There are an unusual number of dome games this week, but CenturyLink Field in Seattle will be exposed to the elements as the New York Giants travel to the Seattle Seahawks for a potentially messy NFL Week 8 matchup. This game is borderline "Monitoring"/“Elevated” as light to moderate rain with 15 mph sustained winds and gust 25+ mph are possible throughout the game.
We will also monitor the Monday Night game for the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns where a passing rain shower could make things wet for a quarter or two. However, we are not expecting any impacts at this time.
A front associated with a strong area of low pressure over the Gulf of Alaska will bring rain and wind to the Pacific Northwest this weekend. Models have backed off a bit when it comes to precipitation totals, but 0.1 inches during the game is possible. This translates to light/moderate rain that is forecasted to be intermittent for the first half, but could intensify into the second half. Winds are projected to hover around 15 mph, with isolated gusts possible, but due to the partially enclosed nature of CenturyLink, the risk due to winds is mostly mitigated. If rain remains persistent, this could impact passing volume and potentially give more opportunities to the RBs.
New York Giants @ Seattle Seahawks (4:25 pm ET)
DK Sports Book O/U: 44.5 pts
Who would have thought: the 6-1 Daniel Jones led New York Giants traveling to play the 4-3 Geno Smith led Seattle Seahawks would be primetime football in week 8. Both teams have momentum, but weather could adversely impact offenses and contribute to a slower pace of play. Currently, DK has this game set as a 44.5 O/U line with Seattle favored by 3. When we dig into the defensive performances this year, we get some mixed results. The Giants have a bend but don’t break style of defense. They rank 5th in points given up per game at 18.6, but also rank 19th in terms of total yards given up per game at 355 (they gave up 452 yards to the Jaguars last week alone). Seattle has improved their defensive presence of late due to better secondary play, but are still ranked 28th in points given up per game at 26.6, and 29th in terms of total yards given up per game at 399.
So what does this mean in terms of offensive projections given the weather? Historically, there are strong trends when it comes to QB and RB metrics in similar weather conditions. For passing, we typically see a 44 passing yard decrease on average with a 75% chance of hitting the passing yards under in comparison to a control mean of 222.7 yards.
There is also a significant skew to the left in the passing distribution during weather games. In the graph below, the green bars indicate passing yard performance in similar weather conditions, while gray bars represent the control group. This shift to less passing yards indicates a lower probability for a high passing affair, potentially limiting QB upside.
Currently, the DK sports book line for passing yards for Geno Smith and Daniel Jones is 231.5 and 197.5 respectively. Although it is a small sample, Geno Smith seems to have struggled historically in the rain averaging only 116 yards passing in similar games. It also doesn’t help that DK Metcalf is questionable and is in serious danger of sitting. As such, this 231.5 line might end up being a tough task against a Giants secondary giving up 211 passing yards per game on average this year. If you are starting Geno Smith and Daniel Jones, you are counting on their ability to rush and gain yards on the ground, even if they struggle through the air.
Based on our analytics, our money is on the rushing attack on both sides. The Giants rank dead last defensively in terms of yards per rushing attempt allowed at 5.7, and 28th in terms of average rushing yards per game allowed at 144.4. The Seahawks aren’t much better, ranking 27th defensively in terms of rushing yards per attempt at 4.9, and allowing an average of 149.7 rushing yards per game which ranks 29th. So even without weather, Barkley and Walker have huge upside. With the forecasted weather, we believe both RBs have an even higher floor. On average we see 16 more yards and 2 more attempts for RBs in similar weather conditions.
The DK sports book has Kenneth Walker and Saquon Barkley getting 81.5 and 87.5 yards rushing respectively. It would not be surprising to see both teams lean on their running games if conditions deteriorate, especially during the second half. Additionally, an increased chance of dump-off passes to these RBs is an added bonus. For these reasons, both RBs have top 5 potential this week and can be played with confidence.
Upside Plays: Saquon Barkley, Kenneth Walker
Risky Plays: Geno Smith, Daniel Jones (but both offer a fairly safe floor due to their rushing yards baseline)