St. Louis Rams (6-8 SU, 6-7-1 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (9-5 SU, 7-6-1 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date/Time: December 27th, 4:05 PM ET
Where: CenturyLink Field
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, jhsportsline.com
Point Spread: STL +13.5/ SEA -13.5
The Seattle Seahawks will be looking to win its sixth consecutive game when the St. Louis Rams travel to the Link in this week 15 matchup. Seattle defeated the Browns 30-13 as 15-point home chalk, while outgaining Cleveland 423-230. Russell Wilson continues his amazing run, passing for 249 yards and three touchdowns. Christine Michael is happy to be back with the Seahawks. The former Texas A&M Aggie contributed 84 yards on 16 carries in the blowout victory. The Rams will have some extra time to prepare, as they are coming off last Thursday’s 31-21 win over Tampa Bay as 1-point home favorites. The Rams’ win was a little fluky, considering the Buccaneers outgained St. Louis 509-319 and had 30 First-downs compared to 16 for the host.
St. Louis loves to run the ball early and often with multiple packages in hopes of executing play-action later in the game. However, play-action only works when the team is having success on the ground. I don’t think the Rams are going to have much success running the ball even though Todd Gurley is a stud. Seattle is allowing 83.9 yards per game on just 3.7 yards per attempt. Those are solid numbers compared to the Rams. St. Louis is allowing 118.1 rushing yards per game on 4.2 yards per attempt. I can’t see the Rams putting up a lot of points through the air or on the ground. The Rams are ranked 31st in yards per game, 32nd, in pass yards, and 31st in points per game. On the flip side, the Seahawks are ranked 5th in yards per game, 20th in passing yards, 2nd in rushing yards, and 7th in points per game. Russell Wilson should have no problems shredding the Rams’ secondary at will.
Seattle is plus +7 in turnover differential while the Rams are plus +1. At home, the Seahawks are even better with a +12 turnover differential. When I take underdogs in the NFL, that underdog better have a chance to win the game outright. We all know the Seahawks will win this game, it’s just a matter of by how much. The Seahawks’ offensive line is playing at a very high level in the running game. The same can’t be said in the passing game. Seattle’s offensive line is ranked No. 4 by Football Outsiders when running the ball. However, the Seahawks are ranked 30th in pass protection, allowing 39 sacks in 14 games. The Rams’ offensive line is ranked 22nd in run blocking, but have been superb in pass protection. St. Louis is ranked No. 2, allowing just 16 sacks in 14 games. It should be very interesting to watch. The Seahawks’ vaunted front seven against a very good Rams’ offensive line. Seattle is ranked No. 2 in overall team efficiency, while the Rams are ranked No. 22 by Football Outsiders.
The Seahawks are really clicking right now, having won and covered five straight games. I am not a fan of laying double digits in the NFL, but can’t really see the Rams scoring enough points to keep this one close. This is a big revenge game for the Seahawks, as the Rams thumped Seattle 34-31 as 3.5-point home underdogs in the opening week of the season. Seattle is a sparkling 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS when playing with same season revenge over the last three years. The key to this game will be the Seahawks front seven against the Rams’ offensive line. Whichever unit shows up, that’s the team that will cover this huge spread. I am predicting the Seahawks will be able to put enough pressure on whoever is under center for the Rams. Both defenses are ranked in the Top 7 by Football Outsiders, which is a big reason why this total is on the low side.
The 12th man has been on fire in Seattle. The Seahawks are 15-0 SU and 10-5 ATS as home favorites of 10.5 to 14 points since 1993. Seattle is 12-5 SU and 12-5 ATS vs. division opponents over the last three years. The Seahawks are 10-2 SU and 11-1 ATS in December over the last three years. The Rams are 6-10 SU and 6-10 ATS vs. division foes over the last three years. The Rams are 1-15 SU and 4-13 ATS as 10.5 to 14 point road underdogs over the last three seasons.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:Seattle -13.5
Even with the strong trends favoring the Seahawks, this is a very tough game for me. My Power rankings has the Seahawks favored by 14. The line is just about right and I don’t see any value in the line for either team. Very light play on the home favorite at minus -14 or less. It would not shock me if the Rams scored late for a back-door cover. There are better games to bet this Sunday!
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