It’s been three weeks since the Seattle Seahawks last won a game, and they’ll look to get back in the win column on “Monday Night Football.” It won’t be easy, as the leaders in the NFC West take on a potentially difficult matchup in the Buffalo Bills in Week 9.
Seattle remains one of the Super Bowl favorites in the NFC, and they have a 1.5-game lead in the division. But they’ve had their share of struggles, losing to the New Orleans Saints in Week 8, and playing to a tie against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7. Seattle defeated the Atlanta Falcons by two points in Week 6, but they were aided by a controversial decision by the referees in the final minutes.
Buffalo is hoping to remain in the AFC wild-card race after falling to 4-4. The Bills lost any hope of winning the division when they were defeated by the New England Patriots in Week 8, and they suffered a three-point loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 7.
The Seahawks are the decided favorites, giving the visiting Bills seven points at Las Vegas and online sportsbooks. The over/under is 43.5, and the combination of Seattle’s defense and their struggles on offense could make for a low-scoring game.
Seattle has one glaring weakness that could keep them from going far in the playoffs, and it might make for a close contest on Monday. The Seahawks have one of the worst offensive lines in football, and with Russell Wilson dealing with leg injuries all season, it’s made it difficult for the team to move the ball. Seattle has scored 12 or fewer points in three of their seven games, and Buffalo’s defense could present them with problems.
The Bills are tied for the NFL lead with 26 sacks in 2016. Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander is first among all players with nine sacks, and linebacker Zach Brown is first in the league with 87 tackles, eight of which have come for a loss.
Ranking in the middle of the pack in scoring defense, it’s been feast or famine for Buffalo in 2016. The Bills surrendered 69 combined points in their last two losses, but they allowed just four total touchdowns in their previous four contests. Considering the Seahawks’ inability to give Wilson time in the pocket in recent weeks, Monday could be one of Buffalo’s better defensive performances.
Their ability to not only keep the game close but pull off the upset will likely depend on their rushing attack. The Seahawks have allowed 100-yard rushers in consecutive games, and the Bills have one of the NFL’s top running backs.
LeSean McCoy is expected to play after missing last week’s contest with a hamstring injury. McCoy is averaging 117.5 yards on 6.4 yards per carry in Buffalo’s four victories, and he’s totaled just 128 yards in the three losses that he played in.
Running backs David Johnson and Tim Hightower played well against Seattle in consecutive weeks, but Seattle’s defense should have a bounce-back performance. The Seahawks still rank among the NFL’s best defenses, allowing the second-fewest points. New Orleans totaled 25 points against Seattle a week ago, but the Saints are the NFL’s No. 2 scoring offense. Even as Johnson put up big numbers, the Seahawks still limited the Cardinals to six points.
Only two non-divisional opponents have beaten the Seahawks in Seattle in the last five years. The game might be up for grabs heading into the final quarter, but Seattle should find a way to win and secure their spot even more as the top team in the NFC West.
Prediction: Seattle over Buffalo, 20-16