Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks Picks & Preview

The (5-3) Minnesota Vikings travel to the daunting CenturyLink Field to take on the (4-4) Seattle Seahawks in a crucial game for both teams as they attempt to reach the playoffs and win divisional titles (4.05pm ET Sunday).

Minnesota began their season with a feeling that they could make the playoffs. After getting off to a 4-1 start and a tie for first in the NFC North, the rest of the league began to pay attention. The Vikings have made their chance at winning the division tougher as they have dropped two of their last three, allowing 36+ points in both losses.

Compared to other 5-3 teams, the Cardinals’ schedule has been rather easy and their wins therefore, with the exception of defeating San Francisco and Detroit, have been unimpressive. That said, going forward, it is anything but easy for the Vikes. With four games against the first place (6-1) Chicago Bears and second place (5-3) Green Bay Packers, as well as a contest remaining against the (6-1) Houston Texans, beating Seattle is really a much needed requirement for Minnesota at this point in their season.

The Seahawks meanwhile, find themselves at .500 and fighting just to stay alive in the playoff picture, trailing the NFC West leading San Francisco 49ers by two games.

They have played well this season at home, getting all four of their wins at CenturyLink including impressive defeats of the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers. The road however has been a completely different story as Seattle is still winless away from home and has scored a substantially less amount of points (81 at home, 59 on the road) as well.

Attempting to Explain the “12th Man”

In the NFL, eleven defenders are allowed on the field and when more than that occupy the field at the same time, a penalty, known as “twelve men on the field” is called. While in Seattle, this twelve man penalty is still going to be called every time, the Seahawks do have a twelfth man at each of their games and it certainly is nothing that can be penalized.

For the Seahawks, their twelfth man is the over 40,000 fans that attend each game wearing their Seahawks’ green and cheering their team on loudly. Before each game begins, a select fan has the opportunity to raise the twelfth man flag and as has been the case for Seattle in recent memory, this legal twelfth man has made a world of difference in home/road splits.

  • 2007: 11-7 overall (including playoffs): 8-1 at home, 3-6 on the road
  • 2008: 4-12 overall: 2-6 at home, 2-6 on the road
  • 2009: 5-11 overall: 4-4 at home, 1-7 on the road
  • 2010: 8-10 overall (including playoffs): 6-3 at home, 2-7 on the road
  • 2011: 7-9 overall: 4-4 at home, 3-5 on the road

In each of the two seasons that Seattle made the playoffs, they have substantially better home records than they did road records. In fact, in both 2007 and 2010, the Seahawks were very much an under .500 team on the road but reached the playoffs anyway because of the strength of their 8-1 and 6-3 marks at home.

So far in 2012, this story has held true as well as Seattle is 4-0 at home and 0-4 on the road. Along with their record, the betting trends have followed the home/away spreads as well.

Battle of the Running Backs: (SEA) Marshawn Lynch vs. (MIN) Adrian Peterson

NFL Odds at BetOnlineNot to recycle an age old analogy, but when the two rushing juggernauts of Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson take to the field on Sunday, it really will be a battle of giants.

The 26-year-old Lynch has always been a consistent running back in his six year career, whether it was with the Buffalo Bills or the Seahawks. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards three times and has received passes for over 100 yards in all but one season and even then he only played in four games that year. He has scored a total of 40 touchdowns (38 rushing, 2 receiving) and is coming off of his best career season.

So far in 2012, Lynch has continued right where he left off in 2011. Playing in all eight of Seattle’s games, Lynch has totaled 757 yards on the ground on a career high 4.8 yards per carry. He also has a career high touchdown run of 77 yards and is on pace to set a new career high in rushing yards.

With a rookie quarterback, Lynch has been an important part of the Seattle offense, performing equally well, if not a little better, in losses as he has in wins.

The 27-year-old Peterson on the other hand, one of the best running backs in the game, is coming off a 2011 season that saw him play in just 12 games and post career lows in nearly every rushing category.

After recovering from injury, one that many thought would see him miss at least part of the season, Peterson has been rock solid for the Vikings. He has played in all eight games and already has 775 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

Similar to the situation in Seattle, Peterson has been tasked with leading his offense as second year quarterback Christian Ponder continues to adjust to the NFL. He has provided the Vikings with a much needed shot in the arm and if the team hopes to beat Seattle, he will have to do what most running backs can’t at CenturyField, and that is score a touchdown.

Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks Picks Verdict

This will probably be one of the closest games of the week but ultimately it goes to Seattle. Pick the Seahawks to beat the four point spread if for no other reason than the fact that they are 3-0 ATS at home this season. To summarize:

NFL betting lines at BetOnline