News out of Arizona this week is that the Cardinals are going to fire their clueless head coach Steve Wilks after just one season coaching the Cardinals. Arizona has suffered through a disastrous 3-12 season with one final knockout game ahead at Seattle against the Seahawks to close out NFL Week 17 and their season.
NFL WEEK 17 FOOTBALL BETTING
Arizona Cardinals (3-12) at Seattle Seahawks (9-6)
Sunday, December 30th – CenturyLink Field – 4:25pm ET
Odds: Seahawks -13 (38.5)
Little was expected from the Cardinals this season, but coach Wilks is not going to get a mulligan for the Cardinals poor play. Arizona’s offense is one of the worst in the past decade, averaging just 13.4 points per game and 244.5 yards per game; nearly 50 yards worse than the next closest team in total yards. The Cardinals have been outscored by an average of 14 points per game and out-gained by a 363-245 margin. Rookie QB Josh Rosen has little support from the offensive line, but he’s also performed poorly much of the past six weeks including a season-worst 87 passing yards and 3.8 yards per pass in last week’s loss to the Rams.
Point of attack play is very poor as well as the Cardinals have been out-rushed by an average of 154-84 per contest. That’s bad news against the Seahawks, who lead the league in rushing averaging 158.5 yards per game on a league-high 33.5 rushing attempts per game. The Cardinals allow 4.8 yards per rush, but 6.1 yards per rush over their last three contests.
Arizona has two ways to stay competitive in this NFL Week 17 contest. One way is to control the ball, clock and chains with a rushing attack and short passing game. The Seahawks allow a league-worst 5.0 yards per rush, and Cardinals RB David Johnson had his best game of the season against another poor run defense when he rushed for 137 yards on a season-high 25 attempts in the Cardinals Week 11 home loss against Oakland, 23-21.
The other is for the Cardinals to get a fortunate break if the Seahawks rest some starters in the second half. Seattle is locked into a wild card spot, and they will most likely travel to either Dallas or Chicago (they also have a long shot chance to LA against the Rams). Motivation may not be paramount for the Seahawks in NFL Week 17, but head coach Pete Carroll has always played to win even in preseason games. Carroll has said he will not rest starters this week (at least in the first half), and that he leaves no room for error in the team’s approach to each game.
Even with Seattle likely performing less than peak in the finale, can’t recommend the Cardinals, who are a dead team and enter on a 0-3 SU/ATS slide having scored 14 or less points in four of their last five games. The Cardinals have failed to score more than 20 points in any of their last five road games, and Seattle has scored 38, 21, 43 and 27 points in their last four home games and the Seahawks are 5-1 SU and 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games overall.
It will be raining Friday and Saturday in Seattle, but clear out for Sunday with near 40 degree temperatures. A breather may be likely for the Seahawks, but neither side has any appeal from a point spread perspective. The total has dropped, but with these below average defenses and Seattle allowing 6.1 yards per play and potentially resting starters in the second half, that too is a risky bet. Contrary call for more scoring than expected.
NFL Week 17 Pick – Seahawks/Cardinals OVER (38.5)
Fairway Jay is a professional handicapper based out of Las Vegas. He focuses primarily on the four majors along with college football and college basketball. You can follow him on Twitter @FairwayJay.