OK, so here’s the deal. I do a weekly pick ’em thing with my friends where we pick the winners of all the NFL games. Pretty simple, straightforward, and a lot of fun (especially the smack talk come Monday night). I have a pretty solid read on all the games this week, which is a rarity considering the state of the NFL in general and especially this season.
However, there’s one game (and I think you hear me knockin’, and I think I’m coming in) that I have absolutely NO CLUE about. Yes, it’s Seattle @ Cleveland.
The bewilderment I feel for this game is pretty much unlike any other. It’s both frightening and exhilarating. Exhilarating because figuratively ANY result could happen and I would believe it. And frightening because … *gulp* … there’s a spot deep down in my gut that believes the guy who gives the Seahawks the best chance to win this game is Tarvaris Jackson.
Look, I’m STILL trying to wrap my head around that win in Giants Stadium. That game is like the Chewbacca Defense to my brain.
Had the Seahawks lost to the Giants like they were supposed to, I wouldn’t even give this Browns game a FIRST thought, let alone a second one. Because at that point, I could rationalize away the furious comeback against the Falcons as being: the Seahawks at home, the Seahakws in a hurry-up offense to try to come back from a huge deficit, and the Falcons’ defense not being all that good.
But, the Seahawks DIDN’T lose to the Giants! They continued with their hurry-up style, they forced Eli into one of his Attrocious Eli games, and really, if it weren’t for some uncharacteristic fumbles by some sure-handed running backs in the Giants’ red zone, that game would’ve been even MORE of a blowout. In short, the Seahawks handled a team on the road that has as good a chance as anyone in the NFC East of going to the playoffs.
So, as the title posits: if the Seahawks could go into New Jersey and beat the Giants, why can’t they go into Cleveland – after a bye week – and beat the Browns?
In short, I’m using this forum as an excuse to try to talk myself into a pick I’m not sure I want to make.
If it were as simple as: Seahawks Beat Giants, Giants Are Better Than Browns, Therefore Seahawks Beat Browns, then guess what? You’d have yourselves a 12-word blog post and we could all go on with our lives (speaking of which, if the Seahawks DO beat the Browns this Sunday, that’s exactly what you’re getting and nothing more; also, that is 1 syllable away from being a Haiku … I may have to make that happen).
Since it’s not that simple, I have to look at why the Seahawks would actually win this game. I think we can all agree that this game is going to be ugly as shit. Whitehurst vs. McCoy is about as tantalizing as watching your grandparents fuck: it’s going to be slow, you’re going to want to avert your eyes as much as humanly possible, and after it’s over you’re going to wish you hadn’t stuck around for the full three hours.
So, who comes out ahead (aside from the blind)? Well, we can all look at the Browns and see a team that’s just God-awful. They won two games against two winless teams (@ Indy and vs. Miami), they were pretty much torched at home by the Bungles and the Titans (both of which may or may not be terrible), and last week they got their lunches handed to them in Oakland by Kyle Boller and Shane Lechler. What’s worse: they’re 30th in rushing offense! This is a team that featured the running back like it was the antidote last season! Now, they’re one of three teams WORSE than the Seahawks at rushing (the Seahawks are 29th in the league), which means they’re relying almost exclusively on Colt McCoy’s arm to win them football games.
Which means they’re worse than we could’ve possibly imagined.
On defense, they can’t stop the run to save their lives, but I don’t know if that means much because, as I said earlier, the Seahawks are terrible at it. The Browns are also 4th best against the pass, but I don’t know if that’s because they have a really good secondary, or because they’ve played the likes of Cincy, Indy, Miami, and Oakland. Granted, the Seahawks can’t be much better than those four teams, so I don’t know what to tell you.
What I can tell you is the Seahawks defense is studly against the run. So, if they hoped to break out of their malaise, they picked the wrong time to quit sniffing glue. Our defense isn’t too great against the pass, but part of that has to be Eli Manning throwing for 400 yards (and I will remind you that he threw a multitude of picks and bad balls into double-and-triple coverage, so yeah).
In the end, this whole thing boils down to: Can Whitehurst do more than Not Fuck Things Up? Like: can he ACTUALLY make a play or two to WIN us the ballgame? Yeah, he was steady Eddie in that NFC West-clinching game against the Rams last year, but that was at home, at night, with the fans as jacked up as I’ve ever seen them (until Beastmode came to town the following week). This is on the road, at 10am, in the Eastern time zone. I don’t care what happened in Jersey two weeks ago, those demons don’t just get exorcised with one flukey win.
Honestly, my gut is telling me to go with Cleveland. My brain, on the other hand, is telling me to go with the Seahawks and that I won’t regret it! But, I can’t tell if my brain is being clouded by my homerism, or if it’s actually rationalizing with me like this was any other game. For instance, my brain is telling me that Oakland is starting Carson Palmer a week into his 2011 season. Until this point, Carson Palmer had been sitting on his ass, and what’s worse: HIS brain was all settled on the notion that he wouldn’t be playing football AT ALL this season (I refuse to believe any quotes from him on the contrary; he HAD to have believed Cincy was going to hold onto him out of sheer spite). How could I POSSIBLY trust a guy in this scenario to go out and win a football game against a hated divisional foe? In other words: my brain is telling me to pick Kansas City. However, if I happened to be a fan of the Raiders, would my brain be trying to tell me otherwise?
I know it’s not exactly an Apples to Apples comparison, but you catch my drift. Homerism fucks with your judgment every damn time! And now that I know the Seahawks are out of the Suck For Luck Sweepstakes, I fear my homerism is taking over completely.
WOULD Tarvar be a better option in this game? Rather, would a HEALTHY Tarvar be a better option? I’m inclined to say yes, and that worries me most of all. Does that mean I’m coming around on the guy? Is Tarvar sucking me in?
I tell you what, if Football Jesus wins this game for me, I will no longer be having this identity crisis.
Yes, I’m going with the Seahawks. And if they screw me (like I know they will), my head might just explode. How could I trust this team again if they go into Giants Stadium one week and kick ass, then go into wherever the Browns play and lose a sloppy, saggy-skinned game the next? I’ll tell you what, it’ll make me feel exactly the same way I do about this game NEXT week when we host the 4-2 Bengals. I don’t need that! I’m getting too old for this shit! I want to confidently pick the Seahawks at home against the Bungles and move along with my day!
Could you do that for me, Seahawks? Could you make my life easier for once in your miserable fucking existence?