Good afternoon, 12s.
Here's a look at what's "out there" for today - Friday, Jan. 8 - about your Seahawks (10-6) two days before the team's wild-card playoff game against the NFC North champion Vikings (11-5) at University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium. Kickoff is set for 10:05 a.m. PT with national television coverage on NBC (channel 5 in Seattle).
The Picks Are In
Elliot Harrison at NFL.com picks the Seahawks to win Sunday's meeting, 20-16, "Seattle is looking like a real tough out right now. Tougher than Jay Buhner on a 3-0 count in the mid-'90s. (Buhner hit in the climate-controlled Kingdome, though. This sucker apparently is gonna be hovering around zero degrees.) Much of the fear factor has to do with Russell Wilson, who has been playing out of his freaking mind since mid-November. Over his last seven games, Wilson has thrown 24 touchdown passes against just one interception. And now he'll be getting Marshawn Lynch back. Now, Lynch is coming off a sports hernia -- that's a difficult injury. That said ... Beast Mode with fresh legs > almost every run D in the league. ... On that note, the Vikings must work to establish the run in the first half -- even if it is not working. Stay committed to getting one-on-ones outside. I'd love to see Norv Turner dial up a play action to hit a nine route down the sideline. Why not go deep early and send the Seahawks a message that their top-ranked scoring defense will have to play the whole field? At some point, Stefon Diggs or Mike Wallace must beat single coverage. If not, Kyle Rudolph had better be more involved than he was in Green Bay last week. The tight end had the same number of catches as the expected temperature Sunday. #zero"
ESPN NFL Nation reporters Sheil Kapadia and Ben Goessling each predict a Seattle victory at Minnesota.
Kapadia, who covers the Seahawks, has Seattle winning 24-13, "In the final seven games of the regular season, Russell Wilson completed 71 percent of his passes, averaged 8.78 yards per attempt and threw 24 touchdowns against one interception. Put simply, it's difficult to pick against him right now. The frigid temperatures could affect the style of the game and the Vikings could steal a victory with a defensive or special-teams touchdown. But this is a good matchup for the Seahawks and they should advance to face the Carolina Panthers."
Goessling, who reports on the Vikings, puts the Seahawks on top 24-14, "The Vikings had their worst game of the year against the Seahawks on Dec. 6, losing 38-7 with four defensive starters out. The fact that all four of them should return – and that the temperature at kickoff is projected to be in the single digits – should keep Wilson from accounting for 325 yards of offense this time. But it's tough to imagine the Vikings' 31st-ranked passing game getting the job done against a defense that has allowed 444 passing yards in its past three games. If the Seahawks build an early lead again, they might be able to take Adrian Peterson out of the game."
Pete Prisco at CBSSports.com thinks the Seahawks win a close game, 27-23, "The Seahawks blew out the Vikings in early December, but that was a banged-up Minnesota team. They played most of the game without some key defenders, including safety Harrison Smith and linebacker Anthony Barr. ... Russell Wilson carved them up that day, and he's continued on a hot pace. But the Minnesota defense has the speed and the talent to be better this time. He will still make plays, just not as many. ... The difference will be the Seattle defense. They did a great job on Adrian Peterson in the last game, and will do so again. That will put a lot of pressure on Teddy Bridgewater. The pass rush of the Seahawks will be too much for the Vikings, and the Seattle secondary will get two takeaways to win it."
David Steele at Sporting News has the Seahawks winning by two touchdowns, 34-20,* "Their meeting last month, also in Minneapolis, was a Seahawks trouncing, 38-7, with Russell Wilson throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for another. The Vikings defense handled Aaron Rodgers in the NFC North showdown last week, and while the Packers don't have the weapons the Seahawks do, the Seahawks' pass protection is still vulnerable enough for the Vikings pass rush to unload on Wilson. On the other hand, Marshawn Lynch fitting back in after eight weeks will be a challenge, but not a problem. As strange as it is to think the Seahawks defense could ever be overshadowed, Wilson's exploits have done it. That defense will be back in the spotlight trying to hold Adrian Peterson in check. Don't doubt that it can; it totally negated him last time."*
Michael David Smith and Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com both think the Seahawks will advance to the NFC's divisional round.
MDS, who sees a 30-17 Seahawks win, says, "With the way the Seahawks are playing lately, the Vikings may come to regret beating the Packers to win the NFC North. Russell Wilson has been the best quarterback in football over the second half of the season, and Seattle's defense was ferocious in shutting down the Cardinals' offense in Week 17. The Vikings, meanwhile, aren't getting much out of their passing game, as Teddy Bridgewater threw just 14 touchdowns, by far the fewest of any quarterback who started all 16 games this season. Adrian Peterson is the league's leading rusher, but I think the Seahawks' front can hold him in check and the Seahawks' secondary can shut down the Vikings' receivers. This game won't be close."
Florio, who predicts a 30-14 Seattle win, writes,* "The Seahawks destroyed the Vikings when the two teams last got together, with a 38-7 trouncing. But for a late-game kickoff return (featuring 50 yards of high stepping from Cordarrelle Patterson), it would have been a shutout. So why would it be any different now? Intensely cold weather could flatten out the talent gap. So maybe the Seahawks only win by 16 this time."*
Danny O'Neil at 710Sports.com says the Seahawks aren't the only road team with an advantage this weekend and picks Seattle to win, 19-9, "Seattle is making its fifth playoff appearance in six years and the Seahawks have a record of 7-3 in that time. The Vikings are making their second playoff appearance in six years and they haven't won a playoff game since the 2009 season when that Brett Favre guy was playing quarterback. Throw in the fact that Seattle beat Minnesota by 31 points in Minnesota back on Dec. 6, and the Vikings might actually be glad about how cold it's going to be on Sunday when the game-time temperature is expected to be around 0."
All four sportswriters at the Seattle Times are taking the Seahawks to win this weekend, and so is celebrity guesser Sir Mix-A-Lot. The Seattle rapper predicts a 24-16 win and writes,* "Seahawks will go into the fourth quarter down three points and they will win. I've already checked the future and that's what happens. I've always had hunches with them."*
Former Seahawks quarterback Jim Zorn, who raised the 12 Flag on top of the Space Needle on Friday morning, picks Seattle to win 35-17.
Bing.com is giving the Seahawks a 62.9 percent chance to win.
All 13 NFL analysts at ESPN.com think the Seahawks will beat the Vikings.
Eleven staffers at SI.com make their picks and predictions for the entire postseason and 10 of the 11 have Seattle advancing past the wild-card round.
Seven of eight football analysts at CBSSports.com take Seattle to win.
Six of seven NFL experts at FOXSports.com select the Seahawks to win.
And at the time of this writing, four of NFL.com's five *Around The League *writers had made a prediction and each one picked the Seahawks to win.
Three Seahawks Earn All-Pro Honors
Tyler Lockett highlights the Seahawks' All-Pro selections by the Associated Press, with the rookie wide receiver being named first-team All-Pro as a returner on Friday morning. Lockett is the only rookie on the first team. Cornerback Richard Sherman and linebacker Bobby Wagner, meanwhile, earned second-team honors.
Tweet Of The Day
Today's "Tweet of the Day" comes from ESPN Monday Night Football, which takes a look back at running back Marshawn Lynch's 'Beast Quake' run that came in the wild-card round of the 2010 playoffs. The earth-rattling run happened five years ago today.
More From Around The Web
Here at Seahawks.com, digital media reporter John Boyle says the Seahawks are embracing the challenge of having to go on the road this postseason as the No. 6 seed and reviews the play of Seattle's 2015 offense that finished as one of the best in franchise history.
During a Friday morning interview with KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, coach Pete Carroll said running back Marshawn Lynch will play against the Vikings. According to Carroll, tight end Luke Willson (concussion) is the only player who won't be available because of injury.
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin revealed what helped motivate him during what was statistically the best season of his five-year career.
A.J. Perez at USA Today Sports highlights some speciality cold-weather gear the Seahawks and Vikings will both be outfitted with this weekend, when the temperature is expected to be near zero degrees.
Jayson Jenks at the Seattle Times identifies the five most-important games in Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's four-year career. Jenks also takes a closer look at the rookie relationship between wide receiver Tyler Lockett and cornerback Tye Smith.
Larry Stone at the Seattle Times says the Seahawks are the team no one wants to face in the postseason.
Matt Calkins at the Seattle Times separates fact from fiction when it comes to playing cold-weather games in the NFL.
Brady Henderson at 710Sports.com assesses the play of Seattle's 2015 rookie class.
And Doug Farrar at SI.com recaps a film session he had with cornerback Richard Sherman.
D*id I miss anything you think is worthy of inclusion? Let me know on Twitter *