 25th in the league. Christine Michael is a grinder but the Bills allow over four yards a rush and that should be plenty to keep Seattle moving and in third-and-short situations. C.J. Prosise went over 100 yards from scrimmage last week and should see more work as Pete Carroll continues to find ways to hide Wilson until he is right again. Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham are top-notch targets but they are working underneath much more given the limitations of Wilson. Seattle does have the better offensive pieces, especially with specialists like Tyler Lockett, but Buffalo is a good defense. This game could easily bog down as the Bills have been able to do the bend-don’t-break thing pretty well and they are no worse than 16th in total yards, passing yards and points allowed. Lorenzo Alexander leads the Bills with nine sacks from the linebacker spot.
This thing just smells like it is going to go the way the Arizona-Seattle game went. These are two teams that are looking like bottom-half offenses due to injury so the home field advantage looms tremendously large here. Seattle has made a living of winning ugly games in the Carroll-Wilson era and this one is right up their alley. Despite their struggles, the Hawks are in a really good spot to grab a hold of their division and I think they take a step toward the NFC West title this week. I don’t anticipate Wilson going four games without a TD pass and there is enough pass protection to hold back a very aggressive Bills front seven. It won’t be pretty, in fact, it will probably be another primetime game that will beg you to turn the channel but Seattle is the better defense, has the better chance of getting consistent offense. Taylor’s legs might keep the Bills in the mix in the second half but the Legion of Boom is going to make life tough on the sometimes ineffective thrower that is not backed up by his stud running back. There was little Buffalo could do while catching a 41-25 beatdown against the Patriots and while they probably won’t give up 41 this week, they shouldn’t expect to get to 25 either. Take Seattle, the seven isn’t too much as they nab a 24-13 win.
Evergreen’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Seattle
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