Philadelphia Eagles vs. Seattle Seahawks Point Spread – Pick Against the Spread

Philadelphia Eagles (4-7 SU, 4-7 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (4-7 SU, 6-4-1 ATS), 8:20 p.m. EST, Week 13 NFL, Thursday, December 1, 2011, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash., TV: NFL Network
by Badger, Pro Football Handicapper,

Point Spread: Philly -3/Sea +3
Over/Under Total: 43.5

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The old philosophical thought of, if a tree falls in the woods does anyone hear it?, applies perfectly to this weeks feature Thursday Night game in primetime on the NFL network …

When the colossal underachieving Philadelphia Eagles meet the lousy Seattle Seahawks on the NFL Network this meaningless NFC tilt on Thursday night, will anyone who doesnt have the extra channel on their cable system bother to watch? Of course you will, with betting ticket in hand!

This is not what the suits at NFL headquarters wanted as their showcase game on their own network the week following a holiday, but its what they and the viewing public will get when these two teams square off in primetime Thursday.

Philly is fresh off their, 38-20, loss to New England at home last weekend, dropping their third game in four weeks at the Linc and also eliminating any doubt that their 2011 season with all of their big-name free agent acquisitions would end up as a total flop. Michael Vick is once again injury-prone, fingers are getting pointed in every direction and even head coach Andy Reid is taking heat for the Eagles collapse, as the entire city of Philly wants heads to roll as the season spirals out of control.

But maybe getting out of Philadelphia is just what the Eagles need, a trip to the upper Northwest to take on the Seahawks who are 2-4 at home in CenturyLink Field.

One of those Seattle losses at home came last Sunday to the fellow NFC East Washington Redskins, 23-17, and it also snapped a mini two-game win streak the Seahawks had put together. Once again it was a lack of offensive firepower that cost the Seahawks last weekend, with the Redskins outscoring the Seahawks 16-to-7 in the fourth quarter to pull away for the big road win.

With very little on the line for either team and with injuries up and down the Eagles lineup, the oddsmakers out in Las Vegas have been very slow to release a point spread for the game this week. There are a few offshore sportsbooks that listed the Eagles as 3-point favorites late on Tuesday night, but a large majority of sportsbooks have yet to release a number yet.

The same sportsbooks with a number up on the board opened the early over/under total at 43.5, with a few 44s starting to pop up offshore. Again, youll likely find more places off the board right now than ones that are booking wagers already.

The Eagles offense has struggled without Vick in the last two weeks, as his replacement Vince Young has reverted to his old habit of throwing more big plays to the other team (5 INT) than he does to his own team (3 TD).

Vick is questionable on the injury report, but even if he does play the Eagles still have their share of offensive issues LeSean McCoy is starting to show signs of wear (probable toe) but still doesnt get the ball enough with Jason Avant and Riley Cooper replacing head-case DeSean Jackson and injured Jeremy Maclin at receiver, the Eagles have lost the quick-strike threat that kept teams honest against McCoy and Vick out of the pocket.

Seattle offense has been a season-long struggle to score, especially late in games with a chance to win hanging in the balance. Their season average of 16.8 ranks them 26th in the league, which is just about right where you would expect a 4-7 team to be in the scheme of things.

The Seahawks problems can be traced back to a lack of quarterback, plain and simple. Tarvaris Jackson was given the job and with a 59 percent completion ratio and more picks (12 INT) than touchdown throws (9 TD), hes just not good enough to be an every game starter in the NFL. Charlie Whitehurst is a very expensive backup, and worse is the fact hes been terrible in the few games hes subbed for Jackson (48%, 5.3 yards per completion, 62.9 QB rating).

The simple fact is that there are only four QBs lower on the list of QB rating in the NFL, and two of them are rookies (Christian Ponder and Blaine Gabbert) and one of them never thought hed see the field this much (Curtis Painter), so that tells you all you really need to know about the Seahawks offense and their QB situation.

But Seattle does have a very strong defense, one that is better than their 14th overall (340 ypg) ranking indicates because they have to make up for an underachieving offense all the time. The Seahawks have punted the ball 15 times in the past two weeks, against two average to weak defenses (Wash., St. Louis), so they are forced to play the game of field position more than other teams because of issues on offense and it always seems to wear them out on defense come the late minutes of the game.

The Eagles last paid a visit to Seattle back in the 2008 season, in what turned into a 26-7 Philly victory as 7-point favorites. Seattle won the previous two meetings, both in Philly in 2007 and 2005, and prior to that the Eagles won the previous two in Seattle again (2001 & 02). So long story short, the road team is a perfect 6-0 SU on the road in this head-to-head series since 1998.

The favorite is also 5-1 ATS in those same six games, so being a home dog in this head-to-head series has not been barking over the years.

Other betting trends are mixed. Philly is a perfect 4-0 ATS in their last five Thursday games, but they are a winless 0-5 ATS versus teams with losing records (playing down to the opponents level?). Seattle is a solid 5-1 ATS in their last six games vs. an NFC team, and 5-2 ATS in their last seven at CenturyLink Field, but December starts their swoon as they are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games in the final month of the year.

The over may prove to be the best trend play, since the over is 9-2 in the Eagles last 11 road games, its 4-0 in Seattles last four home games and 13-4 in the Seahawks last 17 games vs. the NFC.

Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: With the Eagles still planning on Young at QB, Im figuring this game will be a tough one to stomach with better options on TV. Seattle plays good D at home and will be able to run on the Eagles. The Hawks win straight up as a 3 point underdog!

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