NFL 2019 Season - Off


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Wild on the Line
by Dennis Ranahan

The Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings will close out the fourteenth week of National Football League action tonight in Seattle. Both teams appear in trouble for winning their divisions. In the NFC West, the Seahawks, despite the Los Angeles Rams defeat last night, are three back in the loss column. With Chicago’s win last night, the Bears are sure to maintain a more than one game edge over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North. The Vikings have a tie in place of a Bears win on their record.

The Seahawks are at home and playing well, having won five of their last seven games. Their only two losses since October 7th, were suffered against two of the NFL’s best teams; the Rams and Chargers.

The team that has played better over the past two months is at home tonight, and laying a point spread that does not deter their backers. The Seahawks have gotten nearly two-thirds of all the individual bets made on this game in the casino race books.

The public has good reason to back the Seahawks.

The Vikings are but a shadow of the team that advanced to the NFC Championship Game last year. In 2017, the Vikings defense was among the best, this year, below average. The Vikings rolled the dice in letting their three incumbent quarterbacks go, and bank their fortunes on newly acquired Kirk Cousins. His numbers during his first season in Minnesota are better than his actual play.

The Vikings have no statement win this season, victories have been gained against only suspect talent on squads like the 49ers, Cardinals, Jets and Lions. Against good teams, Minnesota has lost to the Rams, Saints and Bears, with only a win over the Eagles offering any hope that they could beat the Seahawks tonight.

If Seattle is playing better, at home, and laying only a field goal aren’t they the way to go?

This matchup offers a clear view of the difference between what has happened and what can be predictably expected to happen next. How the Seahawks have played, or what their record is after a dozen games, is less important to knowing what is going to happen tonight. Because the stats generated in this game will favor the squad that comes in with something to overcome, a challenge that has driven their preparation for this contest.

If the Seahawks have played better up to now, and the Vikings are coming off a loss last week in Foxboro to the New England Patriots, which team is more likely to be on their toes tonight? Stats are built from past performances, and all those records were established in games that carried their own motivational factors, which dictated the results.

Factors this season have more often favored the Seahawks, and their team has taken advantage of those situations. The Vikings, conversely, have been hurt more than once by motivational situations that strongly supported their opponent. The Vikings have not been able to overcome any of their bad spots, and only have that victory over Philadelphia, which could be attributed to a rare good motivational spot for Mike Zimmer’s team, as evidence they are among the NFL elite.

Both the Vikings and Seahawks are currently slotted in Wild Card positions, but a loss by either of these teams could jeopardize their chances to maintain their edge over teams with near equal records.

On the need scale, this one is perfectly balanced, but on the motivational wheel, the Vikings keep coming up with edges. Games are determined by which team is most focused on their opponent and that focus is driven by a real fear that one needs to do whatever is necessary for any chance to survive.

A team in a motivational trap, is one that has done well recently and is secure in the knowledge that just doing what they have already done is enough.

It never is.

And won’t be tonight.

Qoxhi Picks: Minnesota Vikings (+3) over Seattle Seahawks