As a football fan, I hate Thursday Night Football. It’s not enough time for players to rest and recover, which results in more injuries (perhaps factually inaccurate, but it sure as shit seems like the Seahawks suffer an inordinate number of devastating injuries in these games), and an inferior quality of game play (again, anecdotally-speaking, but the vast majority of football fans agree with me). Also, saddling us with a divisional opponent (the most important games you can play in football, from a tiebreaker perspective) seems all the more unfair. They’re plain and simply an obvious cash grab by the league, and the only upside is a so-called “mini-BYE week” as a reward (with 10-11 days before your next scheduled game); forgetting the fact that at this point, the NFL should be giving every team two full BYE weeks regardless, because the game of football is absolutely BRUTALIZING!
I will say, though, as a Seahawks blogger, I kind of love Thursday Night Football. I get to do my preview a day early, I get to write my recap before the rest of the NFL has played that week, and I get the whole next week to write about whatever the hell I want! Besides that, as a Seahawks fan, if we win tonight, the rest of the weekend is absolute gravy! All I’ll have to concern myself with is how my fantasy team does.
Okay, so maybe not “gravy” so much as a bowl of mayonnaise soup. Let’s move on.
So, if I’m as smart as I think I am, then the Seahawks will win tonight and we’ll all have a chance to calm down for a while. Considering I have it on pretty good authority that I’m hot shit, I’m willing to stick my neck out and confirm my previous suspicions that not only will the Seahawks beat the Cardinals, but we’ll go on to win out the rest of this season and nab that #1 seed in the NFC.
I would argue I have Vegas on my side, because there is NO reason why the Seahawks should be favored by three points (I don’t care that we’re at home, which isn’t even an advantage without fans anyway). Based on the way we’ve played in three of the last four games, combined with the way the Cardinals have played in that same span, there’s just no real logical reason why we should have faith in the Seahawks. When you see how the teams have played of late, and you see a line that sits counter to expectations, that’s a pretty big red flag that what’s GOING to happen isn’t necessarily what SHOULD happen; logic and reason have no place in the NFL sometimes (that’s why, in the long run, Vegas always prevails and the bettors can all get fucked).
I have no evidence to back this up, but I guarantee you the vast majority of the betting public has their money on the Cardinals, with a significant portion picking them to win on the money line. If Vegas is as smart as I think they are, that means the Seahawks will win by 4 or more and most of the country will be scratching their heads in wonderment.
So, what does a Seahawks victory look like? Well, for starters, it’ll help that Carlos Hyde and/or Chris Carson will be back tonight (we’re pretty sure about Hyde, less confident about Carson). It’s clear these two are a big upgrade over the backups on the roster. It’s also clear that this team can’t win by ignoring the run entirely. They can still let Russ cook, but they’ll need the running backs to do a little more prep work than we’ve been getting of late.
More importantly, we’re going to need Russell Wilson to play better. That’s it. That’s the key to the game. Not only has he NOT played like an MVP over the last month, he’s hardly played even competent football! He’s making Carson Wentz-esque mistakes that are so uncharacteristic, it’s led some fans to wonder if he’s been concussed for the last few weeks! With the amount of hits he’s taken, it wouldn’t shock me. Speaking of which, we haven’t called out the offensive line much this year, but they REALLY need to do a better job of keeping guys off of our All Pro. He has taken far too much abuse, and if we’re not more careful, Wilson WILL get hurt, and then we’ll be really screwed!
It’s going to be a lot to ask, but it would be nice if the defense picked it up. It feels like we’re SO CLOSE to turning a corner on this side of the ball! Unfortunately, we’re pretty banged up (our top two cornerbacks will once again miss the game, and our star safety, Jamal Adams, is playing hurt), so it’s going to take everyone stepping up and contributing. What we really need is to come out strong in the first half. Let the offense jump out to a lead, and try to play the second half from ahead instead of scrambling to catch up from behind.
The fact of the matter is, the Seahawks are probably the most injured team in football from top to bottom. Everyone talks about the 49ers, and they’ve surely lost a lot of top tier guys, but our depth is absolutely decimated and it’s taken a toll these last four games.
What can we learn from our loss to the Cardinals four weeks ago? Well, for starters, stop turning the ball over! I would also say, dropping everyone back in coverage and having a spy on Kyler Murray isn’t the way to go. Not only did he carve us up through the air, but our spy wasn’t nearly fast enough to contain him, so he also beat us with his legs. He’s still a young quarterback. You have to pressure young quarterbacks! For us, that probably means blitzing a lot more than we did last time. And, if he gashes us for big gains here and there with his legs, I’m willing to live with that as long as we can get him on the ground occasionally and force him into turning the ball over.
If I were less of a homer and more of a neutral fan, I’d probably be taking the Cardinals to win in this one. But, I’m a Seahawks fan and therefore totally irrational. I don’t have a lot of good reasons why the Seahawks should win this game. Probably the best one I’ve got is the fact that the Seahawks have never lost three consecutive games in the Russell Wilson Era. And it’s not like there haven’t been opportunities! We’ve lost two games in a row plenty of times. But, never three. And I don’t believe we’re going to start now.
Not as long as Russell Fucking Wilson has anything to say about it.