AP pro picks: L.A. Dodges NLCS Elimination
By BARRY WILNER
The last time Seattle and Arizona met, the Seahawks handed the Cardinals a 58-0 whipping, the worst defeat in franchise history.
That game was in Seattle, where the Seahawks (No. 2, AP Pro32) are nearly unbeatable. And it was at the end of Ken Whisenhunt’s regime as Arizona coach last December.
Now, Bruce Arians is in charge of the Cardinals (No. 18, AP Pro32), and they have been competitive in all but one game while going 3-3. They are 2-0 at home heading into today’s game, when they will be 6½-point underdogs.
The reason they’ve kept things close is their defense, especially against the run. And it will be challenged by Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch, who has 487 yards and five TDs on the ground. Lynch is bothered by a hip injury, but he had a similar problem last week then played in a win over Tennessee.
The Seahawks (5-1) have allowed fewer points than any team that has played six games except Kansas City. Their secondary, led by Richard Sherman, will be ball-hawking all night, knowing that Carson Palmer has been picked 11 times.
Look for Seattle to add to Palmer’s interceptions total, but also look for Arizona to keep it much closer than 58 points.
No. 31 Tampa Bay (plus 7) at No. 24 Atlanta
At some point, the Falcons have to look like the Falcons we expected.
BEST BET: FALCONS, 26-13
No. 12 Baltimore (plus 2) at No. 26 Pittsburgh
Some think Steelers turned a corner with first win. We’re not so sure.
UPSET SPECIAL: RAVENS, 20-19
No. 1 Denver (minus 6 1-2) at No. 7 Indianapolis
Happy returns for Peyton in a game he wants very badly.
No. 11 Chicago (minus 1) at No. 28 Washington
Bears head to bye with stake of first place in NFC North.
No. 21 Cleveland (plus 10) at No. 8 Green Bay
Packers are too banged-up to rout Browns.
No. 4 New England (minus 4) at No. 19 (tie) New York Jets
Speaking of banged-up, look at both of these rosters.
No. 25 Houston (plus 6½) at No. 3 Kansas City
Tough to pick Texans until they show us something.
No. 13 Dallas (plus 3) at No. 16 Philadelphia
LeSean McCoy will be the difference.
No. 9 Cincinnati (plus 2½) at No. 10 Detroit
Reggie Bush will be the difference.
No. 15 San Diego (minus 7½) at No. 32 Jacksonville
Cross-country trip, coming off Monday nighter. Bad vibes for Chargers.
No. 29 Minnesota (plus 3) at No. 30 New York Giants
Monday night classic 1-4 vs. 0-6. Giants get first win.
No. 23 Buffalo (plus 8½) at No. 14 Miami
Time for Dolphins to assert themselves in home divisional game.
No. 6 San Francisco (minus 4½) at No. 17 Tennessee
Niners conquer Music City, then head to London.
No. 19 (tie) St. Louis (plus 6) at No. 22 Carolina
Two wildly inconsistent teams. Take the hosts, barely.
Against spread: 6-9 (40-50-3). Straight up: 7-8 (55-37).
Best Bet: 3-3 against spread, 6-0 straight up.
Upset special: 1-5 against spread, 1-5 straight up.
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