Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks: Odds and Predictions (NFL Week 14)

The 6-5 Minnesota Vikings:

The 6-5 Minnesota Vikings have lost three of their last five games, the latest one being last week against the New England Patriots, 24-10, whom the Vikings had kept pace with until the very end of the third quarter.

It didn’t help that quarterback Kirk Cousins threw two interceptions, the first one being in the end zone with less than five minutes remaining, the second with about twenty seconds to go on their final march down the field.

Minnesota doesn’t do well on the road, they’re 2-3-1, but they fare decently against NFC rivals where they’re 5-3-1, so they could be a decent bet with the minor point spread on this one.

The 7-5 Seattle Seahawks:

The 7-5 Seattle Seahawks have won their last three in a row, including a Week 13 whooping of the San Francisco 49ers, final score 43-16.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been on a tear these last four games, his average passer rating for them was 125.7, his 4-game touchdown total at 11, the number of times he’s been sacked at zero.

Seattle is beatable at home, they’re 3-2 at CenturyLink Field, but they’re 6-3 against NFC teams and slightly favored in this one, and chances are the infamous noise of their home crowd will become a factor.

What’s at stake:

These two teams have met 15 times (including 1 postseason game), with Seattle winning 10 games and Minnesota winning 5 games. The Vikings have won the last four-out-of-five matchups and haven’t lost to the Seahawks since November of 2009.

If the Vikings win this matchup, their record will be 7-5 and they’ll remain at least one game behind the Chicago Bears in the NFC North but a victory would further solidify at least a wild card spot in the playoffs.

But if the Seahawks come out on top, they’ll be 8-5 and still at least three games behind the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West, though a win would move them two games ahead of the other NFC teams vying for a wild card spot in the playoffs.

Questions to answer…

Who’s favored to win this Week 14 Vikings-Seahawks matchup?

Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?

Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?

We’re going to compare the Vikings and the Seahawks and attempt to answer those questions and more.

The 2018 Vikings offense ranked 16th in the NFL

Quarterback Kirk Cousins is earning his Vikings’ money this season, so far his 3,490 passing yard total puts him at sixth among his peers, and he’s got 23 touchdowns with just 9 interceptions and has an impressive 71.3 completion percentage, second only to Drew Brees.

Cousins has been sacked 30 times, which puts him top-ten in that category, but he’s still able to average 274.8 passing yards per game, seventh best in the league.

Second-team All-Pro receiver Adam Thielen is having a breakout year, his 1,166 reception yards the second most in the NFL, his 98 receptions the most in the league.

With receivers Stefon Diggs and Chad Beebe listed as questionable for this game (see below), recently acquired Ameer Abdullah and Michal Boone will also need to step up.

Vikings rushing attack 30th overall

Between running backs Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray, the Vikings running attack averages just 86.1 yards per game, and only two teams (Cardinals and Falcons) run for less.

Cook has only played in seven games due to his hamstring and has 101 touches for 506 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.

Murray has played in 12 games and has 131 touches for 601 yards from scrimmage and 5 touchdowns.

Minnesota offensive Injuries

Listed as questionable for Week 14: wide receiver Stefon Diggs (knee), wide receiver Chad Beebe (hamstring) and tight end David Morgan (knee), none of them practiced on Thursday.

The 2018 Seahawks offense ranked 19th overall

The Seahawks offense may be ranked 19th for gaining 353.2 total yards per game, but they’re 9th in points scored per game, with 26.6.

Seattle’s passing game is only ranked 26th in the league, averaging just 204.4 yards in the air per game.

It’s up to receivers Tyler Lockett, Doug Baldwin and Jaron Brown to play more like they did in Week 13, when they combined for 4 touchdown receptions.

Seattle’s run game number one

Seattle’s rushing attack averages more yards (1,786) and more yards per game (148.8) than any other NFL franchise.

Though running backs Chris Carson, Mike Davis and rookie first round draft pick Rashaad Penny have combined for top-notch rushing yardage totals, they’re only average (T-16th) in rushing touchdowns with 9.

Seattle offensive Injuries

Listed as questionable for Week 14: running back Chris Carson (finger), offensive tackle Duane Brown (ankle), wide receiver Doug Baldwin (hip) and fullback Tre Madden (chest).

Guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring) is listed as doubtful for Week 14.

Vikings Defense ranks 6th in the league

Minnesota’s defense is stingy, allowing opponents to score 22.5 points and only gain 327.8 total yards per game with a pass defense ranked 9th and a run defense ranked 7th.

The Vikings have 11 team interceptions (T-11th most) and 36 sacks (8th most) but they’ve only forced 7 fumbles (tied for 28th).

Vikings Defensive Players to watch:

Middle linebacker Eric Kendricks is everywhere with 95 combined tackles, tied for 12th most in the NFL.

Defensive end Danielle Hunter will be putting pressure on Wilson, his sack total 11.5 (T-4th), he’s got 15 quarterback hits, 58 tackles and Hunter ran back a fumble recovery 32 yards for a touchdown in Week 9 against the Lions.

Defensive back Anthony Harris is tough on coverage, having intercepted 3 balls (T-9th) and 6 passes defended.

Vikings defensive injuries

Listed as questionable for Week 14: middle linebacker Eric Kendricks (ribs) and cornerback Trae Waynes (concussion), neither player practiced on Thursday.

Seahawks Defense is T-19th overall

Teams playing the Seahawks do well – they score an average of 21.4 points and gain 367.4 total yards against a Seattle run defense ranked 17th and a pass defense ranked 19th.

The Seahawks’ secondary is effective, tied for sixth most interceptions (12) in the league, but the team’s 31 total sacks is only tied for 17th.

Seahawks Defensive Players to watch:

Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner has 99 combined tackles, 8th most in the league, 2 forced fumbles and he’s also great on pass protection with 11 passes defended and an interception that he ran back 98 yards for a touchdown in Week 13 against the 49ers.

Defensive end Frank Clark has 10.0 sacks, and he knows how to get after that ball, with 3 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, 16 quarterback hits and an interception.

Strong safety Bradley McDougald has three interceptions, and he’s got 7 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and the man can tackle, with 66 combined tackles, 3 for loss.

Seahawks Defensive Injuries

Listed as questionable for Week 14: linebacker Shaquem Griffin (knee), defensive end Dion Jordan (knee), linebacker K.J. Wright (knee), defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (foot) and safety Shalom Luani (quadriceps).

Special Teams Stats Comparison

Punters:

Minnesota’s punter, Matt Wile, in his third year and picked up in September on waivers from the Pittsburgh Steelers, has punted 53 times for a net average of 40.4 yards per punt, ranked T-15th in the NFL.

Seattle’s rookie punter, Michael Dickson, was drafted in the fifth round and so far, he’s punted 55 times for a net average of 44.2 yards per punt, ranked second in the league.

Placekickers:

Minnesota’s veteran placekicker, Dan Bailey, a former Dallas Cowboy who is considered one of the most accurate place kickers in the history of the NFL, has gone 16-for-22, his longest was a 52-yarder.

Bailey has gone 2-for-5 in field goals over the last two games, and he’s missed one extra point attempt (20/21).

Seattle’ veteran placekicker, Sebastian Janikowski, is in his nineteenth NFL season, eighteen of which were with the Oakland Raiders.

So far this season, Janikowksi is 16-for-20, his longest was a 56-yarder. He’s missed two extra point attempts (37/39).

Punt Returners:

Minnesota’s punt returner, cornerback Marcus Sherels, is ranked 26th in the league.

Sherels has returned 18 punts for 160 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 8.9 yards per return, his longest for 24 yards.

Seattle’s punt returner, wide receiver Tyler Lockett, is currently ranked 45th in the league in return average.

Lockett has returned 19 punts for 105 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 5.5 yards per return, his longest for 19 yards.

Vikings–Seahawks prediction and odds

The oddsmakers have the Seahawks favored over the Vikings by 3 with an over/under of 45.5.

CBSSports.com has two final score predictions:

Pete Prisco goes with the under and has it Seahawks 21, Vikings 16

John Breech takes the over and predicts it Seahawks 30, Vikings 20