I’m going to the Husky basketball game tonight, so you get the preview a day earlier than normal (as if I would be caught dead doing any work on this site on Christmas Eve).
In every way, the Tampa Bucs are the exact opposite of the Seattle Seahawks. They have a rising stud of a quarterback; we have a declining veteran. They have an imposing running game; we’re lucky to crack 70 yards in a game. They play in probably the best division in football; we play in the worst. They’ve played in a lot of close games (9 of 14 games decided by 7 points or less); we have not (2 of 14 decided by 7 points or less – both wins early in the season). Hell, our records are even mirror images; 8-6 vs. 6-8!
But I’m here to tell you right now, the Bucs are not there. Yet.
The Bucs have an 8-1 record against teams with losing records (they are 0-5 against the likes of Atlanta, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore). 8-1! They just lost to Detroit in overtime (4-10 record), so before that they ripped off 8 wins against Carolina (twice), the NFC West (3 games), the AFC North (Cincinnati & Cleveland), and the Redskins a week before they benched McNabb. The best team the Bucs beat was St. Louis, and that was by a point!
I will grant you that they hung tough with Atlanta on a couple of occasions, and only lost by a touch to Baltimore, but overall this team isn’t THAT much better than the Seahawks (if they’re even better than us at all, which I’m not conceeding).
Now, I can’t sit here and say that the Seahawks have had it all that much tougher. I will say the AFC West has half the number of bottom-feeders that the AFC North has. But, let’s face it, the Seahawks are actually IN the NFC West. We get to play these chickenfuckers 6 times a year! At least we have a couple wins against a couple of teams looking to crack a playoff berth (Bears & Chargers).
Both teams do have a little something in common. We’re both coming into this game riding some pretty bad losing streaks. They’ve lost 3 of 4; we’ve lost 4 of 5 (or 6 of 8 depending on how far back you want to go). They’ve been hit by the injury bug (especially along the defensive front); we’ve been hit by the injury bug. They’re clinging desperately to playoff hopes being squandered; we’re clinging desperately to playoff hopes being squandered.
You know what, though? I think we can beat these guys! We’re catching them at the right time, that’s for sure. You gotta feel pretty low after losing at home to the Detroit Lions. We might even be able to rush on their depleted defensive line! If we can hold LeGarrette Blount in check, force Freeman to have to pull another miracle out of his ass … who knows? Maybe we can stop that miracle from happening!
Everything is pointed against the Seahawks this week. On the road, East Coast, Hasselbeck is in the funk of all funks and the fans are calling for his benching, we haven’t beaten a good team in weeks and haven’t even been competitive in most games. All things considered, I have a feeling about this game. I haven’t had this feeling since before the Bears game when we had to go into Chicago and everyone left us for dead there too. I think Hasselbeck can pull out an efficient, effective game. I think Lynch is going to run hard and dirty. I think Williams is going to top 100 yards for the first time since week 11. I think our defense is going to get one or two timely sacks, maybe a turnover, and dominate on 3rd down like they did early in the year.
I think it’s all going to come together for a close, nail-biting victory where everyone in the free world will be left shaking their heads wondering how in the hell the Seahawks just pulled off the impossible. And maybe, JUST MAYBE, an 8-8 team will win this division of ours.
I’m calling for the upset. 28-27. Lock it up in the vault and throw away the key combination.