Seattle Seahawks Vs. Kansas City Chiefs Preview (12/24/22): Betting Odds, Prediction, Depth Chart

Before the season, I doubt many NFL fans expected Seahawks vs. Chiefs on Christmas Eve to be a battle between two teams both in the thick of the playoff race, but here we are. At 7-7, Seattle is just a half-game out of the NFC field, while the Chiefs are tied with the Bills for the AFC’s one seed and the oh-so-precious bye, but Buffalo holds the tiebreaker due to a head by head win. Neither team has much margin for error if they want to achieve their respective goals, and we should be in for a hard-fought battle in Kansas City this Saturday. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks for this holiday season clash.

Seahawks Vs. Chiefs Betting Odds

Vegas sees the Seahawks as pretty significant underdogs at home, as they’re 9.5-point underdogs. The scoring total is a bit less popping, set at 48.5

Seahawks Vs. Chiefs Prediction

The Chiefs have been at the top of the pack once again, due in extremely large part to the MVP-caliber play of QB Patrick Mahomes, but they haven’t been their best, dominant selves to start the post-Tyreek Hill era. In their past 7 games, they’ve lost once, but picked up two regulation wins by a field goal, one more by a touchdown, and two overtime victories. And of course, they finally lost to the Bills, a result that could very well cost them the AFC’s top seed. So things are good in Kansas City, but are they Super Bowl level great? If they don’t win out with a relatively soft final three games of the season, it’ll be hard to definitively say yes.

Meanwhile, the presumably-tanking Seahawks have already annihilated their preseason expectations as they sit at 7-7 and just on the outside of the playoff picture, but they’ve surely cooled off as of late. They’ve dropped four of their last five games, all of which were at home and three of which were to teams who currently have losing records. There’s no reason for this team to be giving anything less than full-throttle effort, as they’re already guaranteed a top draft pick via the hapless Broncos; this season has already been impressive, but they’re a win or two away from the finish they should want at this point. Stealing one against the Chiefs would go an extremely long way- home matchups with the Jets and Rams to finish the year are both winnable, but far from guarantees.

This is one of the easier spread picks to make; I’m sticking with Seattle on this one, the spread is pretty inflated due to their recent awful form, and the Chiefs are not really in the business of blowouts. I’d wait and see if you can get +10 or 10.5, or even consider buying the spread up to that significant number, especially for a parlay. But if you really must pick a side of the line as it currently exists, grab Seattle. The total is a much tougher call, especially with Tyler Lockett sidelined, but these defenses are far from elite; I’d lean over, although this is not one of my favorite bets of the week.

Betting Trends

The Chiefs have been winning a bunch but not covering; they’re 0-6-1 ATS in their past 7 games. Still, Seattle is also in an 0-5 run against the spread.

The under is 4-0 in the past 4 games played at Arrowhead stadium, but the over is 5-1 in the Seahawks’ past 6 road contests.

Key Injuries

Seahawks Injuries: Jordyn Brooks (Q), Rashaad Penny (O), Tyler Lockett (O)

Chiefs Injuries: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (O), Mecole Hardman (Q),

Key Matchups

Seahawks Rushing Offense vs. Chiefs Run Defense

In this late-season road game, the Seahawks’ best route to winning is running the ball early and consistently, thus shortening the game; more time on the ball for the Seattle offense means less Mahomes time, which is of course a very good thing for their defense. The Hawks’ rushing offense has been pretty interesting this season; top back Rashaad Penny has missed a ton of time, and remains out, and rookie Kenneth Walker III has shown flashes of star-power, but has been entrenched in an enormous slump lately. Overall, PFF considers the performance of Seahawks rushers to be pretty good, 11th in the league. On the other hand, the o-line is the 22nd-best run blocking group, all of which factors out to 108.1 rushing yards per game, a bit below league average. Center Austin Blythe has been a total disaster in the run game, and while it gets better from there, it isn’t by much. The guard duo of Damien Lewis and Phil Haynes has been the biggest relative bright spot, but it’s been a mediocre effort from this group as of late; Walker will need to find his own space and break tackles if he’s going to get out of his slump and run his team to a road victory.

The Chiefs run defense has also been a bit tough to evaluate; PFF has them at 16th in their rankings, right around league average, but they do allow the 5th-least rush yards per game, with 105.3. This could have to do with game script; opponents are usually behind KC and trying to throw their way back into the game, and the 4.3 yards per rush mark is more in line with the league-average rating. At the heart of this group has been linebacker Nick Bolton, who has missed less than 3% of his tackling opportunities and has earned a PFF grade of over 80. The d-line duo of Chris Jones on the inside and Carlos Dunlap as an edge rusher has also been very solid, both players have put up an average depth of tackle between 2 and 3 yards. This group is a typical Chiefs defense; competent, but not excellent, they can shut down a streaky Seattle run game if they’re at their best, but Walker and company have the ability to put up better numbers if KC has some lapses.

Chiefs Air Attack vs. Seahawks Pass Defense

As has been the case for the entire Mahomes era, the Chiefs will happily pass the ball all day if they’re able; the Seahawks will at least have to put up some resistance to remotely stay in this game. And that might be a challenge, for a defense that has struggled immensely in the pass rush, and also in coverage, although to a lesser extent. Let’s start by talking about the former, a front seven that has struggled and generally failed to generate pressure on opposing passers. This group is led by Uchenna Nwosu, who is having a very strong season with 9 sacks, but beyond him it’s pretty tough to look at; the group overall is ranked 28th by PFF. It’s never great to have a poor pass rush, but against an elusive QB like Mahomes, it’s nearly a disqualifier. The secondary has been just a bit better, 24th in PFF’s coverage rankings. Their best contributor has been safety Ryan Neal, and top corner Tariq Woolen has picked off 6 balls amidst a pretty good performance. But that’s about it; this is a fairly thin group between the coverage and pass rush, the top players are going to have to really perform to keep their team in the game.

It might be a recipe for disaster to put this group up against the Chiefs, who unshockingly lead the league in both pass yards (309.5/game) and PFF passing grade, due almost entirely to the oustanding play of Mahomes, who should go on to win this year’s MVP. The offensive line has also garnered the 12th-best pass blocking grade from PFF, not a bad mark. They’ve been anchored by great interior play by Joe Thuney at left guard and Creed Humphrey at center, but Thuney’s left-side partner Orlando Brown has also been solid. Mahomes has rightfully received a lot of credit for playing well in the absence of Tyreek Hill for the first time, but the receiving group deserves a lot of credit. PFF says they’ve been the second-best group in the league, and while that may be a stretch, their solid play combined with the brilliance of Andy Reid and Eric Bienemy has given Mahomes plenty of opportunities. Of course, much of this has to do with the continued excellence of tight end Travis Kelce, who has by far been Mahomes’s top target this season, with 91 catches, 1144 yards, and 12 touchdowns with a few games left to play. JuJu Smith-Schuster has also settled in nicely after a less-prolific start; he’s up to 71 catches for 850 yards. Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been less prolific, but is an important secondary option for this offense as well, and Kadarius Toney has often passed the eye test, but is still looking for his true breakout. It’s not the best group KC has had, but it’s a great one; even with Mecole Hardman out, the Seahawks should have their hands full and then some.

Seahawks Depth Chart

QB: Geno Smith
RB1: Kenneth Walker III
RB2: DeeJay Dallas
LWR: DK Metcalf
RWR: Tyler Lockett
SWR: Marquise Goodwin
TE1: Will Dissly

Chiefs Depth Chart

QB: Patrick Mahomes
RB1: Isiah Pacheco
RB2: Jerick McKinnon
LWR: Marquez Valdes-Scantling
RWR: Kadarius Toney
SWR: JuJu Smith-Schuster
TE1: Travis Kelce

From starting my own blog in Middle School, to working on a friend’s in college, and finally joining the Lineups team this year, I’ve been writing about sports for over a decade and betting on them as long as I’ve been legally able. I graduated from the University of Michigan last year, where I took sports journalism classes alongside my business major. Having played and watched sports for almost my whole life, I aim to provide insight and entertainment, as well as profitable picks, in my writing about professional and collegiate leagues.

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