Seattle and Dallas square off Saturday and it looks to be a grind it out matchup with two teams heavily dependent on their running games matching up.
While quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott are capable of orchestrating aerial attacks, Seattle leads the league with an average of 160 yards a game on the ground and Cowboys back Ezekiel Elliott was the NFL regular season rushing champion.
Meanwhile, the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles take on the worst-to-first Bears at Solider Field in Chicago. What looked like an improbable scenario at the beginning of the year is now a first-round matchup that is the featured Sunday game of Wild Card Weekend.
Seahawks at Cowboys Best Bets
Dallas (-1) over Seattle
The Seattle running game is on the back of Chris Carson. He’s been a workhorse and has rushed for at least 116 yards and a touchdown over the last three games. Seattle is averaging 26.8 points per game and that number connects to rushing as the Seahawks are second in the NFL with 33.4 rushing attempts per game.
Dallas will rely on Elliott to counterattack offensively. But the outcome of this game may lie more in the hands of the Cowboys defense stopping the run. Dallas is sixth in the NFL in scoring defense giving up just 20.2 points a game.
But more importantly their run defense allows just 94.6 rushing yards per game, a key to slowing down Carson and company. Home-field advantage will also matter in this one. Dallas is 7-1 at AT&T Stadium while Seattle played .500 on the road.
These two teams met in Week 3 with the Seahawks prevailing 24-13 in Seattle. But since then the Cowboys have added wide receiver Amari Cooper, which completely changed the dynamic of the offense.
Prescott has thrown for 3885 yards, 22 TDs, and 8 INTs while completing 67.7% of his passes and averaging 7.4 YPA. Cooper is responsible for 724 of those yards and 6 TDs.
And keep this in mind for Seattle to prevail: the Seahawks ranked fifth in the NFL in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert just 34.97 percent of their tries. I’m still going with over at 888Sport.
Eagles at Bears Best Bets
Bears (-6) over the Eagles
Led by a league best defense bolstered by four Pro Bowl stars in linebacker Khalil Mack, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, safety Eddie Jackson and cornerback Kyle Fuller, this year’s edition of the Bears is very much a return to the “Monsters of the Midway” mentality that has defined this franchise for decades.
Philadelphia’s run back to the playoffs came with another dose of drama from the arm of Nick Foles, who replaced injured starting QB Carson Wentz in Week 15 and guided the team to three straight wins and a wild-card berth. The Eagles are hoping Foles has at least a little more magic on Sunday.
The Bears offense has evolved nicely with second-year QB Mitch Trubisky maturing rapidly. Surrounded by targets such as Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Trey Burton Trubisky has excelled.
Throw in the strong ground game of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen and the Eagles defense will have its hands full. The Eagles are ranked 15th against the pass and ninth against the run, but they allowed the third most pass yards per game (269.3) and are just 24th against running back receptions.
There’s too much Chicago to like here. Bet the Bears -6 with 888Sport.
Philadelphia’s defensive tackle Fletcher Cox can be a difference maker here with pressure on Trubisky. Cox has the most total pressures among all defenders (29) over the last four weeks and he can singlehandedly force Trubisky into mistakes that would keep the score down.
But the Eagles will have a hard time putting points up against Chicago’s D, which has given up just 16 points per game. Grab the under with 888Sport.