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Sunday Night Football Preview: Wilson Pilots Hot Seahawks vs. Vikings

Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks NFL best bets, odds and picks

The Seattle Seahawks have truly displayed some explosive offense in the early going. And Russell Wilson is at the forefront of the MVP discussion. On Sunday night the ‘Hawks will be playing host to the Minnesota Vikings. It will be the NBC game that kicks off at 8:20 PM ET.

In the Sunday night football betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Seahawks are the solid favorites.

Seattle Seahawks vs Minnesota Vikings Betting Odds

TeamSP/RLTOTALML
Vikings+6½ (-103)56½ (-115)+249
Seahawks-6½ (-117)56½ (-105)-305
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Wilson has Seahawks on the move

Russell Wilson has gotten off to a historic start. He is leading the NFL with an average of 9.4 yards per pass attempt. And through the first four games, if this can be believed, he has thrown 16 touchdown passes. Needless to say, he is also #1 in the league in quarterback rating.

Seattle has averaged 35.5 points per game. And DK Metcalf is fulfilling his potential as a big-play receiver in his second season. He’s averaging 25.2 yards a catch, and he is a good fit for Wilson, who likes to go down the field. Also, the unheralded David Moore is chalking up 17.3 yards per reception.

Traveling by air, not by land

Last year, the Seahawks were an offense that emphasized the “run-first” philosophy. They were sixth in the NFL in “run play percentage.” But the approach this season is to put the ball into Wilson’s hands as much as possible and let him make a play.

Injuries have a little something to do with it. But Seattle is running the ball only 40.8% of the time through the first four games. In their case, though, they are not throwing out of desperation or the lack of viable options in the backfield. They are running it because that’s what they do best.

There’s a good Cook in the kitchen

BetOnline customers may have noticed that the Vikings have gravitated much more toward “run-first.” And there is good reason for it, since Dalvin Cook is leading the NFL with 424 yards on the ground. As of now, they are sticking to the ground on 50.7% of their plays from scrimmage.

Kirk Cousins – getting down the field

Generally, Kirk Cousins has been associated with a high-percentage, West Coast type of offense. That’s what Mike Shanahan liked about him early on in his career. And it’s what got him a free agent contract worth more than $80 million.

With play-action very much at his disposal, Cousins is getting the ball down the field. He’s only 26th in the NFL in passing efficiency. And his completion rate of 62% is low by today’s standards. But he is averaging 10.8 “intended air yards” per throw, which leads the NFL. That means he is throwing it that far beyond the line of scrimmage.

Losing Stefon Diggs was a blow, considering what he’s been able to do in Buffalo this year. But rookie Justin Jefferson is making an impact (348 yards, 21.8 per catch). And there’s no reason he can’t become a real home run threat. He’s already an effective complement to Adam Thielen.

The injury factor

Both of these teams are missing key defensive personnel. The Seahawks will not have All-Pro safety Jamal Adams, who’s got a groin injury. And they may also be without cornerback Quinton Dunbar. Minnesota has lost defensive end Danielle Hunter and linebacker Anthony Barr. That’s made a thin defense even thinner.

Conclusion…

You have to like what the Vikings are doing on offense lately. And we certainly haven’t seen the best out of Jefferson. Can they trade points with Seattle? Hmmm, we don’t know about that. But considering that we fully expect the Seahawks to overcome most resistance, we’ll lean toward the OVER in this NBC game.

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