The Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks both find themselves in desperate need of a win heading into their Week 9 matchup.
The Vikings, who began the season hot with a 4-1 start, have dropped two out of their last three and need every win they can get in their quest to keep up with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. It's still relatively early in the season to panic, but the Vikings have to be feeling the pressure from the Packers and Bears.
The Seahawks are also in need of a victory on Sunday. The San Francisco 49ers get most of the attention in the NFC West, but Seattle has quietly put together an interesting team that could be playing in the postseason.
Both teams were considered underdogs at the beginning of the season. Both teams have lived up to that expectation and times while both have had their moments this season. With both teams right on the cusp of contending, there's a good chance that this has some affect on a Wild Card race down the road.
Here's an in-depth look at this interesting NFC matchup between two somewhat inconsistent teams.
When: Sunday, Nov. 4 at 4:05 p.m. ET
Where: CenturyLink Field in Seattle, WA
TV: Fox (check local listings)
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Listen: Free Football Radio
Spread: Seattle Seahwawks -4 (via Covers)
On paper, these two teams matchup fairly evenly. The Vikings have had some games where they looked like a real contender and the Seahawks hold wins against the Patriots and Packers earlier this season.
However, in a close game, the points always favor the home team. Throw in the fact that the Seahawks own one of the greatest home-field advantages in the NFL and it's easy to see why Vegas was willing to spot the Seahawks a few points to get things started.
This one could go either way, so it's probably best to stay away from picking a winner against the spread in this one and focusing on the over/under.
Clearly, the oddsmakers are counting on this one being a low-scoring affair.
The Vikings claim one of the least explosive offenses in the NFL. They rely heavily on Adrian Peterson to keep the offense afloat while their defense keeps games close down the stretch. Christian Ponder has made some strides in his second season as an NFL starter but he's far from being ready to command a high-scoring offense.
The Seahawks are built in a similar fashion. The passing game is ultimately limited by Russell Wilson's inexperience at quarterback but the run game more than makes up for the passing woes that face Seattle. They'll look to allow Marshawn Lynch to make a huge contribution and put Russell Wilson in a place to succeed.
Expect both of these conservative teams to continue to rely on their defenses. Points will be at a premium.
Injury Report (via CBS Sports)
|WR||Percy Harvin||Hamstring ||Probable|
Fantasy Big Plays
Minnesota: WR Percy Harvin
Fantasy owners have known for years that Percy Harvin has talent, it was always his health that kept him from being a true weekly play.
This year has been different, though. Harvin has played every week and consistently paid off for fantasy owners. The Vikings' passing attack is ranked near the bottom of the league statistically, but Harvin still finds a way to get his numbers.
The Seahawks are fifth in the NFL when it comes to stopping the run. Even Adrian Peterson is going to have a difficult time finding and creating daylight against the talented front seven.
That means the Vikings will absolutely have to get something going through the air which usually means getting the ball to Harvin. His streak of four weeks in a row with double-digit points should continue this week.
Projected Stats: 9 receptions, 90 yards; 2 carries, 15 yards
Seattle: Marshawn Lynch
The Minnesota Vikings haven't been too friendly to runningbacks this season—they only give up 13.5 points to opposing runningbacks per week. When you take into account that most teams split the load, that's not a whole lot of points.
However, Lynch is getting to the point where he's pretty much a sure thing every week. One of the few truly featured backs in the league, Lynch has had five games this season with 20 or more carries and even when he doesn't get those carries, he's been productive.
Owners who stick with Lynch and don't get intimidated by the matchup will reap the rewards, Lynch will be solid once again.
Projected Stats: 21 Carries, 110 Yards, 1 TD
Key to Victory
Football often comes down to who makes the least mistakes, and that will be the case in this game.
Both teams love to pack it in and run the ball. The team that can get the most help from the passing game without turning it over will have a significant edge. Both teams are in the negative when it comes to turnover differential for the season which explains why they both find themselves in slumps heading into this one.
When points are hard to come by, every turnover gets magnified and flips field position. Expect the team with better field position to come out on top as offenses will need help scoring.
Seattle's 12th man can't be emphasized enough. Home-field advantage is virtually non-existent for a lot of NFL franchises but Seattle isn't one of them.
The Seahawks have been great at home this year, their 3-0 record includes wins against the Cowboys, Patriots and Packers.
At this point, the Vikings are too reliant on Adrian Peterson and don't bring enough weapons to the table to really test the Seattle defense. The Seahawks will struggle to score too, but put enough points on the board to claim another big home win.
Final Score: Seattle 17, Minnesota 10