Good morning, 12s.
Here's a look at what's "out there" for today - Friday, Dec. 4 - about your Seattle Seahawks (6-5), two days before the team's Week 13 road matchup with the NFC North-leading Vikings (8-3) at University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium, where kickoff is set for 10 a.m. PT on FOX (channel 13 in Seattle).
The Picks Are In
Elliot Harrison at NFL.com has the Seahawks winning a defensive battle, 16-13, "Seattle inches closer to a playoff berth with a win delivered by the special teams and struggling defense ... and maybe a dash of fourth-quarter scampers by Russell Wilson. I'm sure Vikings fans would like nothing more than to top the two-time defending NFC champs -- but they might also want to give them a big, fat thank-you card with Wade Wilson and Care Bear stickers on it. If Seattle hadn't dealt Minnesota the 32nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft (used to select a certain QB), the Vikings might be putting on the Matt Cassel Show on Sunday. Or maybe Minnesota fans would be spending more time on the Ponder-osa. This game features the top two rushing attacks in the NFL this season, with the Vikes edging Seattle by 2 yards per game. As for the QB edge? SEA > MIN. Defensively, we like Minnesota better, but not the way the offense matches up with Seattle's front seven. This should be a 1977-style slugfest."
ESPN NFL Nation reporters Sheil Kapadia (Seahawks) and Ben Goessling (Vikings) share their picks and predictions for Week 13, with each writer seeing a close Seahawks victory.
Kapadia, who predicts a 24-20 final, writes,* "In the past two games, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is 45-of-59 for 605 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions. He's operating from the pocket better than ever before, and the offense finally is finding a rhythm. The Seahawks' issues on defense have come against prolific, high-powered passing attacks. That's not what the Vikings present. Look for another tight game that is decided in the final five minutes. In the end, the Seahawks win their third straight."*
Goessling, who picks a 19-17 Seattle win, says, "The Vikings will have their hands full with Seattle's second-ranked running game, particularly with the availability of nose tackle Linval Joseph in doubt because of a foot injury. Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith are dealing with injuries, too, meaning the Vikings could have a key defender at less than 100 percent at every level of their scheme. Against a Seahawks team that has lost once in December since 2011, that might be a little too much for the Vikings to handle. The best way to exploit the Seahawks has been to come up with a few big-play strikes, and unless the Vikings are able to do that, they could find themselves on the short end of a physical game."
Don Banks at SI.com thinks the Vikings will come out on top, 23-20, "The Vikings have reason to feel good about themselves with six wins in seven weeks, but the lack of a statement-game victory has become a bit glaring. Beating the resurgent Seahawks, who are 4–1 after a 2–4 start and back in position to make the NFC playoff field, would qualify in our book. Seattle hasn't been much of a road team this year, with three losses and wins only against also-rans like the 49ers and Cowboys. The Vikings won their first four home games, but then were embarrassed by Green Bay two weeks ago. With a tough challenge looming ahead on the road in Arizona in Week 14, Minnesota needs to grind out another win and prove that it's in it for the long haul this season."
Peter Schrager at FOXSports.com likes the Seahawks on Sunday, 23-20, "A Kevin Burkhardt-John Lynch special and my favorite game of the week. It's going to feel like it's from 1992. The two top rushing offenses in the sport, playing in wintry conditions outdoors, with playoff implications galore. And who do I like? Give me the Seahawks on the road. Since Wilson's rookie year in 2012, Seattle's 12-2 in December. I'll take history on my side."
Pete Prisco at CBSSports.com thinks the Seahawks will lose a close game, 24-20, "Seattle got the offense cranked up last week with Russell Wilson. This Minnesota defense on the road will be a tough challenge. Look for the Vikings to win behind the running of Adrian Peterson and the defense."
Michael David Smith and Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com each have the Seahawks winning by 7-plus points.
Smith, who sees a 28-20 Seattle victory, says, "This is a fascinating game in the NFC playoff race. The Vikings have been a pleasant surprise and the Seahawks have been a disappointment, but Seattle is getting things turned around and will make a statement in Minnesota."
Florio, who picks the Seahawks 24-17, writes, "Is facing the two-time defending conference champions the kind of moment that would qualify as a huge game for the Vikings? To have a chance at winning, the Vikings must convince themselves it isn't."
Danny O'Neil at 710Sports.com shares his picks for Week 13 around the NFL and has the Seahawks winning 23-20, "The most important game in the NFC playoff picture this week might also be the most evenly matched. These are the top two rushing teams in the league, the Vikings No. 1 at 146.4 while the Seahawks are No. 2 at 144.2. The Vikings have allowed the second-fewest points in the league this season, the Seahawks the eighth-fewest. Sounds like one of those games where the first one to 20 wins."
Three of the five people polled at the Seattle Times are picking the Seahawks to win, including beat writer Bob Condotta, who sees a 21-16 Seattle victory, "This looms as a much tougher game for the Seahawks than it appeared when the season began, with Minnesota now standing 8-3. The Vikings have a tough defense and a great running game led by Adrian Peterson. But they should[n't] tax the Seattle secondary the way other recent teams have, and the Seahawks' offense also seems to be hitting its stride at the right time. The Seahawks will escape with a win that could go a long way toward securing a playoff spot."
Seven of 13 NFL experts at ESPN.com like the Seahawks to win this week.
Four of eight football analysts at CBSSports.com pick Seattle over Minnesota.
Three of seven NFL analysts at FOXSports.com take the Seahawks this Sunday.
And four of the five *Around the League *writers at NFL.com have Seattle winning this week.
Do You Have The Ultimate Seahawks Fan Cave?
In honor of Seahawks Blue Friday, we're calling on 12s who think they have the ultimate Seahawks fan cave to submit photos of their pad for a chance to win a special Seahawks prize pack and two tickets to an upcoming home game. The best fan caves will be featured on the video board at Seattle's CenturyLink Field during each Seahawks home game. Head to Seahawks.com/FanCave to get started.
Tweet Of The Day
Today's "Tweet of the Day" comes from ESPN Stats & Information, which shares an impressive note on how the Seahawks have performed in the month of December since 2012.
More From Around The Web
Here at Seahawks.com, digital media reporter John Boyle recaps free safety Earl Thomas' entertaining Thursday press conference, explains how tight end Luke Willson will step up in place of the injured Jimmy Graham, and highlights the play of versatile defensive back DeShawn Shead, who moved into a starting cornerback role last week.
Here's three things we learned from quarterback Russell Wilson's Thursday press conference.
Fullback Will Tukuafu (concussion) and cornerback Marcus Burley (ankle) were limited at Thursday's practice after sitting out on Wednesday.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was voted Air Player of the Week at NFL.com for his performance in this past Sunday's win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Adam Schein at NFL.com explains why Sunday's Seahawks-Vikings game is one of the most important matchups remaining this season.
Gregg Rosenthal at NFL.com moves Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson from No. 9 to No. 7 in his weekly QB Index.
Jayson Jenks at the Seattle Times writes about Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's improving play in the pocket.
Bob Condotta at the Seattle Times says center Patrick Lewis has been key to Seattle's offensive line resurgence.
Art Thiel at SportsPressNW.com highlights the Seahawks offense's recent uptick in play.
And Andrew Harvey at SportsPressNW.com writes about the challenge Vikings running back Adrian Peterson presents.
The Seahawks have played the Vikings 17 times in the regular season (12-5) and once in the playoffs (1-0). Check out action photos from throughout the years of their matchups.
D*id I miss anything you think is worthy of inclusion? Let me know on Twitter *