Seahawks vs. Vikings: Odds, TV Schedule, Predictions for 2016 NFC Wild Card

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2016

Teddy Bridgewater and the Minnesota Vikings host the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday's playoff encounter.
Teddy Bridgewater and the Minnesota Vikings host the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday's playoff encounter.Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

In the NFL postseason, few things are better than a dismissal of the pass-happy ways of offenses in exchange for gritty, run-first affairs in freezing temperatures.

This is what observers figure to get Sunday afternoon when the Seattle Seahawks visit the Minnesota Vikings in a battle of relative dark-horse teams in a loaded conference.

Seattle did what it does, turning it on to close the season and make the playoffs behind the arm of Russell Wilson. Minnesota did what it hasn't done in a while: stage a serious late rally to steal the NFC North.

A date with the Seahawks doesn't seem like the best reward, but if head coach Mike Zimmer's team wanted to prove in emphatic fashion that it belonged, well, here it is.

Before things get underway, let's take a look at the game's details and some make some notable predictions.

Game Details

When: Sunday, January 10, at 1:05 p.m. ET

Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis 

Television: NBC

Tickets: ScoreBig.com

Over/Under: 39.5

Spread: Seattle (-5)

Notable Predictions

Wilson Falters Without Lynch

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Hear that? It's the collective footstomping of the 12th man, angry over a suggestion that Wilson would struggle Sunday. 

Fair. Wilson has looked out of his mind as of late, tossing 24 touchdowns over the course of a 6-1 streak to close the season while helping wide receiver Doug Baldwin post Calvin Johnson-esque numbers, all after losing tight end Jimmy Graham to a knee injury in Week 12.

But Wilson will have to go at an elite Vikings defense without Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, who before Saturday looked like a go. ESPN's Ed Werder provided the news with context:

Lynch hasn't played in a while, and Wilson has done just fine, yes. Running back Christine Michael did rush for 102 yards against the Arizona Cardinals in the regular-season finale. And the Seahawks took a 38-7 road decision against these Vikings in Week 13, via three scores from Wilson.

Now for the "but." But now-injured Thomas Rawls ran for a score in the win against the Vikings. And this contest might qualify as one of the "coldest in history," too, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Down two lead backs, expecting Wilson to throw another trio of scores doesn't make sense. Minnesota ranks 12th against the pass, at 234.9 yards allowed per game, and fifth in scoring at 18.9.

In freezing temperatures against such a unit, Wilson's going to have a rough time consistently producing without someone credible behind him.

Adrian Peterson Feasts

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Minnesota doesn't exactly have a problem at running back.

Adrian Peterson is the league's rushing champion, and the cold environment means he's the catalyst Sunday. Seattle held him in check in the first encounter to the tune of eight carries for 18 yards, but so it goes when a team like the Seahawks jumps out to a 21-0 halftime lead.

Many worried about Peterson missing a few practices in the week leading up to the game, but it sounds more like he was resting his body for a heavy workload.

"It’s the playoffs,” Zimmer said, according to ESPN.com's Ben Goessling. “He’s ready. He’ll be fine. He’s feeling much, much better.”

Minnesota's problem might reside at quarterback, where Teddy Bridgewater has been a game manager at best for the majority of the season, completing 65.3 percent of his passes with 14 scores to nine picks.

Which is fine if the forecast of subzero temperatures turns out to be correct.

It would play into Minnesota's strength, Peterson, so long as the defense holds up its end of the bargain. Meanwhile, Seattle boasts the league's top run defense. But just a few weeks back, St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley managed 19 carries for 83 yards and a score in a road upset. So it's not impossible to have a big day against the unit.

Peterson will. Playoff chances have been few and far between for the man. It's a silly narrative, sure, but it doesn't look too silly considering the situation—that being Peterson's ability—how the Vikings want to play and how external factors will influence game flow.

Prediction

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It's easy to look at the last matchup, which went down in Minnesota, and Wilson's recent numbers and call it a day.

Not a good move. Seattle has a lot going for it, but so does Minnesota. The Vikings used the embarrassing loss as a launching pad to finish 3-1, and Zimmer's team cleaned up every notable issue to steal the division—capped off by walking into and out of Lambeau Field with the crumpled expectations of Green Bay in hand.

Now it's time for a repeat performance. Peterson's one of those rare players who can control a game on his own. He will here. Wilson will struggle in the elements with little in the way of help from his ground game.

Look for the home team to pull away late as Peterson grinds. 

Prediction: Vikings 24, Seahawks 21  

Stats courtesy of NFL.com and accurate as of January 9. All advanced metrics courtesy of Pro Football FocusAll betting information courtesy of Odds Shark.

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