Seattle Seahawksat Dallas Cowboys(-1.5)
Sat. 1/5, 8:15 p.m. ET
Three things you need to know before betting on Seattle-Dallas:
1. The Cowboys and Seahawks will meet for the third time in less than 13 months when the teams kick off the NFC playoffs in primetime on the Saturday of Wild Card weekend. After a pair of road losses to start the season, Seattle got things going in the right direction with a convincing Week 3 home victory over Dallas. The Seahawks’ defense forced three Cowboys turnovers—two Dak Prescott interceptions and an Ezekiel Elliott fumble—while not turning the ball over in the 24-13 win. The last time Seattle visited Dallas was in Week 16 of the 2016 regular season, when the Seahawks kept their playoff hopes alive while eliminating the Cowboys from postseason contention with a 21-12 victory. Seattle held Elliott to 24 yards after halftime in the running back’s first game back following a six-week suspension as Dallas failed to score a touchdown in the loss. Only once in the five games these teams have played against each other since the start of the 2012 season have the Cowboys scored more than 13 points.
2. Seattle’s ability to take care of the football was a key to the team’s success throughout the regular season: After giving the ball away five times over the team’s first two games, which resulted in back-to-back losses at Denver and at Chicago, the Seahawks went on to turn the ball over only six more times over their final 14 games. The 11 total giveaways were by far the fewest in the NFL in 2018, as no other team turned the ball over fewer than 15 times during the regular season. After going 4-4 straight-up and 4-3-1 against the spread over the first half of the season, Seattle went 6-2 straight up and 5-2-1 against the spread over the season’s second half. The Seahawks won the turnover battle in five of their final six games, with the lone exception coming in a 21-7 Week 14 win over the Vikings when Seattle and Minnesota each turned the ball over once.
3. Since Pete Carroll took over as Seattle’s head coach prior to the 2010 season, the Seahawks’ 6-0 straight-up record in their opening-round playoff game consists of a 4-0 mark in the Wild Card Round and 2-0 record in the Divisional Round. While this will be Seattle’s 14th postseason game under Carroll and 13th with Russell Wilson as the team’s starting quarterback, the Cowboys are 1-2 straight up in playoff games since Jason Garrett took over as the team’s head coach in 2010. That mark includes a home loss in Prescott's lone postseason game, which was a 34-31 loss to Green Bay two Januarys ago. When playing on the road, Carroll’s teams are 7-1 against the spread when coming off three straight games with 150 or more rushing yards, 9-2-1 ATS when coming off three straight games with a positive turnover margin and 9-2 ATS when facing an NFC East opponent. Dallas, meanwhile, is 16-26-1 under Garrett as a home favorite of seven points or fewer, including a 5-12 ATS mark as a home favorite of three points or fewer.
Pick: Seattle +1.5
Confidence Level: High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)