NFL Sunday Night Football: Seahawks/Vikings Preview

by Big Al Staff

The match-up for Sunday Night Football sees the Minnesota Vikings travel to CenturyLink Field in Seattle to face the Seahawks for the third straight season.

Minnesota got their first win of the season last week with their 31-23 upset victory over the Texans in Houston, where they were 3.5-point underdogs. That was a battle of two desperate teams, with Houston deciding to fire head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien after J.J. Watt expressed his frustration with the direction of the franchise. The Vikings are now 1-3 with viable playoff expectations still with the expansion of the postseason pool to seven teams per conference.

Outside of their 28-11 loss at Indianapolis in the second week of the season, the Minnesota offense is clicking. The Vikings have scored 61 combined points in their last two games while crossing the 30-point threshold of three of their four games. Rookie wide receiver, Justin Jefferson, has filled in nicely for the departed Stephon Diggs as he has 11 receptions so far this season for 278 yards with a touchdown as he plays second fiddle in the passing game to wide receiver Adam Thielen. Running back Dalvin Cook leads the way with 424 rushing yards this season while averaging 5.7 yards-per-carry. He ran the ball 27 times for 130 yards last week while reaching the end zone twice.

Cook’s ability to move the chains helped Minnesota keep Deshaun Watson off the field last week for 36:31 minutes. The Vikings’ defense is allowing 31.3 points per game along with 426.5 yards per game. The team misses defensive end Danielle Hunter who is on injured reserve as their seven sacks rank tied for the 10th lowest sack mark.

Seattle looks to start its season with a 5-0 record for the first time in franchise history. They won and covered the point spread for the fourth straight time this season with their 31-23 victory at Miami last week.

Pete Carroll is following the advice to “Let Russ Cook” this season. Wilson has passed for at least 300 yards in three of his four games this year while completing 75% of his passes. His 16 touchdown passes have tied Peyton Manning’s NFL record for the most touchdown passes after the first four games in a new season. Wilson may have the best deep ball in the league as he has sixteen completions of over 20 yards this season. He is averaging 9.4 yards per pass attempt.

Seattle has scored a touchdown on a remarkable thirteen of their fifteen trips inside the red zone. The Seahawks' increased reliance on passing the ball has not led to more turnovers as Wilson has only thrown two interceptions. Seattle owns a +5 net turnover margin after their first four games. However, the suspect Seahawks’ offensive line has allowed eleven sacks, which are tied for 11th in the league.

The increased reliance on passing has resulted in a decline in the numbers for the Seattle defense. They are allowing their opponents to score 27.3 points per game while averaging 476.8 yards per game. Their new superstar safety, Jamal Adams, will not play in this game with his groin injury. The Seahawks are third in the NFL by allowing only 76 rushing yards per game with opposing rushers average just 3.4 yards-per-carry. The Dolphins’ 103 rushing yards last week represent the only team to reach the 100-yard threshold against them this season, and Miami’s leading rusher was Ryan Fitzgerald with his 47 rushing yards. However, perhaps the Seattle rush defense appears impressive because opposing offenses are too busy passing against a unit that has only sacked the quarterback six times this season? The Seahawks are allowing 401 passing yards per game, with opposing quarterbacks completing 66.5% of their passes.

Seattle won last year’s meeting between these two teams at their CenturyLink Field by a 37-30 score. BetAnySports has the Seahawks as a 7-point favorite with the total set at 56.5. NBC has the broadcast at 8:20 PM ET.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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