The Seahawks are narrow favorites at home over the Vikings in a Monday Night Football matchup with postseason stakes. Can Russell Wilson & Co. keep the momentum going in primetime?
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Eight of 10 panelists pick the Seahawks straight up.
Brady Henderson: Seahawks 31, Vikings 24
“Minnesota ranks fifth in yards allowed per rush (3.7) and seventh in rushing yards allowed per game (99.2), which makes this a matchup of strengths. As much as the Seahawks are committed to running the ball, they showed two weeks ago in Charlotte that they can switch gears and win a game by throwing it when they have to, even when their defense has an off day. All six of the Vikings’ wins (and their tie) came against teams currently .500 or worse. Sure, the Seahawks have beaten up on their share of bad opponents, but they’re playing at home, where they’re 15-2 in prime-time games under Pete Carroll.”
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Courtney Cronin: Seahawks 27, Vikings 23
“Six wins in 12 games isn’t what many projected for this team, but the hardest part of Minnesota’s season is almost over. If the Vikings can steal a game in Seattle, where they’re underdogs, they’re back in the playoff hunt. The Vikings will need to pound the ball with Dalvin Cook and have defensive discipline against Russell Wilson, who is having a career season. Kirk Cousins recently halted his prime-time woes with a win over Green Bay, and he’ll look to do the same on Monday Night Football, in which he’s 0-6 in his career.”
Four of seven panelists pick the Seahawks straight up.
Benjamin Hoffman picks the Seahawks (-3.5) to cover.
“The Seahawks (7-5) were supposed to fall apart when the Legion of Boom disbanded. Somehow, that collapse just never came. Bobby Wagner has anchored a defense that is not nearly as intimidating as the ones in recent franchise history but that has been good enough to power Seattle to the 10th-best point differential in the league. The Vikings (6-5-1) are a meaningful test, as Kirk Cousins leads a pass-heavy offense that could exploit the Seahawks’ secondary. Both teams are fighting for wild-card spots, so there is plenty of motivation to go around, which leaves the home team as the better pick in what should be a good game.”
Mike Florio: Vikings 24, Seahawks 22
“It’s desperation time for the Vikings, who may be abandoning John DeFilippo in Seattle if he abandons the run, again.”
Michael David Smith: Seahawks 30, Vikings 17
“This is a big one in the NFC wild card race, and I’m expecting the Seahawks to win and show their “rebuilding” season is actually a playoff season, while the Vikings lose and suffer a big blow to their hopes of getting back to the playoffs.”
Elliot Harrison: Seahawks 28, Vikings 22
“Hugely important game in the NFC wild-card race — and an outcome that’ll likely be decided by the quarterbacks. I know: What a swashbuckling take full of risk! Maybe not, but given that Kirk Cousins has never won on Monday night and Russell Wilson has dominated MNF, maybe talking QBs here is not overblown. Score one for the pertinent! The running games certainly could be relevant, but unless Mike Zimmer directs Dalvin Cook to get more carries, who cares? Cousins has to play well on the big stage. The Vikes rank 30th in the NFL in rushing and average a chilling 2 yards per carry in the red zone. With the crowd in Seattle acting like every game is the first Van Halen concert with Sammy Hagar and noise being a certifiable distraction, a stout ground attack is oft the great elixir — it can mitigate the disruption. Nothing quiets a crowd like pushing the ball methodically down the field, 4-6 yards at a time. Problem is, Minnesota never does that. The running scene of Seattle does, to the tune of 148.8 per game (tops in the NFL), and that will be the difference Monday night. So, I guess it didn’t come down to the QBs after all. Score one for the ground game!”
All eight panelists pick the Seahawks (-3) to cover and straight up.
Pete Prisco: Seahawks 21, Vikings 16
“This is big game in terms of playoffs possibilities in the NFC. Both teams need it. The Vikings are playing consecutive road games, which is tough. But it’s even tougher at Seattle. Kirk Cousins has struggled in prime-time games, and I think that plays out here. Seahawks take it.”
All three panelists pick the Seahawks (-3) to cover.
Consensus pick: Seahawks 27, Vikings 21
Brad Gagnon: “This might not be a blowout, because the Vikings have enough talent on both sides of the ball to avoid that. But with the Seahawks laying only a field goal, this is a no-brainer pick. They’re at home, they have the much better and hotter quarterback, and the Vikings haven’t been right all year. They’re unlikely to put it all together in a place like Seattle, especially in prime time.”