The NFL makes its debut in Germany as the Seahawks and Buccaneers play early Sunday morning at Munich’s Allianz Arena, home of 32-time German champions and six-time European soccer champions FC Bayern Munich. It was expected the Bucs would have the lead (they actually share first place with Atlanta) in the NFC South at the midway point of the season, but it was almost inconceivable that the Seahawks would have a 1.5-game lead in the NFC West as Seattle was projected to be the worst team in the division.
The Seahawks have played the third-easiest schedule per Football Outsiders and will play the seventh-easiest schedule the rest of the season. Quarterback Geno Smith is currently the odds-on (-135) favorite at DraftKings to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year and why not, considering he has totaled 2,199 passing yards (sixth-best in the NFL), while throwing 15 touchdowns (fourth in the NFL) against four interceptions and completing 73.1% of his passes.
Seattle has won and covered four straight (and five of its last six) including three of its last four games as an underdog, including a sweep of division rival Arizona.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay has not covered a game (depending on your number Sunday) since Week 2. The Bucs dominated the Rams with a 323-206 edge in yardage and an 18-9 first-down edge but still needed some late Tom Brady heroics on the game-winning drive of six plays, 60 yards in 35 seconds. Speaking of Brady, he ranks second in the NFL for passing yards (2,547). However, he threw the ball 58 times last week, which is not a long-term recipe for success, but he has been forced to do so because the Bucs are dead last in running the ball (60.7 ypg) behind an offensive line that has been banged up since the first day of training camp.
There is going to be a point to sell Seattle at the top of the market as the Seahawks have been one of the more lucky teams in the league this season. Sunday at Arizona clearly was not the point (which probably says more about the Cardinals), but will this week be the time to lay the number with a lukewarm favorite that cannot cover versus an underdog that seems to find a way to cover every week? The market seems to think so as this line went down to pick-’em late Sunday afternoon and is now -2.5.