Seattle Seahawks (8-6 SU, 5-8-1 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (8-6 SU, 7-6-1 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date/Time: Sunday December 24th, 2017. 4:25PM (EST)
Where: AT&T Stadium Dallas, T.X.
by Jay, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SEA +5/DAL-5
Over/Under Total: 47
The Dallas Cowboys kept their playoff chances alive last week as they beat the Oakland Raiders 20-17 thanks to a late Derek Carr fumble into the Dallas end zone. Carr was diving for a game winning touchdown but fumbled the ball into the end zone resulting in a touchback. The unusual turn of events kept the Cowboys playoff hopes alive but they still need a lot of help including the Falcons or Panthers to lose both of their final two games. If those unlikely circumstances do fall in the Cowboys favor, they must still win out including this weeks homestand against the Seattle Seahawks inside AT&T Stadium.
The Seahawks were embarrassed last week at the hands of the Rams in a 42-7 bloodbath. The loss put the Rams in full control of the NFC West and delivered a huge hit towards Seattles playoff chances. Seattle is in a similar situation with Dallas in the fact they need to win out and get some help along the way. However, just turning the corner from last weeks beatdown to the Rams may be the primary point of focus. Last week, Seattles defense was ripped apart on the ground for the sum of 244 yards while Todd Gurley posted a stat line that included 152 yards with 3 touchdowns. The performance was definitely subpar for Seattles prestigious defense but it shed light on the Seahawks consistent struggle this season to stop the run.
Now Seattles defense will look to rebound on the road against a Dallas team that is getting superstar running back Ezekiel Elliott back from a 6 game suspension. Elliotts ongoing battle was well documented with the NFL but finally the suspension should be a thing of the past as he returns this week in hopes to carry the Cowboys in these final two games. I dont think I need to stress the importance of how much Zeke means to this offense and quarterback Dak Prescott. The Cowboys struggled heavily in Zekes absence and most surprisingly caused the normally flawless Prescott to struggle as well. Opposing defenses did not respect the play action and running presence in Zekes absence which caused a drop in performance across the board for the Dallas offense.
This week Dallas should have all of their threats back together and I believe that will spell trouble for Seattle. I know some are going to question if Zeke will have any setback from the time off and/or possibly target Seattle for a bounceback performance. However, I am not one of those people. I expect Elliott to step into his normal routine and grind away first downs against a defense that has been decimated with injuries. Sure I do not expect the Seahawks to give up another 200 plus yards on the ground but I do expect Elliott to have a big game.
In my opinion, Seattles chances of keeping this game in reach comes down to quarterback Russell Wilson. The Seahawks rushing attack has been extinct for several weeks now and honestly all of the pressure is falling on Wilson to make plays. It is an unfortunate situation for Seattle and we saw last week those struggles were in full effect. Seattle had just 78 yards rushing and Wilson had half of those rushing yards. The Seahawks quarterback also struggled throwing the football hitting just 14 of 30 targets for 142 yards with a score.
Without a rushing threat, things are going to be difficult for Seattle from here on out. Still, you have to respect Wilsons playmaking ability despite the limited help. He is still a quarterback that can move outside of the pocket and he still has a host of dangerous receivers in guys like Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham, and others. I think this offense needs to put more focus on getting Baldwin more involved on a consistent basis but hey what do I know? Considering Dallas struggles on quarterbacks that can extend plays and their defensive backs inability be consistent, Seattle should have opportunities down the field.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Potentially high scoring game here but I like the Cowboys. They will have all their weapons in full force and will make enough plays defensively. Take Dallas -5 - Bet your pick for this game using your credit card at an online bookie where it WILL work for deposits and where you’ll receive a generous 50% signup bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $250! (Example: Deposit $250 and they’ll give you an extra $250 FREE!) Find this great offer at Bovada Sportsbook.