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Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks Point Spread - Pick

Minnesota Vikings (6-5-1 SU, 6-5-1 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (7-5 SU, 7-3-2 ATS)
Week 14 NFL
Date/Time: Monday Night Football, December 10, 2017 at 8:15PM EST
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
TV: ESPN

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: MIN +3/SEA -3
Over/Under Total: 45

The Minnesota Vikings come to the northwest to battle the Seattle Seahawks for a big NFC week 14 matchup on Monday Night Football. The Vikings fell to 6-5-1 on Sunday in a 24-10 loss to the New England Patriots. They face their second straight road-game this week, another tough one in Seattle. On Sunday, the Seahawks won their third game in a row, beating the 49ers 43-16. Again at home, they look to give their cause a big push this week with what would be a big win. Who comes out ahead in this MNF matchup?

Each team is right at that point in the season where the margin of error is small. Minnesota is still somewhat in the division race at 6-5-1. Seattle is a little better off from a W-L standpoint at 7-5, but they're not going to win their division no matter what. Whatever the case, the wild card situation in the conference will be hotly-contested and any losses as we enter the final quarter of the season could be costly. Both teams should be expected to be at their most-urgent. While the opponents they have played figures into it, the Seahawks winning three in a row, with the Vikings having lost 2 of 3 and 3 of 5 suggests the Seahawks are more-primed to pounce.

The problems for the Vikes are multifold. If looking for patterns, they lose against good teams and beat bad teams. They are better at home in spots like this against teams of the Seahawks' caliber. Some weeks, they don't really show up. They won only one of their first four games, got it together, before falling on hard times once again. On Sunday, Kirk Cousins completed 32 passes and Dalvin Cook ran for 84 yards on 9 carries and they managed 10 points. Cousins throwing two picks didn't help, nor did the "D" giving up nearly 500 yards. Whatever the case, they better start putting it together or one of the preseason leading-contenders will be out of the mix.

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When the Vikings got things turned around, the offense was cooking. Cousins was gelling with a receiver crew that has a nice 1-2 punch with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. They were running the ball. Then in the last month, Cousins started throwing more picks, mixed in with some mediocre passing-performances. Thielen has seen his red-hot production tail off. Maybe it's because they've been playing from behind, but Dalvin Cook's return hasn't produced as expected. On Sunday, Cousins completed 32 passes for just 201 yards, which begs the question of what happened to their vertical game? With Chicago losing, they had a chance to gain ground on Sunday and couldn't come close after being in the game, albeit in a tough matchup.

On Sunday, we saw a Minnesota defense that is making only a small fraction of the enormous impact they made last season. New England ran the ball with impunity. James Develin ran for two scores. Seven Patriots receivers had multiple receptions. The Vikings recorded no sacks on the day. Sure, in spots they've been pretty stout both against the run and the pass. But in terms of point-allowance, they are mid-pack and with erratically-applied playmaking and pass-rushing, they're really nothing special this season. And away from home, the picture isn't any rosier.

Hats off to the Seahawks for the turnaround, as the three-game win streak has them back in the thick of things. But after beating the Packers, Panthers, and 49ers, things ramp up a bit this week with a desperate Vikings bunch. Even if it came in a home-win against the 49ers, the Seahawks had a pretty complete performance on Sunday. It was a season-high in points, with the defense getting involved with a 98-yard pick-six from LB Bobby Wagner. Wilson threw four TDs and they ran the bell well with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny both providing a burst.

Seattle has scored 131 combined points in their last 4 games. Russell Wilson has thrown 25 TD passes in the last eight games. There are no stars in the Seattle aerial-game perhaps, but between Tyler Lockett, Doug Baldwin, David Moore, and Nick Vannett, they have put together a respectable attack. Lockett also had an 84-yard return on Sunday. With Wilson still able to use his lively legs, along with Carson, Penny, and Mike Davis, they have a versatile run-game that is really rounding into form. They are the top-rushing team in the NFL and with Wilson getting more protection, some credit should be expected to the O-line. Still dicey on occasion, they are upgraded from the last few seasons.

The Seattle defense is a far cry from what it once was. At the same time, they have an appealing mix of veterans and blossoming youngsters that are combining to create a group that is on the rise. In terms of overall stoutness, they're more or less average. A lot of playmaking makes up for it, with a plus-nine in turnover ratio. Frank Clark and Jarran Reed are getting after the quarterback. Some may overlook exactly how big of a monster Bobby Wagner is at linebacker, as he has a sack and a pick-six on Sunday. With Bradley McDougald, Tre Flowers, Tedric Thompson, Shaquill Griffin, and Justin Coleman, the secondary is coming along. The 16 points they allowed to San Francisco was nice, but they have to show they can be rigid against a Minnesota offense that has more firepower. And they also have a more-capable defense.

The urgency is about equal for both teams, though it seems to have resonated more with the Seahawks. But maybe Minnesota has just been in tougher spots. This would seem to be another one, with a December game at CenturyLink not being a spot where you're going to be typically find any relief. I just can't get away from this sneaking suspicion that the Minnesota defense will find a way to keep this one close. At the end of the game, I think having points will feel good. I'm going with the Vikes.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Minnesota Vikings plus 3 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Vikings vs. Seahawks MNF game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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