Detroit at Seattle NFC Wild Card Spread & Betting Pick
There are four wild-card games around the NFL this weekend and all of them are regular-season rematches other than Saturday night's matchup between NFC No. 6 seed Detroit Lions and the NFC West champion Seattle Seahawks, who might have the best home-field advantage in the NFL. And the weather could be nasty in Seattle on Saturday. The Seahawks are solid NFL betting favorites.
Detroit at Seattle NFC Wild Card Spread, Betting Pick & TV Info
Why Bet on Detroit?
The Lions are in the playoffs for the second time in the past three seasons. It marks the first time Detroit has advanced to the postseason twice in a three-season span since 1997-99. This is the first postseason meeting between the two teams. Seattle leads the all-time regular-season series 8-5. The teams last met in Week 4 of 2015 (October 5) with the Seahawks winning 13-10 at home.
In two career postseason games, Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has two 300-yard passing games and is averaging 351.5 yards per game. With 300 passing yards on Saturday night, Stafford will join Dan Fouts as the only quarterbacks with at least 300 passing yards in each of his first three postseason games. Fouts recorded four consecutive games with 300 passing yards to begin his postseason career.
Meanwhile, Lions WR Anquan Boldin has eight touchdown receptions in his postseason career. With two touchdown catches at Seattle, Boldin would move into a tie for third place in touchdown receptions in NFL postseason history.
Lions DC Teryl Austin said if they can’t stop the run against Seattle, they’ve “got no shot.” Detroit has struggled against Dallas and Green Bay there the last two weeks. While Austin may get a head coaching job, the Lions have confirmed coach Jim Caldwell will be back with the team in 2017. Caldwell’s hold on the Lions’ job has been tenuous, especially since new GM Bob Quinn was hired last year at this time. Caldwell has gone 27-21 through three seasons with the Lions.
The Saints backed into the 2009 NFC playoffs with three straight losses after a 13-0 start before beating Caldwell’s Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Seven seasons later, Caldwell’s Lions enter the NFC playoffs on a three-game losing streak. Could history repeat itself? Likely not as the Lions haven’t won a road playoff game since 1957.
Why Bet on Seattle?
This is the Seahawks’ third NFC West title in four years and the previous two years the Seahawks won it, they reached the Super Bowl — winning it once easily and losing in the final seconds to New England. Last year as a wild-card team, the Seahawks were eliminated in the divisional round on the road at Carolina. But Seattle has won its past nine home playoff games.
Seattle QB Russell Wilson has led the Seahawks to five consecutive postseason appearances in his first five seasons in the NFL. With a start against the Lions, Wilson would join Baltimore’s Joe Flacco (2008-12) as the only quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era to start a playoff game in each of his first five seasons beginning with his rookie year. With a win over Detroit, Wilson, who has seven career playoff wins through his first four seasons, will tie Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (eight) for the third-most postseason victories by a starting quarterback in his first five seasons.
Wilson suffered three injuries in the first six games of the season and has never looked completely healthy. But he didn’t miss a start and completed 64.7 percent of his passes while averaging 7.73 yards per attempt with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His favorite targets — Doug Baldwin (94 catches, 1,128 yards, seven touchdowns) and Jimmy Graham (65 catches, 923 yards, six touchdowns) — both had great seasons and will present matchup problems against the Lions.
Pass protection is always a question with the Seahawks, but the Lions produced pressure on just 19.8 percent of their opponents’ dropbacks, the worst percentage in the NFL. Detroit’s sack percentage (4.6) ranked 29th. Meanwhile, the Lions rank 26th in rushing efficiency, while the Seahawks’ defense is second against the run.
Seattle will have a new return man for the playoffs in Devin Hester, who was just signed. Hester, 34, was cut by the Ravens in December after averaging 24.5 yards on kick returns and 7.2 yards on punt returns. With Tyler Lockett (leg) done for the season, Hester figures to take over on both kickoffs and punts.
Detroit at Seattle NFC Wild Card Betting Pick: Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games.
Under is 8-2 in Lions last 10 games overall.
Lions are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Go Seattle and under the NFL betting total — although I might buy down and only give 6.5 points.