Seattle enters the NFL Playoffs for the fourth consecutive year and has won its last five road games by an average of 22 points per game. Not long ago the Seahawks traveled to Minnesota and left with a convincing 38-7 win, limiting the Vikings to a mere 125 total yards. Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, the key component to Minnesota’s offense, was held to just 18 rushing yards.
Minnesota takes the field with a subpar offense that is averaging 321 total yards per game at 5.5 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 5.7 yards per play. The Vikings’ one-dimensional attack relies too heavily on Peterson, which allows opposing defenses to stack the box against the run.
Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has only thrown fourteen touchdown passes (9 interceptions) this season and now faces an outstanding Seattle secondary that is allowing just 6.1 yards per pass attempt to a group of quarterbacks who would combine to average 6.8 yards per pass attempt.
Overall, Minnesota’s aerial attack is 0.4 yards per pass play worse than average (6.4 yards per pass attempt against teams that would combine to allow 6.8 yards per pass attempt), thereby giving the Seahawks’ ball-hawking defense a significant 1.1 yards per pass play advantage in this game. In short, I don’t envision a scenario under which Bridgewater has success throwing the ball Sunday afternoon.
The question is whether Peterson will have better success against this time around against a stout Seattle front seven that is 0.6 yards per rush play better than average (82 rushing yards at 3.6 yards per carry to teams that would combine to average 112 rushing yards at 4.2 yards per carry). The answer to that question is a resounding no.
Seattle held nine of of its opponents to thirteen or fewer points this season and possesses the NFL’s #1 scoring defense at 17.3 points per game. The Seahawks’ run defense limited opposing running backs to just 73 rushing yards per game at 3.4 yards per carry on the road this season, and Peterson is likely to be victimized by Seattle’s stop unit for a second straight time at TCF Bank Stadium.
Seattle possesses a surging offense that is averaging 26.4 points and 379 total yards per game at 6.1 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 5.7 yards per play. The Seahawks are also averaging 373 total yards per game at 5.9 yards per play so they are more than capable of moving the ball on foreign soil.
In its final eight games of the NFL regular season, Seattle’s offense averaged 32 points and 404 yards per game, a dramatic improvement over the 21 points and 353 total yards per game the Seahawks averaged during the first eight games of the 2015 NFL regular season. Let’s also note that Minnesota was 2-4 SU versus .501 or greater opposition this season where it was -61.0 yards per game and -5.0 turnovers.
With the favorite standing at 4-0 ATS in this NFL series, lay the points with Seattle and invest with confidence.
Oskeim Sports Free NFL Playoffs Pick: Seattle Seahawks (-5) (-110)