Are you ready for the NFL playoffs?
This weekend’s wild-card round consists of four intriguing games, including an exciting NFC matchup Saturday night clash between the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Both teams went 10-6 during the regular season, with Dallas winning the NFC East and Seattle securing a wild-card berth amid a second-place finish in the NFC West.
NESN.com’s Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian made their against-the-spread picks for each of this weekend’s NFL playoff games after an impressive regular season. Here are their Seahawks vs. Cowboys picks, along with the betting line courtesy of OddsShark.com.
Seattle Seahawks at (-1) Dallas Cowboys, Saturday, 8:15 p.m.
Mike: Seahawks. I’ll take the team that has a decisive quarterback/head coach edge. Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson have been here a lot and have had a lot of success. Meanwhile, Dak Prescott is making just his second career playoff start, while Jason Garrett only is 1-2 in the playoffs over nine seasons. Seattle might struggle to slow down Dallas’ pass rush, but establishing the running game could go a long way in neutralizing that attack. The Seahawks were 4-1 SU when Chris Carson got at least 20 carries this season, including a game-high 32 in a Week 3 win over the Cowboys.
Ricky: Cowboys. Again, I’m basing my pick on the big guys up front. Dallas’ offensive line hasn’t been quite as dominant this season, while Seattle’s O-Line has taken a step forward, but there’s still a sizable gap between the two units. That’ll obviously be crucial in a game where each team figures to lean heavily on its ground attack. The key for the Cowboys will be to start strong, allowing them to dictate the tempo and play to their strengths, particularly on offense. The Cowboys have won seven of their last eight games, scoring first in each victory — their lone loss was a 23-0 shutout in Indianapolis.
Andre: Cowboys. Prescott and the Cowboys are a completely different team at home than on the road. They finished 7-1 in Dallas this season and had the fifth-best yards per play differential at home this year. Prescott completed 72 percent of his passes and had 14 touchdowns to three interceptions at home. Seattle is a run-heavy team, but Dallas is excellent at stopping the run, allowing fewer than four yards per carry. The Cowboys also are good at limiting running quarterbacks, as they allowed just 3.43 yards per rush attempt to QBs this year. Seattle allows nearly five yards per carrying, and that’s good news for Ezekiel Elliott. Dallas is 6-1 SU when Elliott rushes for more than 100 yards.