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NFL Football Playoff Betting – Redskins vs. Seahawks
Preview Out of absolutely nowhere, Washington rallied around the tragic death of Sean Taylor to steamroll in to the playoffs with four consecutive victories. In perhaps the most fitting end to any NFL season, the Redskins won their Week 17 matchup with Dallas by 21 points. The momentum train of Washington heads west to take on Seattle, a team that has been virtually unbeatable at home.
Washington Offense vs. Seattle Defense
Who knew Todd Collins had it in him? It only took the veteran backup thirteen years, but he is now in the spotlight. As good as Jason Campbell has been, the smart decision is to stick with Collins in this matchup despite the health of J-Cam. Collins has averaged a steady 222 passing yards over his last four starts, and notched a total of five touchdowns during that span.
Seattle’s pass coverage is average, giving up 219.1 passing yards per game. The problem is that Collins will have to face a versatile line-backing corps led by Lofa Tatupu, that can drop back in to coverage and take away safe zone underneath. Chances are that Gibbs will play conservatively, especially considering the insane crowd noise that is generated in Qwest Field. In general, it is virtually impossible to get too excited about Santana Moss or Antwan Randle-El. While both are talented receiver, both have been ghosts for much of the 2007 season. Inconsistency is a betting investors worse nightmare.
This then becomes a battle that Clinton Portis must win. The Skins average a very respectable 116.9 yards per game on the ground. The Seattle rushing defense at home is brutal. They stuff teams to 86.3 rush yards when playing at Qwest Field, which ranks them 7th in the NFL in home rush defense. But don’t expect Gibbs to take the pedal off his rushing game’s engine, especially with the rain negating the effectiveness of the passing game.
Seattle Offense vs. Washington Defense
Is Mike Holmgren seriously going to go with a no-huddle offense in this matchup? If Week 16 was any indication, then the answer will invariably be ‘yes’. Seattle has sputtered on the ground in the second half, despite a season average of 101.2 rush yards per game. Putting the ball in Matt Hasslebeck’s capable hands is essentially the only offensive option that this team has.
Washington has given up 214.0 passing yards per game, which puts them right in the middle of the pack. Without Taylor, the secondary has stepped up its game, but Hasslebeck will be the most talented and gifted quarterback that they have faced in five weeks. On top of that, Hasslebeck has three sure-handed receivers at his side in Nate Burleson, Deion Branch and the much unheralded Bobby Engram.
Taking away the rushing game will be no problem for Washington since both Shaun Alexander and Maurice Morris have been uninspiring at best lately. The front-seven will be more responsible for attacking Hasslebeck in the pocket and forcing him to make mistakes. Washington is not known for its sack-happy nature, and will likely have to bring in too many pass rushers to attack Hasslebeck, putting the dangerous crop of Seattle receivers in favorable man-on-man matchups.
NFL Betting Trends
-Washington is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
-total has gone UNDER in 4 of Washington’s last 6 games
-Washington is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Seattle
-Seattle is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games
-Seattle is 5-0 ATS I nits last 5 games at home
Seattle is a tough team to bet against at home, but it’s even more difficult to find yourself betting against a momentum train like the Washington Redskins. Seattle has been undistinguished in defining itself as a football power in the NFL. Much credit is being attributed to their loud fan base at Qwest Field, but it goes without saying that if Seattle drops behind, these fans quickly lose their passion.
This game will come down to coaching. Joe Gibbs has rallied a team to overachieve in the face of tragedy and has his team playing at their absolute potential right now. Mike Holmgren has never impressed in the playoffs, and continues to mismanage the clock and the game right in to the gutter. Due to the rain, you have to bet on the team with a stronger rushing attack. Washington may be going up against the odds in this matchup, but overcoming the odds is exactly what good underdogs do.
Washington Redskins (9-7) vs. Seattle Seahawks (10-6)
Saturday, January 5th — Qwest Field, Seattle — 4:30pm EST
Opening NFL Betting Line: Seattle -5 (40)
NFL Playoff Free Pick: Washington 20 Seattle 17
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