Following a pair of six-point losses to open the season, Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan opined that playing a difficult opponent might be just what his team needs to get back on a winning track. That mindset will be in play Monday night for Buffalo, which pays a visit to perhaps the league’s toughest venue when it visits the Seattle Seahawks.
The Bills have dropped two in a row to AFC East rivals Miami and New England, prompting Ryan to basically concede the division, and a third straight defeat could seriously jeopardize their wild-card hopes. “Obviously this is probably another top-five team in the NFL,” Buffalo linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said. “You don’t want to look that far ahead but each game is very important and at this point we still control our own destiny, but we’ve got to get back on a winning row here.” Seattle also needs to get back in the win column after coming up empty in back-to-back road games, falling at New Orleans last weekend following a tie at Arizona. The Seahawks are a different animal at CenturyLink Field with a 3-0 record this season, although two of the wins have come by two points.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: The Seahawks opened as 7-point home favorites and, despite a brief drop to -6.5 on Tuesday, remain at that opening fugure of -7 on Sunday night. The total hit the betting board at 44, dropped briefly to 43.5 and return to the original number of 44 by game day. View the complete line history here.
WEATHER: The conditions in Seattle are expected to be mostly cloudy with temperatures in the lower 60’s and a 15 percent chance of rain showers for Monday Night Football. The humididy level will be high (75 percent) and a slight breeze will not be a factor.
Bills – TE C. Clay (probable, knee), RB L. McCoy (probable, hamstring), WR R. Woods (probable, foot), WR M. Goodwin (probable, concussion), T C. Glenn (questionable, ankle), T S. Henderson (questionable, back), WR B. Tate (questionable, concussion), LB L. Alexander (questionable, hamstring), RB R. Bush (questionable, groin), DT M. Dareus (out, leg), C P. Lewis (out, knee), QB C. Jones (out, shoulder), WR M. Easley (questionable, knee), WR K. Listenbee (questionable, hernia), S A. Williams (I-R, neck), S C. Anderson (I-R, hand), WR S. Watkins (elig Week 12, foot), TE B. Annen (I-R, neck), TE C. Gragg (I-R, knee), DB J. Dowling (I-R, knee), LB R. Ragland (I-R, knee), LB I. Enemkpali (I-R, knee).
Seahawks – QB R. Wilson (probable, knee), TE J. Graham (probable, knee), DT T. McDaniel (probable, undisclosed), LB K. Pierre-Louis (questionable, ankle), T B. Sowell (questionable, knee), CB D. Elliott (questionable, hamstring), TE L. Willson (doubtful, knee), S K. Chancellor (out, groin), DE M. Bennett (out, knee), RB R. Rawls (out, shin), DT J. Hill (I-R, hamstring), DT Q. Jefferson (I-R, knee), DT G. Smith (I-R, undisclosed), LB M. Morgan (I-R, hip), TE J. Sommers (I-R, ankle), WR T. Slavin (I-R, undisclosed), DE T. Barnes (I-R, arm), CB S. Jean-Baptiste (I-R, shoulder).
ABOUT THE BILLS (4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS, 6-2 O/U): The No. 1 topic for Buffalo is the health of star running back LeSean McCoy, who sat out last week’s game after being limited to 11 yards against the Dolphins in Week 7. McCoy, who rumbled for 470 yards and five touchdowns in Weeks 3-6, was limited at Thursday’s practice but expressed optimism that he would be available Monday night. “I feel good. Mentally, I feel great,” McCoy said. “Just getting over that step of, ‘If I make this hard cut, will I feel it?’ I did it today, different runs. So I’m ready to roll.” Quarterback Tyrod Taylor would benefit most from the return of McCoy, with the Bills’ passing game ranking 31st at 179.4 yards per game.
ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (4-2-1 SU, 3-4 ATS, 3-4 O/U): Despite guiding Seattle to 10 points in the final five minutes of a come-from-behind win over Atlanta in Week 6, quarterback Russell Wilson has struggled over the past three games. Wilson, who battled knee and ankle injuries, has zero touchdown passes and one interception in the last three and has rushed for only 16 yards in 10 carries in that span. Rookie running back C.J. Prosise appears ready to assume a bigger role in the offense behind Christine Michael after accumulating 103 yards scrimmage last week. Seattle allows 89.7 yards on the ground, but defensive end Michael Bennett is out and safety Kam Chancellor likely is as well.
* Bills are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 games following a double-digit loss at home.
* Seahawks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up loss.
* Under is 6-0 in Bills last 6 games on fieldturf.
* Under is 5-0 in Seahawks last 5 Monday games.
* Over is 8-0 in the last 8 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The bettors are backing the Seahawks with 52 percent of the wagers on the home favorites. As for the total, 59 percent of bettors are taking the Under.
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