Russell loves you more than you will know (wo wo wo)
Unleash the Beast, Michael Robinson
Harvin hopes that he will also Play
(Hey hey hey. . .)
Let’s start with the biggest negative of this game; possibly the only real point to nit-pick – the fumbles. Russell Wilson fumbled three times and we lost two of those. Part of this we can attribute to the O-line which has been playing better since Unger returned, but is still not creating a comfortable pocket for the QB. Part of it is on Wilson. It’s a tough situation because he’s trying to hang in the pocket as long as possible to make a play without having to just take off and run the ball for a few yards. There are times however that he needs to do a better job of protecting the football. The first fumble when he’s hit by Shaughnessy, he’s already seen that he’s about to go down but still doesn’t protect the ball. I respect the fact that he was still hoping he could make a play but you’d hope for a little more awareness backed up on your side of the field like that. Take the sack, or try to throw the ball at the feet of a receiver and try again on third down, rather than giving up the ball which immediately turned into a touchdown.
Discounting the fumbles, Wilson had a great game completing 62% of his passes for 235 yards, three touchdowns and a 122.1 QB Rating. So far in his career through nearly a season and a half, Wilson is above 62% completions and nearly a 100 passer rating. He also made some of the best throws I’ve seen in a while. His 31-yard TD strike to Rice on the opening drive of the game, while running backwards with a rusher in his face was a thing of beauty (but maybe after watching the Vikings-Giants last night and watching Josh Freeman send most of his 50+ passes 25 yards over his receivers heads, I’m just easily impressed). Getting the ball to Zach Miller while being tackled and parallel with the ground was pretty much one of the best football plays I’ve ever seen. There was another pass that he threw to Golden Tate in the end zone that was ultimately dropped, but it was into coverage, placed perfectly in Tate’s hands. As far as giving your receiver a chance, the ball couldn’t have been fit into the coverage any better. The defense made a play however to keep it from being a score, and it was a bit of a risk considering all the defenders near the ball, but it was a perfect pass in that situation. I think I recall the broadcast commentators say it was more like throwing into a porthole than a window.
Our running game was deceptively good, producing “only” 135 yards (I say “only” because that is about 20 below our average) but what stood out to me was a 4.2 yards per carry average. Prior to the game, the Cardinals were the 8th ranked team vs. the rush. 4.2 yards per carry isn’t super impressive, not for us, but what was impressive was that we usually have a large YPC average from Wilson’s scrambles to bump it up. In this case Wilson only contributed a 3.6 yard average – it was solid running from Lynch and a few nice plays from Turbin that bumped it up.
Defensively this game looked like I hoped it would. The poor Arizona run game was easily shut down, and Carson Palmer did what Carson Palmer does – make a few plays, and make a few mistakes. Mistakes against the LoB means at least a couple picks. At the start of the 4th quarter, the score was 31-13. Although he finished with 258 yards passing, going into the 4th, Palmer had thrown for a net of about 112 yards once you factor in the sack yardage up until that point. Another 106 yards and nine points came in garbage time when the game was already out of reach. The Cardinals finished the game with 30 yards rushing, and 234 total yards.
Fun Fact of the week:
For a team that most ‘experts’ and fans alike will agree is still waiting for the offense to ‘click’ and is missing some key players, Seattle is in the top 10 for yards per game, and top five in points per game. We average 8.3 yards per pass, good enough for 4th in the league. On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks are fourth in the NFL with 23 sacks. Seven of those came last week in Arizona, attributed to eight different players.
• Bengals over Lions
• Redskins over Bears
• Panthers over Rams
Cutler heart just in time for the Bears to go down hill– Really? Again? Stick a fork in the Rams. Bradford was quietly having a good year with nearly 1,700 yards, 14 TD’s to only four picks, and a passer rating over 90. Now – replace him with Kellen Clemens.
• Falcons over Bucs
• Giants over Vikings
As bad as it was I admittedly watched the entirety of the Monday night game. Mostly hoping that if “football gods” actually did exist, I would be there to witness them nuking the field from orbit. I’m not sure what to think about the Falcons. Will they adjust to their injury situation and play better football? Defensively they aren’t horrible. I still think our game with them will be tough.
• Cowboys over Eagles
• 49ers over Titans
• Packers over Browns
Thanks a lot, losers. The Cowboys reacted like they just won the NFC championship game. Hint: Neither you or the Eagles will be anywhere near the NFC championship game.
Overall this was a solid week of results. The not-so-good results were to be expected.
Note: this is not list of picks based on teams I believe will win, or necessarily want to win. Picks in Green are simply the teams for which a win helps the Seahawks a.) Make the playoffs and b.) attain a high playoff seed.
The Walter Jones Division (important games):
Bills @ Saints
Buffalo is going nowhere but I wouldn’t mind if they side-swiped the Saints on the way to the gutter.
49ers @ Jaguars (in London)
Please? I’ve got a soul that I’ve never technically claimed is not for sale. Retail price: 1 (one) Jacksonville win over the Filthy-Whiners.
Redskins @ Broncos
Normally this wouldn’t be a Walter-Level Importance type game. But if on the off chance we need to win a tie-breaker with the 49ers that comes down to strength of schedule, we want the Redskins to suck.
Packers @ Vikings
A Vikings win here would be huge for us based on the strength of victory tiebreakers. Unfortunately I think there’s a better chance of my Jag’s soul-negotiation actually going through.
The Ben Obomanu Division (games of moderate significance):
Cowboys @ Lions
I hate the Cowboys; plus, the Cowboys have a better conference record. Plus, I HATE the Cowboys.
Atlanta @ Arizona
Take your pick really. I’m only picking Atlanta because it’s a division game, and because the Falcons still need to play the saints again so it would be nice if they were still playing for something at that point.
The Kelly Jennings Division (games that, like Jennings himself, don’t really matter.)
Panthers @ Buccaneers
Giants @ Eagles
The inverse of WA @ Denver, we’d like the Giants to get some more wins to increase their strength.
Seahawks @ Rams
Pass Offense: 25
Rush Offense: 2
Total Offense: 10
Pass Defense: 2
Rush Defense: 6
Total Defense: 2
Turnover Differential: +7
Pass Offense: 18
Rush Offense: 29
Total Offense: 30
Pass Defense: 17
Rush Defense: 30
Total Defense: 22
Turnover Differential: +3
Vegas Opening Spread:
I’m not in the habit of predicting blowouts, especially on the road. But I think Seattle rolls over another NFC West opponent in prime time. Our guys have a lot of pride and swagger and you know they love showing it off on prime time. I think that there will be a lot of ‘hawk fans in St. Louis; meanwhile the loss of Bradford for the year has taken the wind out of the sails for many of the fans who realize that former hopes of sneaking into the playoffs as a wild card are pretty much over with without a QB who, as illustrated in the cheat sheet section, was playing well statistically speaking. On top of all that, unless the World Series is a complete sweep, the St. Louis Cardinals will be playing a championship baseball game seven blocks away. The Edward Jones Dome, which I refer to as “The Hospital” when we play there (it gives me the same sterile creeped-out vibe), is going to be about as un-electric as a MNF crowd could be. I expect the ‘Hawks fans to energize our team to a dominant performance.
The stats don’t hurt either. The Rams are 30th in the league at stopping the run, allowing 126 yards per game and 4.2 yards per attempt. Their rushing offense is 29th, and coupled with a backup QB who hasn’t started a game since 2011, our defensive scheme pretty much becomes what it’s been the last couple games – stuff the run and force a sub-par QB to beat the league’s best secondary. Not gonna happen though. My prediction is that at least one member of the Legion of Boom will have multiple picks. My guess is that Earl Thomas will finish up week 8 as the INT leader in the NFL. I think the defensive effort might end up looking a lot like it did against the cardinals – a decent completion percentage for Clemens as we set up opportunities for turn-overs. Offensively, I’m tempted to lower my score prediction for the hawks a bit based on the fact that I think we are going to have so much success running the ball that the clock should be running down pretty quickly. But I also see us having too many opportunities to score. Seattle is a streaky team and I think last week getting Miller back and having an offensive line play a little bit better went a long way in helping us get things rolling. I could conceivably see us putting up at least 30 points in each of our next five games. I think Wilson will have something close to a 220 passing yard/ 1 TD day while Lynch does the rest of the work.
The only way I see this game being close is if Jeff Fisher and the coaching staff can convince their players that the season is not lost. In order for that to take hold, Kellen Clemens needs to come out early and show he can score. If they can drive down the field early and put it in the end zone, this suddenly becomes a competitive game. If Seattle gets out to an early lead, however, look for this game to end up a lot like last week, minus the part where Carson Palmer gets to show off his complete mastery of garbage time (and hopefully with less Wilson fumbles). I just think the atmosphere is going to be in the ‘Hawks favor, especially with the awesome showing in Arizona last week – our guys will be that much more cranked up to have the fans in their corner. The rams inability to stop the run will open up the passing game, as well as create opportunities for Wilson to make his easy jogs past the first down marker and out of bounds.