Fifth seed in the NFC Playoffs Seattle heads to Arlington, TX this week to battle the Dallas Cowboys in a 2019 NFL Wildcard betting bonanza this Saturday, Jan. 5. In the first game, the Indianapolis Colts battle the Houston Texans.

There’s no doubting that Seattle heads to Dallas red-hot. They ended the regular season winning 5-of-6. For Seattle to win, though, they must get past losing starting free safety Delano Hill. The second-year player suffered a hip fracture in the 27-24 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17.

Losing Hill could be a big blow to the Seattle defense. The Cowboys know this. Dallas, who turned their season around after trading for wide receiver Amari Cooper, will try to take advantage of Hill’s absence. It does help that Dallas, who sat star running back Ezekiel Elliott in the 36-35 come from behind victory over the New York Giants, will be at full strength.

Both teams will look to move to the NFC Divisional Playoffs in what should be one of the most competitive games during Wildcard Weekend.

2019 NFL Wildcard Weekend
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys
Saturday, January 5th – AT&T Stadium – 8:15pm ET
Odds: Dallas -1 (43)

Seahawks Will Pound the Ground

Like the Dallas Cowboys, the Seattle Seahawks had some issues earlier in the season. Seattle entered their bye with a 3-3 record. There was a real chance the Seahawks might miss the playoffs. But, starting with their 28-14 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 8, the Seahawks went old school and played smash mouth football.

That’s how Seattle went 7-3 in their final 10 games. Versus Detroit, they rushed it 42 times. In most games they rushed it at least 25 times. In many games, they eclipsed 30 rushes, gassing and weathering down their opponents in the trenches.

The Seahawks rushed the football so effectively in the second half of the season they ended up the NFL’s top rushing team. Seattle averages 160 rushing yards per. The old school tactic of running the ball has allowed Seattle to open up the passing game. It’s crazy how effective play-action is when the running game’s effective and you’ve got a great quarterback.

That’s what makes the Seahawks dangerous, and one of the main elements driving action towards the dog in this 2019 NFL Wildcard betting matchup. If the rushing attack isn’t working, Seattle can always rely on Russell Wilson. Wilson’s a veteran of two Super Bowls. He knows how to get it done in the playoffs.

Seattle will soften up the Cowboys with strong rushes up the middle and on the edge. Once that happens, Wilson will employ play action to free up his favorite target, Doug Baldwin.

Dallas Must Play Faster

After Dallas dominated the Saints’ 30 points per game defense, holding New Orleans to only 10 points, many NFL analysts were ready to declare the Cowboys the NFC’s best team. Dallas wouldn’t play defense as well as they did against the Saints in the rest of their games, though.

To close out the regular season, the Cowboys yielded 23 points to the Philadelphia Eagles, 23 to the Colts, 20 to Tampa Bay, and 35 to the Giants. Although Dallas won 3-of-4, there’s a real danger that the defense has tired.

If that’s the case, Seattle will have a big edge on Saturday. The longer the game goes, the stronger Seattle’s rushers should become. Dallas might want to lean on their defense, but they won’t.

The best way for the Cowboys to beat Seattle is to turn Saturday’s matchup into a shootout. Dallas must play fast on offense, rack up the plays and move the football to force the Seahawks to counter with Russell Wilson instead of their rushing attack.

Russell’s one of the top play clock managers in the NFL. He’ll find a way to wear down Dallas’ defense with 6 minute drives if the Cowboys let him. Jump on the Seahawks with two to three quick touchdowns and Wilson will have no choice but to throw the football.

2019 NFL Wildcard Betting Analysis and Pick

The line opened Dallas -3. Almost immediately, the line fell from Cowboys -3 to -2.5. With a few days before the game, the line’s gone all the way down to Dallas -1. Every type of NFL handicapper, casual and pro, have decided to put their dollars behind the Seattle Seahawks in 2019 NFL Wildcard Betting.

The trends don’t say Seattle covers. While the Seahawks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Wildcard games, they’re also 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in January. The Cowboys are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 versus the NFC, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 following an ATS win, and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall.

Why do handicappers believe Seattle wins on Saturday? Two words and one name:  Russell Wilson. He’s the better quarterback. That, along with the fact the Cowboys have had trouble stopping the rush in the last few weeks, the Colts ran for 178 yards and the Giants rushed for 143, means Seattle gets the edge.

The Seahawks should beat the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday.

2019 NFL Wildcard Betting Free Pick: Seahawks +1