The two-time defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks (10-6) will begin their quest for a three-peat on the road when they visit the NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings (11-5) on Sunday in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.
The Seahawks remain one of the most feared teams going into the postseason, and the Vikings know how dangerous they are after losing to them 38-7 as three-point home underdogs in Week 13.
Point Spread: The Seahawks opened as five-point favorites. The total was 42 early in the week.
Odds Shark Computer Pick: Seahawks 26.7, Vikings 18.2
Why the Seahawks Can Cover the Spread
Seattle is road chalk again for a reason, as the team has won six of its last seven games both straight up and against the spread, including a 36-6 rout of the NFC West champion Arizona Cardinals as a six-point road underdog in the regular-season finale.
Regardless, quarterback Russell Wilson deserves to be mentioned in the conversation for NFL MVP honors after enjoying a career year in his fourth season. Wilson threw for more than 4,000 yards for the first time to go along with a career-high 34 touchdowns and eight interceptions to keep his team in the running for a postseason berth despite suffering key injuries to Lynch and tight end Jimmy Graham (torn ACL).
Why the Vikings Can Cover the Spread
Outside of the NFC East champion Washington Redskins, Minnesota might be the most underappreciated team in the entire postseason field. All the Vikings did was get off to a 7-2 start, in which they went 8-1 ATS, and then close out the regular season by winning three straight games and covering four in a row.
Head coach Mike Zimmer definitely deserves consideration for NFL Coach of the Year for what he accomplished in his second year.
Minnesota also lost 30-13 at home to the Green Bay Packers in Week 11 before turning the tables on them with a 20-13 win in the regular-season finale at Lambeau Field, so a victory in the rematch with Seattle is certainly not out of the question.
The Vikings are a very good defensive team and have given up 17 or fewer points during their winning streak.
Seattle is a trendy pick in the NFC, and rightfully so. But Minnesota is an underrated home dog in this spot and riding a lot of momentum after upsetting the Packers to end their four-year run atop the NFC North.
Zimmer has led the Vikings to a 9-1 mark ATS as underdogs, with the lone non-cover coming against the Seahawks. Look for them to avenge that loss with a surprising home win and advance to the next round.
- The Seahawks are 3-0 SU and ATS in their last three games against the Vikings.
- The Vikings are 9-2 SU in their last 11 games at home.
- The Vikings are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games as underdogs.