Seattle’s home field advantage is officially dead. 2-2 at home through the midway point of the season means the crowd noise alone isn’t doing enough of the job. The defensive line should be swarming all around every quarterback that comes in here, but that’s clearly not the case. It’s loud everywhere, and most teams have figured out how to play with a silent count. Also, since the Seahawks apparently don’t play well in the rain, that shuts down any weather advantage you’d think we’d have.
With the way the Ravens and Saints were able to move the ball, it’s going to come down to just the talent on the field. No external circumstances figure to be in play.
On paper, you’d think that’d be a good thing. The Bucs aren’t very good. The Seahawks, if nothing else, have proven to be able to handle the not-very-good teams they’ve played so far. But, we’ve yet to put it together in all three phases, and we’ve still yet to see that game – that comes seemingly every year – where we blow one against a team we’re clearly superior to.
The Seahawks SHOULD dominate the Bucs. They also should’ve dominated the Falcons, Browns, Bengals, and Saints (without Brees). It turns out the Saints as a whole are a lot better than I thought heading into that one, but those other teams played us tough; a couple breaks going the other way, and we’d all be singing a drastically different tune about the Seahawks.
The Bucs can score in bunches. They made the Rams’ secondary look like they weren’t even on the field! They’ve got two elite receivers and a quarterback who, at times, is as talented as they come. He’s also not very bright and has a tendency to turn the ball over. Every time you think about the Bucs, you have to ask yourself: will we see Good Jameis or Bad Jameis? Good Jameis can beat any football team in any city on any given Sunday. Bad Jameis can lose to the absolute worst teams, even in ideal circumstances, with his terrible decision-making.
And, there’s really no predicting which Jameis we’ll get this week. A betting man would probably put the odds higher on Bad Jameis showing up in Seattle. It’s on the road, it’s loud here, and he definitely forces it to his receivers over his tight ends. If I were to ever buy-in on a Tampa tight end, it would be this weekend, but I dunno. They just don’t throw the ball to O.J. Howard or Cameron Brate, even though those guys are giants and very gifted (particularly in the red zone). To be fair, though, I don’t know if either one is all that healthy heading into this game.
On the flipside, it’s not like the Seahawks are so great at covering receivers. Shaquill Griffin has been rock solid on his side of the field, but it ain’t no thang to just throw to the other side, where our coverage is considerably weaker. And, if Chris Godwin plays exclusively out of the slot, he could EASILY put up double-digit catches and 200+ yards on us, with either a linebacker or a replacement-level nickel back covering him.
There’s also the factor that Bruce Arians is their coach, and if anyone knows how to beat the Seahawks, it’s
Jeff Fisher Bruce Arians. I’ve seen plenty of mediocre Arizona teams come into Seattle under Arians and somehow sneak out of here with a victory.
If Bad Jameis shows up, this should be an easy Seahawks victory, maybe the easiest of the season. But, even if Good Jameis plays, it’s not like we’re screwed. Fortunately for all concerned, the Bucs’ defense gives up the second-most passing yards in the league. That works out for us, because Russell Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the game. That’s doubly important, because the Bucs give up the fewest rushing yards per game in the NFL. So, getting the ball out on time and down field will be vital. As the Bucs give up over 30 points per game, we should have no problem with our offense in this one.
As the Bucs are almost as bad at the Seahawks at getting pressure, I fully expect this one to be a shootout through the air. My one concern is if the Seahawks try to continuously run into a brick wall with Carson. I believe in him as much as anyone, but maybe this could be the week where we bust out the air attack. You gotta play to your opponent’s weaknesses, and it’s pretty clear where the Bucs are weakest.
In the end, I’m officially predicting a close Seahawks victory (if I were a betting man, I’d also be POUNDING the over on this one; as 60 points feels more accurate for these two defenses), but I could see this entire weekend going haywire. I’m already off to TERRIBLE starts in my two premiere fantasy football games (the 49ers defense dominates pretty much every opposing quarterback, except the week I go up against Kyler Murray), the Huskies are probably going to be routed by Utah for a third home loss on the season, so might as well top off this shitty sundae with a baffling loss to an inferior squad on Sunday.
Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. That’s my life’s motto and it’s in full effect this weekend.