Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks Pick ATS
Arizona Cardinals (3-12 SU, 6-8-1 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (9-6 SU, 9-4-2 ATS)
NFL Week 17
Date/Time: Sunday, December 30, 2018 at 4:25PM EST
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle ,Washington
Point Spread: ARI +13.5/SEA -13.5
Over/Under Total: 38.5
The Arizona Cardinals come to CenturyLink on Sunday to face off with the Seattle Seahawks in NFC West action on week 17. The Cardinals are coming to the end of a season where not a ton went well. They look for their fourth win in what seems to be a tough spot against the Seattle Seahawks, winners of five of their last six games. That spurt has enabled them to secure a wild-card spot in the NFC playoffs. The stakes for this game aren’t exactly clear. A win in this game or a Minnesota loss will lock them in with the fifth-seed. A loss and a Vikings win would lead to them getting the 6-seed. Either way, they are either going to be on the road on wild-card weekend with the team they face out of their control. I like the Cardinals to cover the spread in this one.
In the First Game…
By the time you get to week 17, it’s iffy how much a week four result matters. But still, in these divisional teams’ first matchup of the season on September 30, the Seahawks went into Glendale to get a 20-17 road win, requiring a Sebastian Janikowski 52-yard field goal with time running out to sew up the tough road win. Seattle relied on a big performance from their run game, as a lot of teams have this season when facing the Cardinals. Mike Davis was over 100 yards on the game with two touchdowns. A lot of common threads for the season were seen in this game, with Arizona leaky against the run and better against the pass. Since that game, where the Cardinals’ offense played half-decent, they have found scoring points to be very difficult.
Can the Arizona Offense Threaten?
The Cardinals are a terrible team if looking to put it simply. Earlier in the season, however, they were at least a good proposition here and there, failing to cover just once in a 7-game stretch where they were showing some good value betting-wise. But as the wheels have come off, especially on offense, even that came to a stop. After failing to cover at home on Sunday as better than two-touchdown underdogs to the Rams, they lost against the spread for the fifth time in six weeks. They scored 77 total points in that 6-game span. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have failed to cover only once in the last 6 weeks.
With Mike Glennon and Josh Rosen sharing snaps the past few weeks at quarterback, the only TD thrown on Sunday was by Larry Fitzgerald. It’s a disheartening situation, and word is this will be Steve Wilks last game as head coach, as he lasted one terrible season. There is poor QB play. David Johnson went from a game-changer and a potential 1000/1000 guy to a do-nothing back averaging 3.5 yards a run. Fitzgerald is still effective but is in his 15th season. Injuries haven’t helped, and they’re reduced to hoping somebody or anybody steps up, and for the most part, no one has. They were well above their season-average, just with the 17 they had last time against Seattle. But the Seahawks’ defense has seen a lot of young talent congeal over the course of the season. We could see worse this week. Sure, professional pride applies, but there isn’t much for the Cardinals to play for, as they’ve sagged to the finish line.
Again, the picture looks bleak. But getting a healthy point-spread on the road, they might actually be in a decent position. The Seahawks are coming off a draining win over the Chiefs on Sunday night in a tough 38-31 win. Their motivation for this game seems unclear, though a win would lock them into a matchup at Dallas against a Cowboys team they’ve already beaten this season. But let’s not forget that the last time these teams faced, Arizona was right in that game. It was hard for Seattle to get to this point and I wouldn’t rule out a slight sag to end the season. Arizona isn’t eliciting a lot of fear, and there could be an unconscious comedown after battling a very dangerous Chiefs’ team.
The Cardinals have the worst rushing defense in the league, and the Seahawks have the best rushing offense in the league. So why are we taking the Cardinals again? Well, in a way, we want these obvious storylines in plain view to drive that number up. After giving up jumbo performances to running backs Tevin Coleman and CJ Anderson in consecutive weeks, what will happen facing Seattle and the red-hot Chris Carson, Russell Wilson, Mike Davis, and Rashaad Penny if he returns? But when you’re getting this many points, better a run-game than a high-wire aerial act.
There are some things the Cardinals do well, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Despite a lack of robustness against the run, they get after the quarterback pretty well, led by Chandler Jones’ 12 sacks. The secondary can still make plays, though they haven’t gotten much this season. They are fairly stout, and Patrick Peterson and Tre Boston can capitalize on mistakes. The first time around, they kept Wilson from throwing any touchdowns. Seattle ran the ball very well and still needed Janikowski’s big leg at the end to get to 20 points.
Take the Points on the Road Underdog
This pick might seem counterintuitive on some levels, as the Cardinals weren’t that good to start with and have gotten even worse. I just think the spread exaggerates the true gulf between the two teams. I see some guys on the Arizona offense pushing hard to make a good last impression, while the Cardinals’ defense at least restricts most of the damage to the Seattle ground game. The Seahawks have never really been a tantalizing choice in the role of big favorite in the Pete Carroll era. I’ll take the Cardinals and the points.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Arizona Cardinals plus 13.5 points.