The Seahawks remain a favorite – with the betting crowd.
The early-line consensus among Las Vegas bookmakers has Seattle as a 6 1/2-point favorite at Minnesota in Sunday’s NFC playoffs. That is despite the fact the Seahawks (10-6) are the conference’s sixth seed as the second wild card and the host Vikings (11-5) are the NFC North champions as the third seed.
The AFC’s sixth seed is also a favorite over a division champion in this weekend’s first round: Pittsburgh by 2 1/2 at Cincinnati, which may still be without starting quarterback Andy Dalton.
On Dec. 6 the Seahawks kicked off as a three-point favorite at Minnesota, then beat the Vikings 38-7 by holding NFL rushing champion Adrian Peterson to 18 yards and not allowing a defensive touchdown. That game and the facts Seattle has won five straight on the road and the last two NFC titles help explain its favorite status in Minneapolis.
That will be Seattle’s goal again this Sunday in the rematch: Make the Vikings one-dimensional by loading up against Peterson and the run and force the game into quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s throwing arm.
“That’s always the key,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said after his defense held Arizona to 26 yards rushing in the Seahawks’ 36-6 rout of Arizona in the desert on Sunday. “Make a team one-dimensional and we know what they are going to do.”