University of Phoenix Stadium – Monday 22nd December at 01.30 on Channel 4
Just a few months ago the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks were talked about as potentially being at the start of a new dynasty of NFL dominance. After slaying MVP Peyton Manning and his record breaking Denver Bronco’s offence in Super Bowl XLVIII (48), it was understandable to hear such hyperbole concerning the new champion’s immediate future.
However the regular season has not turned out quite how they would have liked, with numerous injuries on both sides of the ball, Seattle has really had to grind out results just to keep themselves in the post season playoff picture.
But now with their famed ‘legion of boom’ secondary back at full strength, the champions are clearly not going to give up their crown without a fight. Having won four games in a row, while conceding a ridiculously low combined point’s total of just 27, the rest of the NFL will be well aware that the Hawks are once again, the team to beat.
Meanwhile, divisional rival Arizona Cardinals have taken full advantage of Seattle’s slow start by claiming their place in the playoffs already, thanks to an impressive 11-3 record. With just two games remaining this clash has taken on even greater importance, with the Cards needing the win to secure the divisional crown and the Hawks needing it to take a big step towards the post season and potentially, to snatching the division from under the Cards nose.
Unfortunately for Arizona, injuries have struck them at just the wrong time with both their starting and backup quarterbacks out for the rest of the season. The Cards are a team much like Seattle, built on their hugely impressive defence but even they cannot be expected to carry the team in a match as tough as this. The Cards offence simply have to find a way to put points on the board against the Hawks or this game could be over pretty quickly.
As much as Seattle is rightfully lauded for their number one ranked defence, they also possess some serious talent on offence such as QB Russell Wilson and RB Marshawn Lynch. Combined with various safe receiving options, the Hawks are ranked 11го overall on offence.
This looks like a daunting task for the Cardinals, even at home and it’s hard to see where their points are going to come from against the Seahawks D, which will surely pressure 3rd choice QB Ryan Lindley for the entire match.
The current point spread is set at Seattle Seahawks -7.5, which isn’t great for punters but it’s a line which the Hawks have covered in each of the four previous wins and with a distinct lack of offensive weapons on the Cards roster, the reigning champions should be able cover the line again. Our recommendation is Seattle Seahawks -7.5 at 2.0 (Price correct at the time of writing)