Seattle's record at home is so strong. Surely they'll be too good for faltering Detroit? Well maybe not says Neil Harvey, who believes that Seattle are overrated...
"Burn this one fact into your memory. Throughout the entire season, not once have Seattle beaten a team with a winning-record by more than a touchdown."
Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks
Going into the postseason is the worst time to hit a bad run of form. But with three straight losses that's what's happened to the Lions. That's been reflected in the prohibitively short odds of 1.251/4 available on a Seattle victory. And I think this is where the market makers have made a mistake. They're so sure of a Seattle win that they've priced them up extremely short. But by going so short, they've opened up a huge opportunity for punters on the handicap markets.
Burn this one fact into your memory. Throughout the entire season, not once have Seattle beaten a team with a winning-record by more than a touchdown. So there is no precedent and no good reason to believe they can overcome (9-7) Detroit by more than the eight point handicap. Hence I advocate piling into Detroit with the head start.
Of course there's good reason to expect (10-5-1) Seattle to win this. Their 7-1 home record this season says it all. But let's not forget, that like Detroit, the Seahawks have also been looking twitchy of late. In their last two games they've had to come from behind to scrape home in contests they were expected to win with ease. So don't be surprised if we see that happen again here.
Let's be clear. This is not the Seattle team of old. Thomas Rawls isn't fully fit. And while he looks talented, he remains as yet unproven. One rushing swallow does not a summer make. Perhaps in time he'll become a legend. But he could just as easily turn out to be the next Christine Michael - aka fool's gold. Seattle rank in the bottom half of the league for rushing with just 3.9 yards per carry. These are dark days indeed and say a lot about how poorly Seattle's offensive line has been creating the gaps to run through.
Likewise, the O-Line has failed to protect quarterback Russell Wilson, giving up 42 sacks. For some context, that's more than double the number of sacks Oakland have allowed. Take into account how freakishly mobile Wilson is and you understand what a tremendous amount of pressure he must be coming under each game. Seattle have gotten lucky on this occasion though. Because only Cleveland have landed fewer sacks on opposing quarterbacks than Detroit. So Wilson should enjoy more time to make his reads than he's had all season.
Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham have hogged almost all the touchdowns for Seattle this season, so why look elsewhere now. Detroit have been especially vulnerable to tight ends this year. And so I really like the look of Graham both scoring, and surpassing his quote of 51.5 receiving yards.
I must reiterate this point though. Seattle have had a very soft schedule, facing nine opponents with losing records. And it means that their winning record flatters them. The 38-10 mauling they got from Green Bay recently suggests just how significantly overrated they might be. In fact I'll say it now, Seattle won't win the Super Bowl.
By contrast, Detroit are much more battle hardened after facing a gruelling run of opponents that included just four teams with losing records. If Detroit are to win this, it will be thanks to Matt Stafford who single handedly carries this team. He'll look to former Hawk Golden Tate for a lot of short to mid range gains. With an average of 60 receiving yards a game though, his quote of 68.5 yards looks a bit high. So instead, I favour getting behind Marvin Jones - a player who started the season at a million miles an hour. After a mid-season lull, last week's 76 receiving yards were his most since week seven and suggest he could be finishing this campaign the way he began it. His quote of 53.5 yards looks too low.
Detroit's running game has been poor. But Zach Zenner could be a find. He's rushed for more than his quote of 61.5 yards in both of the last two games and seems to be trending upwards. So he looks worthy of support. I even like him to bag a TD, which he's done in each of his last two games. Given that Zenner has only started four games this season, his haul of four touchdowns is highly impressive and makes his price of 15/2 for the first score here look tempting.
All in all, I'm siding strongly with Detroit because they offer the greater value. Winning is another question. But the price of 4.6 on the upset looks very tempting.
5pts Detroit (+8.5) to beat Seattle @ 1.9620/21
5pts Detroit (+4.5) to beat Seattle at Half Time @ 1.9620/21
3pts Zach Zenner rushing yards Over 61.5 @ 5/6
3pts Golden Tate receiving yards Under 68.5 @ 1.9620/21
3pts Marvin Jones receiving yards Over 53.5 @ 5/6
3pts Eric Ebron receiving yards Under 39.5 @ 5/6
3pts Jimmy Graham receiving yards Over 51.5 @ 5/6
2pts Zach Zenner to score 1st touchdown @ 15/2
2pts Zach Zenner to score anytime touchdown @ 6/4
2pts Jimmy Graham to score anytime touchdown @ 13/10
2pts Detroit to win @ 4.6