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NFL Week 17 Betting – Sea, Zona Battle for Seeding

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in NFL Football

Updated Jan 17, 2018 · 9:39 AM PST

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (-7, 47 o/u)

Both the Seattle Seahawks (9-6, 4-3 road) and Arizona Cardinals (13-2, 6-1 home) have punched their tickets to the playoffs. The Cards have already clinched the NFC West and a first-round bye, but they still have a shot at the top seed in the conference. The Seahawks, meanwhile, are assured of a Wild Card spot, but could move up to the no. 5 seed with a win and a Minnesota loss. The Seahawks and Cardinals will duke it out in the late afternoon window this Sunday (4:25 PM Eastern).

Moving from the no. 6 seed to the no. 5 seed may not sound like much, but it would be the difference between heading to Washington on Wild Card weekend versus visiting Lambeau Field. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the middling Redskins are the preferred opponent. That’s especially true for Seattle, who have ousted Washington from the postseason the last three times the Redskins qualified for the tourney (2005, 2007, and 2012).

Like the Seahawks, the Cards also need help if they’re going to move up the standings. Currently one game back of Carolina for top spot in the NFC, Arizona would earn home-field throughout the playoffs with a win and a Carolina loss to Tampa Bay. That’s not a likely scenario given the strength of this year’s Panther team, but as the saying goes (and as Atlanta demonstrated last weekend), “any given Sunday.”

With Carolina slotted to play in the 4:25 timeslot, as well, the Cards won’t know if they have a chance at the no. 1 seed when the game starts. But that likely wouldn’t make a difference to fiercely competitive head coach Bruce Arians, who has already stated that his starters will be in the lineup this weekend, injury concerns be damned.

Sunday’s game will be the second meeting of the season between the teams. Arizona already won at the Clink, 39-32, getting 363 yards from QB Carson Palmer. The defense gave up over 100 yards on the ground to the Seahawks, but that was back when both Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls were in the lineup.

Both backs have since been sidelined – Rawls for the season – and the Seattle ground game has taken a serious step back. With Christine Michael and Bryce Brown splitting carries last weekend, the Seahawks failed to crack the 70-yard plateau during a 23-17 upset at the hands of the Rams.

Lynch should be back come playoff time, but Pete Carroll will once again have to employ a running-back-by-committee approach this weekend. Given how strong the Arizona defense has looked of late, despite the loss of Tyrann Mathieu, Seattle is likely to struggle to move the ball, having to rely on a predictable, pass-heavy attack. Add in the fact that the Arizona offense has looked even better since David Johnson took over as the starting running back, and the Cardinals (-7) look like the play.

Pick: Arizona (-7). 

(Photo credit: Philip Robertson (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)

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