Seattle Seahawks (7-5 SU, 5-6-1 ATS) vs. Baltimore Ravens (4-8 SU, 3-7-2 ATS)
NFL Week 14
Date/Time: Sunday, December 13, 2015 at 1:00PM EST
Where: MT&T Bank Stadium Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
by Scott, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SEA -10/BAL +10
Over/Under Total: 42
The Seattle Seahawks come to MT&T Bank Stadium Stadium to face the Baltimore Ravens in Sunday action. The Ravens are coming off a demoralizing loss on Sunday to the Miami Dolphins, 15-13. The loss dropped them to 4-8 and made them have to maybe dig even deeper into the barrel in a season of massive injury issues. Seattle, conversely, has been able to pull themselves off the mat after a 2-4 start, winning 5 out of 6, including a dominant 38-7 road win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. They face their second straight road game this week and look to keep the good momentum going.
When discussing Baltimore, a lot of reasons will come up why a team that is a consistent winner has fallen so flat this season, but any chance they had to turn things around were dashed as they were hit by a pile of injuries and in their most vulnerable areas. After not missing a start in 8 years, Joe Flacco went down for the season, leaving Matt Schaub waiting in the wings. RB Justin Forsett went down; creating a void they have been unable to fill. And losing top aerial weapon Steve Smith, Sr. didnt help, either. Theyre missing two key pieces of manpower on the offensive line and on the other side of the ball, Matt Elam, Terrell Suggs, and others are also missing. The list is really too long to review comprehensively. Suffice to say, injuries have sabotaged the Ravens season.
On offense, they are left with Schaub, who is undergoing concussion protocol after getting hit hard in Sundays loss to Miami. Next in line appears to be Jimmy Clausen, as its been a far drop-off from the level Flacco represents. The run game is in the hands of Javorius Allen, with the aerial load carried by rising receiver Kamar Aiken, Chris Givens, and tight end Crockett Gilmore. Schaub showed some flair in going over 300 yards against Miami, though it only manifested into 13 points and a pair of interceptions undermined the Ravens offensive efforts.
Its remarkable to note that no Ravens game this season has surpassed an 8-point margin. Whether wins or losses, all their games have been close, suggesting they are more competitive than their record suggests. The loss to Miami was certainly ugly, but they have still won two out of three games. They are still in there trying and giving it a professional effort. The offense is certainly depleted, but is now stocked with marginal types who are in many ways playing for their NFL futures.
Defensively, the Baltimore defense isnt too shabbyall things considered. They are not altogether solid in pass-defense, though the last several weeks have seen an upgrade in that area. Its not a unit that registers a lot of turnovers, but in the past month or so, theyve been getting a better pass-rush, while making some timely stops along the way. Only one team has surpassed 27 points on this defense in the past 9 games and they were in fine form on Sunday, despite being hung out to dry by their offense.
The Seahawks have shown their championship mettle over the past 6 games, winning 5 and starting to really turn things around in a good way. It wasnt too long ago that the Seattle offense looked dry as a bonea totally predictable group that wasnt getting much of anything right. The aerial game was barely producing and the offensive line was among the more-comical groups in the NFL. Fast forward to week 14 and we see a Seattle offense moving the ball with ease, hitting the scoreboard with regularity, and scoring 106 points in the last 3 games. Despite a season-ending injury to Jimmy Graham, the passing game has blown up, with Russell Wilson near 900 yards and 11 TDs in his last three games. And on the ground, Thomas Rawls has stepped in with some huge games with Marshawn Lynch sidelined with an injury.
The Seahawks found something just in the nick of the time. Right as it looked like you could start shoveling dirt on the Seahawks, they stormed back into the mix, showing a lot of character and grit. For their offense to undergo a mini-renaissance period after losing two of their more valuable weapons is awfully impressive, with youngsters like Rawls and Tyler Lockett stepping up, along with Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, who have embraced Wilsons newfound ability to stretch the field.
A lot of people seem to using the Seattle defense over the past several years as a measuring stick for all future Seattle defenses. Thats an unfair benchmark upon which to evaluate the Seahawks defense. They may not be the foolproof unit they were in past seasons, as player departures and the nature of the league will always get in the way. But theyre still awfully good. They were dominant on the road against the Vikings on Sunday, as it was the 6th time this season a team failed to exceed 13 points against the Seahawks. With the offense giving them more support and the offensive line opening up holes for the ground game, they are getting better, peaking at the right time.
This is a game where we have to make sure we dont get too carried away in our evaluation of the two teams. We see a Seattle team that has turned things around contrasted with an injury-ravaged Baltimore squad that is just playing out the string. But the Ravens are still in there trying and theres still a lot of pride on that sideline. Theres just something kooky about this season where some conclusions that are too conveniently arrived-at never seem to hold up. Its still a tricky road spot for Seattle. And even though its pretty easy to justify a thorough Seattle drubbing, I see the Ravens as having pretty decent value here as a double-digit home dog.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Baltimore Ravens plus 10 points.
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