Seattle Seahawks (8-5 SU, 9-4 ATS) vs. Buffalo Bills (5-8 SU, 6-7 ATS)
NFL Week 15
Date/Time: 4:05 p.m. EST
Where: Rogers Centre
by Wilson, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Sea -5.5/BUF +5.5
Over/Under Total: 42.5
The Seattle Seahawks (8-5) are enjoying their blowout win over the Arizona Cardinals 58-0 as they look forward to a tough road matchup this weekend at the Buffalo Bills. The Bills must be prepared for the Hawks or they may get a smack down like the Cards did, but this is highly unlikely-isn’t it? Who knows what Seattle team will show up this week; the late game winners or the blowout kings? I don’t think Buffalo will be as much of a chump as Arizona, yet it’s never easy to travel cross country and perform in a hostile environment. Seattle’s skipper, Pete Carroll earned his first 8-win season as the head coach of the Hawks and he knows how important the remaining games are for his team to make a run into the playoffs. Currently the Hawks are in line for the final NFC wildcard slot and they actually have a slim chance to snag the NFC West if things fall the right way.
Buffalo (5-8) meanwhile will be without their co-starting running back Freddie Jackson for the rest of the season as he suffered a grade 2 sprain to his MCL in last week’s loss to the St. Louis Rams 15-12. The Bills are pretty much out of the playoff picture with just three games to play but they will try to salvage their season by at least reaching the .500 mark. RB C.J. Spiller will now be even more highlighted in the backfield for the Bills. His work load will certainly increase in Jackson’s absence. Spiller is already 2nd in yards per carry through the first 13 games dating back to 1963 when a fella named Jim Brown averaged 6.61 yards per carry. It will be up to Seattle’s defense to contain Spiller which should not be too difficult as the Hawks have been decent on run defense all season.
The Bills are a team, according to their head coach Chan Bailey, that are four or five plays away from having a winning record. He insists the Bills are better than they were three years ago but their record indicates otherwise. Bill’s QB Ryan Fitzpatrick takes full credit or blame in this case for the team’s lack of wins. He knows in the NFL it is all about wins versus losses. Fitzpatrick has an 85.5 QB rating and has thrown for over 2700 yards, 21 TDs and 13 INTs to go along with a pass completion rate of 62 percent. However, the QB blames himself for poor play and decision making which aids to the result of the team’s losing record. Of course, it takes a team to lose, not just one player but Fitzpatrick knows he’s the leader who needs to step up and help the Bill’s get to out of the funk.
Seattle has traditionally struggled on the road and this year they have as well even though they pulled out a win in their last road trip at Chicago. The Hawks are 2-5 SU and 3-4 ATS this season on the road and 9-4 ATS overall. Seattle has a lot more on the line this weekend than Buffalo as the Hawks are attempting to secure the wildcard spot. Also, this game is being played indoors which takes away from Buffalo’s usual raucous crowd and unpredictable game-time weather-the way Seattle has been playing the Bills could use any outside force, like weather, to distract them but it will not be the case this weekend. The Bills are 3-3 ATs at home and 6-7 ATS overall.
For Seattle to succeed this weekend it is imperative Russell Wilson bring his “A” game. The rookie QB has made a name for himself as of late with his game-saving plays especially with his feet. Wilson has rushed for over 300 yards this season-many of those yards coming on 3rd down situations when the Hawks needed to stay alive. Seattle is ranked near the bottom of the NFL in passing offense but their rushing offense is ranked 4th which will hopefully open their passing game more against the Bills. To Wilson’s credit he has completed 63 percent of his passes, 20 for TDs, and thrown for nearly 2500 yards-not too shabby for a rookie.
Adding to Seattle’s motivation is the fact they are just a game and a half behind NFC West leading San Francisco 49ers. They will face San Francisco at CenturyLink Field in Seattle during week 16. The Seahawks simply have more to fight for in this contest which is why they should come out swinging hard from the beginning to end. The boy’s in Vegas are spotting the Bills +5.5 while the total is 42.5. Seattle knows how capable they are to put points on the board and Buffalo’s defense will get tested on every snap. The last time these two teams played was back in 2008 when Buffalo won 34-10 at home; they were favored by one point and the total was 37.5 which went over. Obviously these are two different teams this time around.
Wilson’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I like the Seahawks to improve to 9-5 this weekend by knocking off a struggling Buffalo Bills squad who won’t go down as easy as the Cardinals but they just can’t get over the hump and close out a game against a determined Hawks effort, HOWEVER, I like Buffalo to cover the +5.5 as they get the golden key numbers of +3 and +4, which are very common final score margins in NFL.
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