Seahawks Death Week: What Would 2021 Have Looked Like If Russell Wilson Never Got Injured?

There’s an argument to be made that after finishing with a losing record for the first time in the Russell Wilson era, the Seahawks need to be blown up to some degree. I think that’s where we’re headed, and I think most people are in agreement that it should be where we’re headed. But, there’s a nagging thought that 2021 was just a fluke. Russell Wilson mangled the middle finger of his throwing hand, which took him out in the middle of one game, cost him all of three more, and arguably affected him quite seriously in his first three games back following surgery. What would this season have looked like if he’d never injured the finger in the first place?

Well, for starters, in this alternate universe, that would’ve meant the Seahawks had an offensive line that was worth a damn, and was capable of keeping Aaron Donald away from our star quarterback; so right there you can tell it’s a total fantasy. Also, we know that Wilson at full health – through the first four games of the season – led the Seahawks to a 2-2 record. In the Rams game, we had a 7-3 lead at halftime, but trailed 16-7 heading into the fourth quarter. In that fateful third quarter is when Wilson got injured, but up until that point, the offense had done next to nothing productive (really outside of one touchdown drive in the second quarter, aided by more than half the yards coming on a pass interference penalty). Given the way the game was going while Wilson was healthy, I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Seahawks would’ve lost to the Rams regardless, dropping our record to 2-3.

But, here’s where things get interesting: the Seahawks lost the next two games by three points each; one in Pittsburgh, in overtime, and the other at home against the Saints on Monday night. Both were exclusively Geno Smith games, where the defense managed to step up in a big way (especially against the Saints, holding them to only 13 points). Look, I’m just going to say it: Russell Wilson has to be worth more than three points per game over Geno Smith. I don’t care how ineffective the offense has looked at times (even when he’s been fully healthy). We’ll never know, of course, but I have to believe – given the way the defense stepped up starting with this stretch – that we would have won both of those games, while easily taking care of the Jags the following week (which we did anyway, with Geno, handily).

If you give the Seahawks three wins there, that improves our record to 5-3; not a bad way to head into the BYE week.

Then, we have the November swoon. In our reality, Russell Wilson returned for the Green Bay game, but the Seahawks ended up getting shut out. We also lost by 10 to the Cardinals (with Colt McCoy at the helm), and by two points to the Washington Football Team. This is where projecting hypotheticals gets tricky, because how do we quantify where to split up the blame? How much of the blame was on Wilson returning from injury too soon, and not being able to make all the throws he was supposed to make? There’s no question he was more off-target in those games than we’ve ever seen him before, and he’s since admitted that it was bothering him at times during this stretch. But, we also know that he’s Russell Wilson, and he plays the game in such a way as to try to take on more than he should. He holds out for the deep ball more than he should. He gets hit more than he should. If he just checked down and took what the defense gave him, he’d be a better quarterback.

It would be the peak of homerism to say the Seahawks would’ve been 3-0 with a fully healthy Wilson (all other things being the same), but it’s not unreasonable to believe we would’ve been 2-1. At the very least, I think we should’ve been 1-2. A 1-2 record makes us 6-5 after that stretch.

From there, things got back on track against the 49ers and Texans; hypothetically, that would’ve made us 8-5. Another loss to the Rams would’ve dropped us to 8-6, but that still would’ve had us squarely in the hunt heading into the Bears’ game. Conversely, in reality, we were 5-9 heading into the Bears game, and thoroughly knocked out of the playoff picture. You have to wonder if there was some semblance of a collective let-down heading into the Chicago game. I’ll always wonder if things might’ve been different if we had something to actually play for.

But, as mentioned before, this offense has largely been dysfunctional, with or without a healthy Wilson. So, let’s say that loss puts us at 8-7; the Lions victory still would’ve made us 9-7 heading into this past weekend. That would’ve had us squarely in the Wild Card picture over the 49ers (thanks to our season sweep over them), probably in the seventh seed.

And then, lo and behold, a victory over the 11-win Cards! That would’ve been our 10th win of the season – tied with the 49ers, who again, we beat both times we played them this year – putting us in the 6th seed of the playoffs, with a road game in Dallas next week.

Do we win that game in this scenario? Probably not. That Cowboys defense is pretty tremendous. But, I don’t think it’s insane to say that if Wilson had never injured his finger, and everything else had stayed the same, that we would’ve been a playoff team. It’s food for thought.

Obviously, there are countless other hypotheticals that could’ve come true; this is real Butterfly Effect territory we’re getting into. But, we’ve always said that the Seahawks would be screwed if Russell Wilson ever got injured and had to miss games. Well, he got injured, he missed games, and the Seahawks got screwed as a result.

This is what happens when you neglect the backup quarterback spot and give it to any old guy available.

The Seahawks Blew Out A Terrible Texans Team

As a fan, when you get too close to a team – you obsess about them week-to-week, you sit enrapt during every game, you might even pour over the footage after it’s done to try to glean extra nuggets of information to spout out on your social media outlet of choice – it’s easy to get swept up by the rollercoaster.

  • Week 1 – The Seahawks handily beat the Colts, we’re headed to the Super Bowl!
  • Week 3 – The Seahawks blew two winnable games in a row, fuck my life
  • Week 4 – The Seahawks stole one from the 49ers, maybe we’re okay
  • Week 5 – Russell Wilson’s hurt, please kill me
  • Week 7 – We’re 2-5, stick a fork in us
  • Week 8 – We’re 3-5 with the BYE coming up, let’s see if Russ comes back
  • Week 9 – Russ is back, just in time!
  • Week 10 – Shut out at Green Bay, uh oh
  • Week 12 – Lost three in a row, 3-8 overall, season’s over
  • Week 14 – Won two in a row, so you’re sayin’ there’s a chance …

Sure, technically, if the Seahawks win out, they’re 9-8. 9-8 is probably enough to make the 7-seed in the NFC (that’s ignoring the fact that 6 of those 8 losses are to NFC teams, which probably precludes us from that particular very important tie-breaker, but that’s neither here nor there), but what happens when the Seahawks lose to the Rams this week? Then, we have to try to talk ourselves into an 8-9 team making the playoffs? Where does it end?!

My point from above (if this is even interesting to talk about at all), is that it’s a lot easier to avoid that rollercoaster of emotion – and see this team for what it is – when you’re not as invested. When you stop obsessing about them as much during the week, and when you blow off halves or entire games on Sunday, and go out and live your life.

I watched the first half of this Texans/Seahawks game, and you know what I saw? I saw the REAL Seahawks. I saw a team with superior talent struggle to cling to a 16-13 lead at halftime. I saw a defense with very little pass rush and soft coverage let a nobody quarterback march his team up and down the field. I saw an offense with a terrible line give up repeated pressure. Sure, I saw some good things too, but they were drowning in mediocre results.

And then I brushed my teeth and washed my face and left the house to go do something more enjoyable. What was there for me in the second half of that game? Well, as it turns out, there was a 17-0 finish in favor of the Seahawks, to give the game its 33-13 final. But, it just as easily could’ve been some weird scenario where the Seahawks keep shooting themselves in the foot on offense, and squander the game away late. Is Davis Mills really THAT much worse than Colt McCoy? And Colt McCoy has beaten us in back-to-back seasons!

You watch that second half, and you might go on to delude yourself into thinking this is a Seahawks team that’s capable of making the playoffs. But, the taste that’s still left in my mouth? It’s not nearly so scrumptious. I’ve missed the best parts of the last two weeks (the entire victory over the 49ers, and the half against the Texans where it was a Seahawks rout), so my last visions of these guys are a baffling loss to the Washington Football Team, and whatever I saw in the first half yesterday morning.

My outlook is far less rosy. My hunch is: the Seahawks go 2-2 the rest of the way (and not necessarily the 2-2 that you THINK is going to happen – where we beat the Bears & Lions at home and lose to the Rams & Cards on the road), finish 7-10, and hand-deliver the Jets a quality draft pick very close to the top 10.

Some interesting nuggets from this Texans game include Rashaad Penny busting out for 137 yards on 16 carries (including 2 TDs). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Penny could’ve run for 300 yards against the Texans and I still wouldn’t trust him with a contract extension if I were the Seahawks. DON’T get suckered in! Let him walk! Especially if there’s an ounce of a possibility that Chris Carson recovers and returns next year. Just, please, give us all a fucking break. Penny had a good game; I hope he has a great end to this season. And then I hope he signs on elsewhere and has a lovely finish to his career with another team. I’m done, you hear?!

Pretty decent game for the Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett connection. Wilson had 260 yards overall (17/28 passing) with 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Lockett caught 5 of those for 142 and a TD. That somehow left only table scraps for my guy D.K. Metcalf, but you can’t win ’em all.

Al Woods had another monster game in this one; boy is he fun to watch when he’s wreaking havoc! Give him half a sack and a tackle for loss (5 tackles total). Darrell Taylor had another sack, bringing his total to 6 on the season (a team high). Also, Bobby Wagner had another 15 sacks, to give him approximately a billion on the year (or 152, to lead the NFL, because all guys who lead the league in tackles are on mediocre defenses, it’s a rule; Jordyn Brooks is third in the NFL with 135).

I dunno. More guys got injured in this one, Jason Myers missed two extra points, and only two of Michael Dickson’s four punts were inside the 20 yard line. You hate to see it.

Leaving The Seahawks For Dead

I know the Seahawks aren’t officially eliminated from playoff contention yet, but it’s only a matter of time. The writing has been on the wall since the second week of the season, but when you melt down like the Seahawks melted down yesterday, there’s no coming back. Even if the Seahawks did manage to run the table, what would be the point? To stick it to the Jets? Haven’t they suffered enough?

The Arizona Cardinals went into this game with no DeAndre Hopkins; we knew that well ahead of time. They also went into this game with no Kyler Murray; we heard about this either the night before or the morning of. Colt McCoy got the start, and much like last year – when he came into Seattle as a member of the New York Football Giants and somehow emerged victorious – he once again decimated our season. If you’ll recall, at season’s end we were one game out of the top spot in the NFC; had we beaten the Giants, we would’ve been in a vastly superior position over merely hosting in the wild card round and losing at home to the Rams.

This year, Colt McCoy & Co. dropped us to 3-7. It’s like when Travis Coates shot a rabid Old Yeller out behind the barn, but if Old Yeller was a dick to everyone the entire movie. No one is mourning the death of this Seahawks season; this team hasn’t been fun to watch for years, and this is the LEAST-fun version of all of these mediocre Seahawks teams.

You know whose schtick gets really old and tired when he’s not pulling games out of his ass and carrying the team on his back? Russell Wilson. I’m ready for him to go somewhere else. It’s clear he doesn’t give a shit and doesn’t want to be here.

All the old, dead weight needs to be dropped as well. That means getting rid of Chris Carson, Alex Collins, and Rashaad Penny. Carson is already out for the year with an upcoming neck surgery, and has probably played his final down of football (because the last thing anyone wants to do is take a chance on permanently injuring their neck, especially when they play a position that gets hit as often as running back does). Trash-aad Penny had an opening run of 18 yards, immediately got injured, had a run of 1 yard in the second half, and never returned. He had the highest health grade of all running backs the year he was drafted.

Duane Brown sure looks like he’s done! I’m glad we didn’t bother to extend him. Gabe Jackson sure looks like a waste of money! I saw him fuck up on two critical plays where he couldn’t handle a simple defensive stunt; that’s all I need to see. The center position has been a continuous wasteland ever since we traded away Max Unger. And, the worst player I saw yesterday was Brandon Shell, who got repeatedly abused by Chandler Jones.

It’s hard to get too mad at the defense, as I thought they did their jobs for the most part. But, they couldn’t do anything when it mattered most (7 minutes left in the game, the Seahawks just scored to pull it to within 3 points; Arizona promptly drove 67 yards for a TD, taking 4:45 off the clock) and there are any number of guys who are overpaid and not performing to market rates.

I can’t wait to have most of these veterans out of my life, but there’s one thing I haven’t mentioned yet.

If we’re talking about doing a full tear-down and rebuild, you can’t ignore the coaching staff and front office. Since I referenced schtick getting old, I might as well talk about Pete Carroll here. Conventional wisdom indicates when you find a franchise quarterback, you do whatever it takes to make him happy and keep him for as long as his prime will last. Between that, and Carroll’s advanced age, it was fair to wonder if he wanted to endure another rebuild. But, at this point, I don’t think he has a choice. And in fact, I think the choice will be made for him as soon as the final game ends and Russell Wilson hands the team his updated list of teams he’ll accept a trade to. So, the next question to ask is: does Pete Carroll want to return? And, if so, will the team decide to keep him?

I’ll save the conversation around whether the team SHOULD bring him back or not for another time. Seeing how this team devolved over the last half decade, I think it’s fair for a lot of Seahawks fans to want a change from the top on down. But, Pete Carroll helped engineer the greatest rebuild in team history a decade ago; part of me is curious to see if he can do it again. Or, rather, what he would do this time around (because it’s unfair to expect him to helm a rebuild as epic as the last one).

The downside of keeping Carroll is we’re almost certainly going to keep the coaching staff around him. That means Ken Norton wouldn’t be going anywhere, even though he’s inept at his job. And, that means Shane Waldron getting another crack at it. A blind chimp should be able to take the talent we have with Russell Wilson at quarterback and average more than 19 points on offense. I think our initial suspicions were correct when we saw the Seahawks hire someone who had – time and time again – been passed over for promotions, by both his own team and the other teams who were looking to poach from the Rams.

Then, there’s John Schneider. He’s a guy who hasn’t had a quality draft since 2012. He’s a guy who has bungled a high percentage of high-profile trades. He’s punted on most first rounds of the draft, and when he hasn’t, he’s still failed spectacularly. I don’t know how you defend the guy anymore. Other teams win a lot, get saddled with lower draft picks, and still manage to find quality players to incorporate into their systems. Other teams don’t go through these endless periods where their fucking offensive line can’t block for shit.

I don’t know. Normally, when things get this bad, I take solace in looking forward to what changes can be made to improve things, but as I’ve mentioned nonstop, there’s nothing to look forward to with this team. The Jets own our first round pick (at this point, it’s the fifth overall pick … sigh). For some reason, we got back the Jets’ fourth rounder, but we traded away our sixth rounder to the Jags for Sidney Jones. We’ve managed to save a little bit of money, but who knows if there’s some panic deal to be made in free agency in the coming weeks. Nevertheless, that money appears to be earmarked to go towards future dead money (with all of the monkeying around with contracts this year, combined with the dead money from shedding this team of its underperforming veterans), but regardless it’s not like this team has problems free agency can solve.

This team needs to bottom out, and that’s what’s so miserable about being in this position: we’re 3-7, we have the fifth-worst record in the entire NFL, and we haven’t even reached rock bottom yet! It’s not like we’re going to magically improve with Russell Wilson gone next year and this team immersed in a full rebuild. Indeed, we’re probably going to contend for the worst overall record in that scenario, so we have another full year of this to look forward to, at least!

This feels like the early 90’s all over again. Buckle up, because it’s going to be a turbulent bandwagon for the foreseeable future.

The Seahawks Just Need To Get Through These Next Few Games In One Piece (and Also Some Gambling Stuff)

I’ll go through the motions of talking about the Giants this week, and the Jets after that, and the Football Team from Washington D.C. after that, but my heart won’t really be in it, because I have no respect for any of these teams. They’re all inferior, deeply-flawed teams that should lose to the Seahawks. I can’t promise these games will be easy to watch. I can’t tell you the Seahawks won’t make you want to throw your remote control across the room as they sometimes struggle against teams they should easily defeat by double-digits. But, just as the game against the Eagles ultimately proved, the Seahawks are better and they SHOULD prevail.

So. The New York Football Giants. What can you say? They’re 4-7 and somehow tied for first place in the NFC East. They are winners of three in a row (and 4 of their last 6), but those victories are against Washington (twice), Philly, and Cincy (who have a combined 9 wins this season). Of our next three opponents, this is probably the best, but since they have to come all the way out here, I would argue this isn’t the toughest matchup of the three.

The Giants’ strengths lie exclusively on the defensive side of the ball. They’re in the upper half of the league in sacks. They’re in the top 10 in fewest yards given up. They’re fifth in fewest rushing yards given up, but they’re only middle-of-the-pack in passing yards given up. We should be able to throw on them if we want to; if we try to force the issue on the ground, it could be a long, frustrating game. They’re tied for fourth in takeaways, evenly split with nine interceptions and nine fumble recoveries; the fumble number is on the higher side, which shows that they’ve been relatively lucky in that regard to date.

Offensively, the Giants are a fucking disaster. Daniel Jones has proven to be thoroughly inept in his second year in the league, regressing quite a bit after a promising rookie season (I think it’s no coincidence that the Giants just hired Jason Garrett before the season, who was a mediocre head coach and – before that – coordinator for the Cowboys for many years); he’s too prone to turning the ball over (which is how the Giants can be tied for fourth in most takeaways, yet only have a +2 turnover differential), which totally negates his plus-ability to run with the football.

And yet, Jones was injured last week and probably won’t even play. I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or not. Colt McCoy is a career backup (for a reason), but the Seahawks have shown that they can struggle against these guys. They tend to be more careful with the football, and play us tough in low-scoring, hard-fought affairs. The ceiling for the Giants’ offense this Sunday isn’t very high, but the floor isn’t very low (compared to the floor for Jones, which is through the Earth’s fucking crust, with how he can cough up the football).

Besides the new offensive coordinator, the Giants (and Jones) have struggled behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. I don’t know if they’re super injured or just bad in general, but I suspect probably both. They’ve also suffered a rash of injuries to all of their wide receivers and their superstar running back in Saquon Barkley. So, again, REALLY low ceiling here.

I can’t envision a scenario where the Seahawks lose this one, but the only way it’s close is if we continuously ram our heads against a brick wall trying to get the running game going, and Wilson has one of his infrequent turnover-prone performances. By keeping the game close, I suppose it’s conceivable that the Giants could have the ball late, down only a small handful of points, driving for a go-ahead score. But, it feels like the perfect storm of fuckery would have to happen for this to be our reality. I’m not buying it.

Give me Seahawks 23, Giants 13, which – no joke – is the spread and the total points listed in Vegas (SIGHT UNSEEN, mind you!), so I think we might be on to something here!

In unrelated gambling news, my Vegas trip has been postponed, and I mostly forgot to set up any fake bets last week. I did one 3-team, 10-point teaser: moving Washington to +13 over Dallas (Washington won outright), Atlanta to +13 over the Raiders (they also won outright), and Green Bay to +1.5 over the Bears (they also won outright). My other teaser, a 2-team, 6-point one, was Washington to +9 and New England to +8.5 over the Cardinals (New England won outright). So, not too bad! I also had Denver in that 3-team teaser (in place of Atlanta), but that was prior to all of their quarterbacks being placed on the COVID IR (nevertheless, a loss is a loss when you place the fake bet). Still, 2-1 on the week isn’t bad.

Here’s the bets I’m looking at for this weekend:

  • 3-team tease:
    • SEA to PK over NYG
    • GB to +1.5 over PHI
    • AZ to +13 over LAR
  • 3-team tease:
    • SEA to PK over NYG
    • GB to +1.5 over PHI
    • HOU to +13.5 over IND
  • 3-team tease:
    • SEA to PK over NYG
    • GB to +1.5 over PHI
    • NYJ to +19 over LV
  • 3-team tease
    • SEA to PK over NYG
    • GB to +1 over PHI
    • MIN to PK over JAX
  • 3-team tease
    • SEA to PK over NYG
    • GB to +1.5 over PHI
    • CLE to +16 over TEN
  • 3-team tease
    • SEA to PK over NYG
    • GB to +1.5 over PHI
    • NE to +9 over LAC

Also, here are some college bets, for shits n’ giggles:

  • Appalachian State -2.5 over UL Lafayette
  • Ohio State -24 over Michigan State
  • Oklahoma State & TCU over 51.5 points
  • Rutgers +11.5 over Penn State
  • Marshall -23.5 over Rice
  • Texas A&M -6.5 over Auburn
  • Notre Dame -33.5 over Syracuse
  • Buffalo -11.5 over Ohio
  • Buffalo & Ohio over 58
  • Indiana +14 over Wisconsin
  • Iowa St. -6.5 over West Virginia
  • Washington -11.5 over Stanford
  • Coastal Carolina +10 over BYU
    • Also Coastal Carolina on the Money Line at +280
  • Oregon -9 over Cal
  • WSU +12.5 over USC

I’d put the most money on App State, Indiana, Buffalo & Ohio over, Washington, and everything Coastal Carolina.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team: Playoffs Round 1

Spoiler alert:  I backed into the playoffs.

That’s right, I lost yet again to Korky Butchek, albeit narrowly, 154.40 to 149.45.  I had good games out of my QB’s (Wentz & Winston) as well as Elliott and Woods; but Tyreek Hill did nothing, Greg Olsen got hurt and is out for the rest of the season, and my Chicago defense royally shit the bed.  My opponent, meanwhile, got nothing out of his QB’s (Stafford & Goff) and had a paltry game out of Mark Ingram.  But, Antonio Brown killed it, the Seahawks defense dominated, and Zach Ertz did just enough to counter-balance my Philly quarterback going on Monday Night to fend me off.

Luckily, the guy I was fighting for that 6th and final playoff spot who had the same record as me also lost.  That game was pretty well decided before we even got to the Sunday Night game, so I had that going for me.

So, I’m 5-8.  I’m 3rd in total points scored, and 2nd in most points scored against.  It is what it is.  The bottom line is I got into the playoffs, and it all starts over from here.

If I had won, I would’ve jumped up to the 5th seed, playing the 4-seed in the first round.  We’ll see what happens this week, but that’s yet another thing I can bitch about if things don’t go my way.  Also, if I’d won, I would’ve knocked Korky Butchek out of the 2-seed (top two seeds get a first round BYE).  Instead, I’m the 6th seed, playing the team I would’ve bumped up to #2 had I won. He’s obviously not pleased with me.

That team:  Crazy N8’s Prostates.  That’s right, a third contest with the team that so far has beaten me twice by a combined 7 points.  He’s the team who won my way into the playoffs by beating my closest rival for the 6th seed, so obviously I’m pretty happy with this fella!  He’s already lost Alex Smith for the year, and now he’s down Colt McCoy as well.  I don’t know who he’ll play as his second QB this week, but he’s got options (albeit, not great ones).

First, here’s my lineup:

  • QB1 – Jameis Winston vs. NO
  • QB2 – Derek Carr vs. PIT
  • WR1 – Tyreek Hill vs. BAL
  • WR2 – Adam Thielen @ SEA
  • RB1 – Ezekiel Elliott vs. PHI
  • RB2 – Chris Carson vs. MIN
  • TE – Jimmy Graham vs. ATL
  • FLEX – Robert Woods @ CHI
  • K – Matt Bryant @ GB
  • DEF – New York @ WAS

My bench is:  Wentz, Peterson, Boyd, Adams, Chicago, Bell (IR).

I put in a claim for the Steelers’ backup running back, but of course I didn’t get it.  What’s worse, the ninnies with the highest waiver priority didn’t claim him either.  Which means Crazy N8’s Prostates – who suffered the devastating loss of James Conner – now gets to slide his backup right into his lineup and not skip a beat.  Great.

I did end up nabbing Jimmy Graham as my tight end.  I don’t feel super confident about that – because I’m a Seahawks fan, and I’ve seen what he brings to the table – but at this point I have to go for upside.  Jordan Reed with Mark Sanchez throwing to him isn’t exciting.  Austin Hooper is, like, Atlanta’s 4th or 5th option offensively.  And the rest is downhill from there.  All told, Graham should hopefully be okay.

And, I tried to stick to Chicago each and every week as my defense, hoping that maybe they’ll get just enough sacks or something to help me out and get me SOME points.  But, I’ve been burned against the better offenses.  I put them in against New England and I’m pretty sure that’s why I lost that week.  It seems like, if they’re not scoring touchdowns, they’re not doing anything for me; now, it speaks volumes that they’ve scored as many TDs as they have this year, but I just can’t throw them out there against the Rams.  I WANTED the Chargers – who host Cincinnati this week – but some guy who didn’t even need them used his high waiver priority on them over that Steelers’ backup running back, so I’m putting the blame (if I lose) squarely on that guy!  I don’t love the Giants’ defense, but I hate Washington’s offense, so I’m hoping for a miracle.  Any time you stream a defense that’s on the road, you’re just asking for trouble.

As far as matchups go for my guys, these are about as bad as they get.  The Cowboys and Saints both have terrific defenses.  Meanwhile, the Steelers aren’t great.  Considering the tear the Cowboys are on, I’ve got to go with the higher-upside plays over my keeper in Wentz.  It’s more likely Winston and Carr will be involved in shootouts; whereas the Eagles/Cowboys game is likely to be a grind-it-out affair.

Things don’t get better for my team from there.  Baltimore’s defense is one of the best in the league, the Vikings have to go to Seattle on Monday Night, and I could see the Bears shutting down Robert Woods.  I need to hope for crazy miracles up and down my roster or I’m toast.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team: Week 12

I’m just a mess of a human being.  I went into Monday Night trailing TheGangUnderperforms by a score of 140.75 to 124.75.  I was absolutely ROLLING during the morning games on Sunday.  At one point, I was projected as a 90% favorite to win the week.  Sure, a few of my guys were doing okay, but my heavy hitters were yet to come, and more importantly HIS guys were shitting the bed!  Ben Roethlisberger was at negative points until late in that game against the Jags; Mariota ended his day with less than 2 points total.  Then, that same shit in the bed started hitting the fan.

Predictably, TheGangUnderperforms picked up a tight end to play in Gronk’s place before Sunday.  He ended up picking up Vance McDonald for the Steelers, who MIRACULOUSLY caught a touchdown.  Because of course he did.  He only did that because he was going up against my team!!!  That was double-touchdowns because, obviously, Roethlisberger was the one who threw it.  Things went downhill as the Steelers’ fortunes continued to soar.  Instead of handing off to James Conner at the goalline, Roethlisberger ran in the winning touchdown just to FUCKING spite me!

Anyway, unpredictably, TheGangUnderperforms snuck Doug Baldwin into his lineup before the Thursday game.  He benched Kenny Golladay, which was the good news, but still, Doug had easily his best fantasy game of the season – again – because he was going up against me.

So, there I was, Monday Night.  I had Tyreek Hill, Robert Woods, and a 16-point deficit; he had Kareem Hunt and the aforementioned lead.  It was the Chiefs at the Rams, easily the most hyped matchup in the history of regular season football.  This was a fantasy boon the likes of which we’ve never seen.  So many games were on the line!  So many high-scoring players were in the middle of the action!

And I couldn’t bring myself to watch one single second of it.  Literally the greatest offensive shootout in the history of the NFL – the first time two teams scored over 50 points in the same game – and I was hiding in my room, watching old reruns of The Monkees and Get Smart.

This is what Fantasy Football has brought me to!  It’s literally ruining my life!  But, in my crazy, fucked-up brain, I needed to NOT watch to win my fantasy game.  I went to bed not knowing the result – of either the Rams/Chiefs or TheGangUnderperforms/King Flippy Nips – and I woke up at 4am to immediately hop on my computer to check the results.

Sure, I was disappointed I didn’t see the Best Game Ever, but I won.  DAMMIT, I WON!  186.33 to 160.85!

Blessings to Tyreek Hill, who got me over 44 points.  Tidings of love and joy to Zeke Elliott who got me over 33.  Kudos to Dalton and Chicago for getting over 20.  And a bigtime FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU to Carson Wentz, who finished with -3.60, and single-handedly was the reason why I couldn’t bring myself to watch the game on Monday.  Had he done what he was supposed to, I would’ve had a comfortable lead heading into Monday, and my night would’ve been more enjoyable for it.

To think, a friend of mine on Saturday said he wasn’t sure if Carson Wentz would eventually turn into Drew Brees or Ryan Tannehill (to which I replied, “Oh, he’s WAY better than Ryan Tannehill!” … yeah, except Tannehill didn’t even play this weekend and would’ve gotten me more points).

Anyway, here I am.  5-6 in the standings.  I leapfrogged TheGangUnderperforms to get into 5th place.  I am still comfortably 3rd in total points, and still 2nd in total points against.  That’s the good news, if you can call it good news.

The bad news is I have 2 games to go, and I need help (in more ways than one).  Two of the bottom-feeders won last week in upsets.  That puts them both at 4-7.  Those two teams – as chance would have it – play one another THIS week, meaning one of them is guaranteed to be 5-7 heading into the final week of the regular season.  As you’ll see below, I’m going up against the #1 team (in record, #2 in total points by a large margin over me) and I’ll be projected to lose.  Assuming I do lose, that will drop me to 5-7 and in a tie with one of those bottom-dwelling teams.  In the final week of the regular season, my opponent is the #2 team (in record, #1 in total points by a large margin over me); I will be projected to lose that game as well.  The aforementioned bottom-feeders will have very winnable games that week, so I’m in a real pickle.  Without getting too much further into the weeds, I’ll need certain teams to lose a lot the rest of the way …

Or, I’m effectively in if I can just get an upset win in one of the next two weeks.

Yeah, I’m screwed.

Just one minor move this week.  I swapped Matt Prater out and brought in Matt Bryant.  I don’t love any offensive player going up against the Saints right now – as they’re just STEAMROLLING people left and right – but I think the Falcons will move the ball a little bit.  My big concern is that the Saints get up by such a big score that the Falcons will have to go for nothing but touchdowns all game.  I could’ve legitimately put a zero in my lineup this week; regardless, going forward I like Bryant and that Falcons offense more than Prater and the Lions right now.

Here’s this week’s lineup:

  • QB1 – Carson Wentz vs. NYG
  • QB2 – Jameis Winston vs. SF
  • WR1 – Adam Thielen vs. GB
  • WR2 – Tyler Boyd vs. CLE
  • RB1 – Ezekiel Elliott vs. WAS
  • RB2 – Adrian Peterson @ DAL
  • TE – Greg Olsen vs. SEA
  • FLEX – Chris Carson @ CAR
  • K – Matt Bryant @ NO
  • DEF – Chicago @ DET

My bench is:  Dalton, Carr, Hill (BYE), Woods (BYE), Brown (BYE), Bell (IR).

I like Andy Dalton at home against Cleveland – and I think it’s highly possible he goes off against them – but I also think the Browns’ defense is a little underrated, and they could force him to look a little mediocre.  I think with Winston (first of all, I need to get SOME sort of value out of that Le’Veon Bell trade, even if I’m shoe-horning it in this fashion), the Bucs have nothing to lose, so they’re going to let it rip.  I could see that game being super high scoring, because the Bucs’ defense is the worst in football, so as per usual they’re going to be throwing the ball a lot.  With Winston, you accept there are going to be turnovers.  The hope is that he’ll also rack up the TDs and yards to outweigh all the shittiness.  Also, who knows, maybe with his career on the line, he steps up and blows the league away.  Bottom line is the upside is higher with Winston over Dalton, while the floor is essentially the same (both of them could throw tons of picks and blow it for me).  Beyond that, with the BYEs what they are, my lineup choices are essentially made for me.

My opponent this week is Space Forcin’.  You may recall he’s the guy who kept Mahomes, Rivers, and Kamara from last year, so he’s obviously pretty fucking stacked.  You may also recall that at full strength, he beat my ass by almost 30 points back in Week 3.

Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news.  The good news is Mahomes is on BYE this week.  The bad news is that his team is still really fucking stacked and I pretty much have no chance of winning.

I can only make an educated guess at this point as to who Space Forcin’ will put in his lineup, as everyone apparently likes to wait until the last minute to make a fucking decision:

  • QB1 – Philip Rivers vs. ARI
  • QB2 – Joe Flacco vs. OAK
  • WR1 – Davante Adams @ MIN
  • WR2 – JuJu Smith-Schuster @ DEN
  • RB1 – Alvin Kamara vs. ATL
  • RB2 – Marlon Mack vs. MIA
  • TE – George Kittle @ TB
  • FLEX – Aaron Jones @ MIN
  • K – Wil Lutz vs. ATL
  • DEF – Philadelphia vs. NYG

His bench is:  Mahomes (BYE), C.J. Beathard, Miami, Austin Hooper, Duke Johnson.

Joe Flacco against the Raiders would normally be as juicy of a matchup as you can get on a team this stacked.  But, his injury status is looking iffy.  I texted Space Forcin’ to try to get a sense of what his plan is.  Frankly, the QBs on the free agent scrap heap are nothing to write home about.  Tannehill is starting this week, so that rules out Osweiler.  Colt McCoy is probably the best bet of the bunch to at least get points, but someone with a higher waiver priority just made a claim on him.  He has Beathard now, but that’s probably a hail mary of an option, in the hopes that Nick Mullens goes down with injury or otherwise gets benched.  The only guy left in free agency is Taysom Hill, the backup for the Saints who runs a few gadget plays per game.

Could I have dropped Derek Carr this week, now that I’m holding 4 healthy quarterbacks on my roster?  I absolutely could have, but why should I help the best team in the league when I don’t have to?  He’s got enough.  Let me try to get mine.

As it stands, even with just 1 QB starting, he probably has more than enough to beat me.  Rivers is more than capable of shredding the Cards, Adams will be a focal point in a must-win game against the Vikings, Kamara might lead the league in non-quarterback points this week in a shootout against the Falcons, and so on and so forth.  Meanwhile, without Hill and Woods, the upside for my team takes a significant hit, as I’m forced to start both Chris Carson AND Adrian Peterson.  I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy!

What The Seahawks Should Do At Backup Quarterback

Recent news indicates that Tarvaris Jackson is likely to test the free agent waters this year, in hopes of getting into a situation that either pays him more money and/or gives him a chance to compete for a starting job/puts him behind a quarterback who might be a little more injury-prone than Russell Wilson.  Your guess is as good as mine as to what Tarvar has been doing in recent offseasons.  This story makes it sound like he’s been settling for being Seattle’s backup because it’s comfortable and familiar.  My guess is that Seattle has indeed been giving him the best possible deal, as I can’t imagine the market is too hard-up for a guy who’s proven he’s a backup in this league and nothing more.

Granted, he’s one of the better backups across the league, but a backup he remains.

Still, if you’re Tarvar, you’re looking around at some of these teams in 2015 – struggles in Dallas, Philly, St. Louis, Frisco, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Houston – and you’ve got to be thinking that you’re better than the backups for those teams who were forced into action (Dallas and Baltimore, particularly) and in other cases, better than who they’re running out as starters (Cleveland, Houston, St. Louis and the rest).  So, yeah, it makes sense – if you want to give it a go as a real live NFL quarterback (and not just a seat-warmer on the bench) – to put yourself out there as a veteran alternative for some of these teams who don’t land their Quarterback of the Future in the NFL Draft or free agency.  At the very least, he’d be likelier to see the field playing behind someone a little less durable than Russell Wilson (boy, am I putting the whammy on our boy with this sentiment).

So, what we’re talking about is, for the first time in years, looking for a non-Tarvar backup.

All else being equal, I’d like to have Tarvar back again.  That’s going to mean many multiple teams pass him over for other alternatives, leaving him with a pretty bruised ego, but so be it.  If, however, for the sake of argument we’re talking about a Tarvar-less future, then there are two obvious routes you can take:  bring in a veteran, or draft/sign a rookie.

Seattle’s in a wonderful position in this regard, because we have Russell Wilson.  He’s a solid, franchise quarterback, still in the early-prime of his career.  We don’t necessarily NEED to bring in another starting candidate to push him.  Which means, obviously, backup quarterback is a position that you can save some money on (which is important, considering how much money Wilson is taking in).  Therefore, you won’t see the Seahawks using a high draft pick, and you won’t see them blowing out the bank on free agents like Cousins, Fitzpatrick, Osweiler, or Bradford (who will all be looking for opportunities to start somewhere anyway).

That puts us in the range of a low-round draft pick (maybe 5th or lower), an undrafted rookie, or one of the other veteran options out there on the market.

In looking at those veteran options … woof!  What a bunch of dogs!  When you think of a backup quarterback in our kind of situation (i.e. someone who is a clear backup and has no chance to be this team’s starter when all players are healthy), your BEST CASE scenario is a guy who will fill in for a few weeks and somehow manage to keep the team in/around .500.  A guy like Seneca Wallace back in the day is a perfect example of this.  We were lucky to have drafted him to play behind Hasselbeck, so he was cheap for many years.  If we can somehow do that again, that’s probably the most realistic ideal situation.  Looking at veteran options, someone like … Matt Hasselbeck last year with Indy.  He was able to fill in for a few games and led them to some quality wins!  Then, as the season dragged on, as Luck was unable to return and the games piled up, Hasselbeck was less and less effective.  Old guys getting hit a lot tend to break down, shocking I know.

This post by Field Gulls has a nice little list of free agent quarterbacks.  If you remove Tarvar (for the sake of argument), and you remove the four starting candidates (Bradford, Cousins, Fitzpatrick, and Osweiler), you’re left with the crap of the crap (obviously, it’s still really early in the offseason, and a lot of cuts/trades are out there to be made; this post won’t include guys likely to be released/already under contract).  Among guys with significant starting experience, you’re talking about:

  • Cassel
  • Clausen
  • Gradkowski
  • RGIII
  • Hasselbeck
  • Henne
  • Lindley
  • McCown
  • McCoy
  • Moore
  • Schaub
  • Stanton
  • Vick
  • Weeden
  • Whitehurst
  • Yates

Cassel is old and grossly over-valued.  I have zero confidence in his abilities to guide a team to a .500 record in the absence of this team’s starter (see:  his stint in Dallas last year).  Clausen is horrible; Gradkowski hasn’t had significant starting experience in half a decade; Lindley & Stanton are who we think they are; Vick is as done as done can be; the best thing Whitehurst has ever done is somehow trick Jewel into going out with him (aside from tricking multiple teams into giving him multiple millions of dollars, including the Seahawks, and now this is making me even more upset); and Yates apparently only has value to the Houston Texans, so that’s a stay-away in my book.

Of the guys I didn’t list in that paragraph, Hasselbeck is obviously the most interesting.  Who knows if he’s even in the market to continue his career after the thrashing he took in Luck’s absence last year?  Odds are, since Wilson does a better job of avoiding contact, he probably doesn’t suffer the same lacerated spleen or whatever the hell it was that Luck had.  Then again, if you’re Hasselbeck, would you ever expect a tough hoss like Luck to get injured in the first place?

RGIII might be another someone looking to compete for a starting job.  In fact, I’m almost sure of it, so I don’t know why I kept him here.  Obviously, I worry about injuries with him.  I also worry about his mindset.  By all accounts, he was a quality teammate last year and didn’t cause any trouble in the lockerroom.  But, for a guy drafted as high as he was, who still has a lot of the skills that made him so highly sought after (minus the legs, obviously), he’d make an ideal backup candidate.  BUT, maybe not for the Seahawks.  I just have my doubts as to his willingness to come in and be the clear #2.

If I’m being honest, I don’t totally hate the idea of Chad Henne as this team’s backup.  When he first got a crack to be a team’s starter, it was in Miami in 2009 & 2010.  Those weren’t great teams, but they were sort of middle-of-the-road, .500-ish teams, and he led them to .500-ish records accordingly.  His career started to go down the shitter when he went to Jacksonville, playing on some truly horrendous teams.  On the right team (i.e. on THIS team, the Seahawks), I think Henne could be a .500-ish quarterback again.  He’s going to complete upwards of 57-60% of his passes, and if you instruct him to refrain from taking too many chances, you might be able to coax his interception percentage down to reasonable levels.  He is getting on in age, though, so he’s probably not all that mobile, which obviously is going to be an issue for most of these veterans we’re looking at.

Luke McCown had 1 start in 2015, and played brilliantly in a losing effort.  Against Carolina, he completed 31 of 38 passes for 310 yards and a pick.  Before that, he hasn’t started a game since 2011, so I don’t know what you’d expect here.  That one start for New Orleans really skews his career numbers, but he could be an interesting buy-low candidate with some semblance of upside as a backup.

Colt McCoy might honestly be the best of the bunch.  Drafted by Cleveland, I tend to discount whatever anyone does in Cleveland, as they’ve been a trainwreck ever since the NFL let them back into the league (and for many years before they went to Baltimore to boot).  In 2014, McCoy had a string of games with the Redskins that showed everyone why he was thought of so highly coming out of college, as well as why he’s now exclusively a backup.  He had two and a half really good games (including an impressive Monday night victory over the eventual division champion Cowboys), and a couple of real stinkers (albeit, I believe that last game he was injured and had to leave the game early).  He’s definitely not going to blow anyone away or win any shootouts, but I think he could manage a game effectively well.  What more can you ask for?

Matt Moore has been backing up Tannehill these last few years, and honestly I don’t know how he can stand it.  Moore, in his starting efforts early in his career, was the epitome of a .500 quarterback.  Hovering around 59% completions, with slightly more touchdowns than interceptions.  He strikes me as another semi-ideal candidate.  Like Henne, he’s getting on in years, so I don’t know how mobile he is, and he hasn’t started a game since 2011, so that’s tough.  Maybe he’s like another Whitehurst, who loves being a backup and living in a tropical climate!  If that’s the case, I wonder if Seattle is the right spot for him.

Matt Schaub scares me.  A lot like Vick, I think he’s done.  A lot like Cassel, I think he’s over-valued.  He strikes me as a guy who, personality-wise, wouldn’t fit in on a team with this many alpha dogs.

Brandon Weeden is probably the last interesting name on the list.  He’s young enough to where you don’t totally worry about his durability (even though, let’s be honest, he’s like a tree back there in the pocket).  And, in spite of his Cleveland roots, I think it’s probably set in by this point that he’s going to be a career backup.  Last year was interesting for him, as he was the next man up after Romo went down for Dallas.  He proved to be underwhelming at best, leading to the Cowboys to over-pay for Matt Cassel (who managed to play even worse).  Weeden landed in Houston, where he ran circles around Cassel in his two appearances (though, he ended up relinquishing the job to Brian Hoyer for the playoffs, so make of that what you will).

So, in conclusion, I’ll rank my favorite options for the Seahawks’ backup quarterback:

  1. Talk Tarvaris Jackson into returning for another year
  2. Colt McCoy
  3. Matt Hasselbeck
  4. Rookie QB (either low round pick, undrafted free agent, or guy already on a futures contract)
  5. Brandon Weeden
  6. Henne/Moore (tie)
  7. Luke McCown
  8. Fuck it, give the job to Jon Ryan (also, make sure to re-sign Jon Ryan)
  9. No one/all Wildcat all the time
  10. Schaub
  11. Cassel
  12. Fan (open tryouts every week for a local Seahawks fan)

Seattle Sports Hell 2014 NFL Power Rankings – Week 8

Well, we’re just about at the midway point of the season for most teams.  Either you’ve played 8 games, or you’ve been one of the unlucky teams to have an early BYE.  Time to take a look at the playoff picture and see where we stand.

In the AFC, Denver and New England are running away with the top 2 seeds.  Denver is up 2 games on San Diego in the loss column, with an edge in the tie-breaker after having beaten them last week.  Cincy and Indy round out the division leaders (with Baltimore hot on the Bengals’ heels, and no one hot on the Colts’).  The Chargers and Bills currently round out the Wild Card teams, but raise your hand if you believe the Bills have what it takes to last the full season.

I thought so.

Baltimore, Pittsburgh, KC, Miami, and Cleveland all have three losses to go with Buffalo and San Diego, so really the AFC Wild Card spots are wide open.  Should be fun.

On to the NFC (because who gives a damn about what happens in the AFC; the Broncos are going to charge through to the Super Bowl anyway).

Arizona:  6-1, Detroit:  6-2, Dallas:  6-2, Philly:  5-2.  Those are your best teams, in order (you’ve also got to throw the NFC South winner in there as the 4th seed, hosting a playoff game; Carolina currently has the tie-breaker edge on that race by their tie game).

From a Seahawks perspective, there are three things on our minds:  will we make the playoffs at all, will we win our division, and will we get a top 2 seed?

Right now, we’re tied for second with San Francisco at 4-3.  Both teams are two games behind the Cards.  The 49ers already lost one game to the Cards; the Seahawks play them twice.  The Seahawks also play the 49ers twice, so you know right away which four games are the most important four games of the season.

The Seahawks are 0-1 in the division.  Frisco is 1-1 and Zona is 1-0.  The Seahawks currently hold their destiny in their hands, so it’s all about winning those four games.

From a conference perspective, the Seahawks are 3-2 in the NFC.  Dallas is 4-2 (that loss to the Redskins really helped the Seahawks), Philly is 3-2 and we play them later in the year, Detroit is 5-1 and has a REALLY good shot at one of the top two seeds.  And, of course, Arizona is 4-0 (interestingly, the Packers are 3-3 in conference, and we have the tiebreaker over them, so if Detroit keeps rolling, things won’t look too good for the Pack).

At some point, you’d think the other shoe will drop with the Cards, but I dunno.  They could keep rolling and sticking it to me every step of the way.  The Seahawks just need to figure out ways to keep winning.  The teeth of the schedule starts on November 16th and it looks like this:

  • @ Kansas City
  • vs. Arizona
  • @ San Francisco
  • @ Philadelphia
  • vs. San Francisco
  • @ Arizona

There might not be a more difficult 6-game stretch in all of football this year.

Whatever happens, if I’m sitting there lamenting that Rams defeat at the end of the season, I’m going to be VERY depressed.

***

  1. Denver Broncos (6-1) – They look like the most unstoppable killing machine we’ve ever seen right now.  But, just wait until December when the weather gets cold and Peyton Manning turns back into a pumpkin.
  2. Arizona Cardinals (6-1) – Look, I just can’t deny it anymore.  This team is very, very good; and I am very, very bad at power rankings.  THERE, ARE YOU HAPPY???
  3. Detroit Lions (6-2) – They’ve had the same talent for the last couple years, but are only now starting to put it together (unless they fall apart like they always do).  So, you can’t tell me the coaching staff isn’t having SOME sort of positive influence.
  4. San Diego Chargers (5-3) – If you’re like me and you believe that Buffalo is kind of a joke, then the Chargers have really only beaten one good team (the Seahawks).  Don’t get me wrong, I still like the Chargers, and I still think they’re going to be a playoff team, but if they don’t win down in Miami this week, they’re going to be tumbling down my rankings.
  5. New England Patriots (6-2) – This team has a MASSIVELY tough schedule over the next six games:  Den, @Ind, Det, @GB, @SD, Mia.  I hope they brought enough offense to share with the rest of the class, because they’re going to need it.
  6. Philadelphia Eagles (5-2) – Totally let me down last week by blowing that game against the Cards.
  7. Dallas Cowboys (6-2) – That Monday night game hurt the Cowboys in more ways than one, but my favorite way was how embarrassing it was to Jerry Jones.
  8. Indianapolis Colts (5-3) – The Colts will be cruising along, and then all of a sudden, they have one of these games where they lose and you can’t figure out why.  That Steelers game was a prime example.
  9. Green Bay Packers (5-3) – They get their BYE week smack dab in the middle of the season, which is ideal.  Then, they have only three road games remaining.  Detroit better watch out.
  10. San Francisco 49ers (4-3) – Not for nothing, but aside from two games against the Seahawks in a three-week period, the 49ers have a pretty easy schedule the rest of the way.
  11. Baltimore Ravens (5-3) – Well, it’s like I said last week, the Ravens are behind the 8-ball now when it comes to their division.  2-2 record, with both losses coming to the Bengals.  It won’t be the easiest road the rest of the way.
  12. Kansas City Chiefs (4-3) – Seems to me all you need to do is stop their running game and force Alex Smith to beat you, right?  Am I the first person in the world to think of that?
  13. Seattle Seahawks (4-3) – There’s a trust that’s been broken, Seahawks.  You’ve played shitty football, so here you remain outside of the top 10.  I’m going to need to see some real ass-whompings in the next two games against the Raiders and Giants before I feel comfortable around you again.
  14. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2-1) – Why are they still ranked behind the Ravens?  Because they suck in big games.  I don’t care how good they are, you can’t get shut out by the Colts; that sour taste won’t quickly leave my mouth.
  15. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) – I mean, shit, the Steelers dropped five dimes on the Colts!  It can’t be THAT hard to score on them.  My sour taste with the Steelers comes in the form of that loss to Cleveland a few weeks ago.
  16. Miami Dolphins (4-3) – This game against the Chargers this week is HUGE.  It’s got all the tie-breaker potential in the world.  Loser of this game might be eliminated from the playoffs, the way the AFC is looking.  Think about it:  the Dolphins aren’t catching the Patriots, just like the Chargers aren’t catching the Broncos.  That leaves both up for two Wild Card spots, with teams like Kansas City, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh all lurking (not to mention Buffalo and Houston with outside shots).
  17. Carolina Panthers (3-4-1) – Considering all that they’ve lost, it’s pretty impressive they’re as good as they are.
  18. New York Giants (3-4) – If they’re not 8-8 by season’s end, I’ll eat my hat.  They’re the consummate Good Bad Team.  So, they’ll beat all the teams below them, and lose to all the teams better than them.  They do nothing well, but pretty much everything adequate.
  19. Houston Texans (4-4) – They’re like the AFC’s version of the New York Giants.
  20. New Orleans Saints (3-4) – This would be a good time for the Saints to go on a little winning streak, considering they play the 49ers in a couple weeks.
  21. Chicago Bears (3-5) – Mike Singletary and Mike Ditka must be rolling over in their graves at how terrible this defense is.
  22. Buffalo Bills (5-3) – Get the fuck out of here!  You’re telling me this team is 3-1 with Kyle Orton at the helm?  Don’t even think about being a good team that I’m forced to pick on a weekly basis!
  23. Cleveland Browns (4-3) – Five of their final eight games are on the road, so watch out for that.
  24. St. Louis Rams (2-5) – We lost to a team that got trounced by the Chiefs a week later.  If I shake my head any harder, it’s going to fall off.
  25. Atlanta Falcons (2-6) – Remember when injuries killed this team’s 2013 season?  Well, consider this the Hangover Part 2 of Atlanta Falcons seasons.
  26. Washington Redskins (3-5) – In all honesty, that Monday night game was as feel-good of a story for Colt McCoy as it gets.  It’ll probably be his last hurrah, but what a way to go.
  27. Minnesota Vikings (3-5) – They’re in the softer part of their schedule right now.  Even if they don’t rack up a ton of wins, it would be good to get Bridgewater some confidence through the end of the season and on into next year.
  28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-6) – It must be tough to be a long-time Bucs fan, dating back to the team’s inception.  Aside from that Super Bowl season, it’s been a lot of dreck like this.
  29. New York Jets (1-7) – The bottom of this league is REALLY bad right now.
  30. Tennessee Titans (2-6) – If these teams didn’t play one another …
  31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) – I’d wager they might not win a game …
  32. Oakland Raiders (0-7) – The rest of the way.

Seattle Sports Hell 2014 NFL Power Rankings – Week 7

No fancy intro today.  Just straight power rankings.

***

  1. Denver Broncos (5-1) – Not missing a beat from last year.
  2. San Diego Chargers (5-2) – I’m not going to knock down a team too much for losing a tough game against a good divisional opponent.  As for this week, either they beat Denver and return to the top spot, or they lose again and likely fall out of the Top 5.
  3. Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) – I still think they’re a LITTLE better than Dallas.
  4. Dallas Cowboys (6-1) – I still think they’re a LITTLE bit of a fraud.  A fraud with an amazing offensive line and a much better-than-expected defense.  Who knew Jason Garrett had the wherewithal to stick with the run for this long?
  5. Detroit Lions (5-2) – Excellent defense.  And an offense that should only get better once Calvin Johnson is able to recover.
  6. Indianapolis Colts (5-2) – Andrew Luck is a fucking stud, plain and simple, and the top reason why our fantasy football keeper league is fighting hard for a total re-draft next year.  It also helps that their defense has taken a big step forward this year, to not put EVERYTHING on Luck’s shoulders.  This team could go far.
  7. Green Bay Packers (5-2) – They’re really ramping up against the bad teams.  Looking forward to this game against the Saints on Sunday.
  8. Arizona Cardinals (5-1) – Their schedule gets remarkably more difficult the rest of the way:  Phi, @Dal, St.L, Det, @Sea, @Atl, KC, @St.L, Sea, @SF.  Just sayin’, don’t punch their ticket to a division title just yet.  It’s pretty easy to be 5-1 when you play the Giants, Redskins, and Raiders in three of those games.
  9. San Francisco 49ers (4-3) – Sometimes, I get a wild hair up my ass and think some ridiculous thoughts.  Like, in my weekly pick ’em game with my friends, sometimes I’ll latch onto a team and pick them week after week, because I think I have special jinxing-type powers where if I pick a team, that team will lose.  Sort of a mutual spiting, if you will.  This year, it’s been the 49ers, and I’d say my plan is working perfectly, wouldn’t you?
  10. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) – Without a doubt, I underestimated the Ravens and overestimated the Bengals coming into this season.  I don’t think you can make it any more clear:  the Ravens are the best team in the AFC North.  That having been said, this week they travel to Cincy.  They already lost in week 1 to the Bengals; if they lose this week, they’ll be in a serious hole.  For the record, I don’t think the Ravens will lose.
  11. New England Patriots (5-2) – A narrow victory over the Jets isn’t enough to vault the Pats into the Top 10.  Strength of schedule is still VERY iffy for a team that will likely cruise to another division title.
  12. Kansas City Chiefs (3-3) – I don’t think I’ll ever wrap my head around how this team lost to the Titans in week 1.  They knocked the Dolphins and Patriots on their asses, played the 49ers tough on the road, and won a hard-fought game on the road down in San Diego.  Don’t look now, but the Chiefs have played 4 of their first 6 games on the road.  They still get Oakland twice, the Jets & St. Louis at home, the Bills & Steelers on the road, with their only tough non-Divisional game being on the road in Arizona.  This is still a team very much in the hunt for that final wild card spot; the rest of the AFC should be worried.
  13. Seattle Seahawks (3-3) – If the Seahawks can’t go to St. Louis and look even remotely competent, why would we expect them to go into Carolina and win?  Because the NFL is fucked up and retarded, that’s why.  The Seahawks probably have no business being able to shut down an underrated Panthers offense, but watch it happen.  Just watch it happen.
  14. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2-1) – The Bengals are reeling!  They’re on the ropes, clinging for dear life!  Loss, Tie, Loss to the Pats, Panthers, and Colts.  Their schedule the rest of the way is still pretty soft, with the likes of Jacksonville, Cleveland twice, New Orleans, Houston, Tampa, and Pittsburgh twice; they’re far from a lost cause.  Nevertheless, they’re going to want to get back on the horse this week and lock up a tiebreaker against the Ravens, because I don’t know if they’ll have enough wins to make a Wild Card.
  15. Carolina Panthers (3-3-1) – This team is impossible to predict, except that their defense is terrible.
  16. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) – Not a good team, but probably the best of the mediocre.  And yet, that Bucs loss?
  17. Miami Dolphins (3-3) – They’re going to have to be WAY more consistent if they’re going to fight for a playoff spot.
  18. New York Giants (3-4) – They’re 1-2 in their division, but all three games have been on the road.  So, you know, that’s something to keep in mind going forward, I guess.
  19. Houston Texans (3-4) – I have it, on record, guaranteeing a Texans victory this week in Tennessee.  I may have been drinking when I made this guarantee.  Either way, don’t make me look like a twat, Houston!
  20. Chicago Bears (3-4) – Is this a joke?  Seriously, is this some kind of joke?
  21. New Orleans Saints (2-4) – Rob Ryan’s updating his resume as we speak.  He should probably be looking at being a coordinator for college or something; seems more his style.
  22. Buffalo Bills (4-3) – That was quite the game-winning drive last week against the Vikings.  NFL Sunday Ticket is ridiculously overpriced, but it’s finishes like these that make it all worthwhile.
  23. Cleveland Browns (3-3) – Just when you were starting to get excited about the new regime, BAM, loss to the winless Jags.
  24. St. Louis Rams (2-4) – They needed all the flukey shit in the world and STILL almost blew the game against us.
  25. Atlanta Falcons (2-5) – Bad defense, even worse offensive line.  And, for some reason, Steven Jackson is still around.
  26. Washington Redskins (2-5) – I’m more offended by Colt McCoy still getting an opportunity to be a starting quarterback than I am by the name “Redskins”.
  27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-5) – Sometimes-competent to completely-useless, you never know what you’re going to get out of the Bucs, but odds are it won’t be them winning a football game.
  28. New York Jets (1-6) – Here’s to Percy Harvin being on his best behavior, the Jets retaining him for 2015, and the Seahawks bumping that draft pick up to a 4th rounder.
  29. Minnesota Vikings (2-5) – Yeah, I dunno.
  30. Tennessee Titans (2-5) – Ditto.
  31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6) – Seriously.
  32. Oakland Raiders (0-6) – Whatever.

Seahawks Trade Matt Flynn (Against Their Better Judgment)

Having your own blog means you can write drunken blog posts on Friday night/Saturday morning and no one every one is the wiser.

I’ve kind of gone over this in a few other posts, but I might as well reinforce the point (so I can come back on here during the regular season and say, “See, I toldja so!”).  I think trading Matt Flynn is a stupid idea.  I understand that this isn’t something to commit hara kiri over or anything, but still.  Ever heard of, “Better Safe Than Sorry”?

Fact:  we signed Matt Flynn to a 3-year deal prior to last season for some millions of dollars.  True:  we drafted Russell Wilson in the third round, who proceeded to win the starting quarterback job, relegating Flynn to “high-priced back-up” status.  Granted:  Russell Wilson played all meaningful snaps in the regular season, leaving precious few table scraps for Flynn in blowout victories.  Wilson is a young, heady, mobile quarterback who eludes pressure well and knows when to get down while avoiding the Big Hit.  I will give you all of those points.

But, you never know.

It only takes one.  One blindside hit from a blitzing linebacker.  One defensive tackle blowing up one of our guards off the snap, rolling into Wilson’s knee when he’s least expecting it.  Hell, one freak step as Wilson plants into the turf to change direction, blowing out an ACL.  Or, shit, any of the above during any practice, when we’re not even facing some man-eating opposing defense!  Figuratively anything could happen to Russell Wilson between now and double-zeros at the end of the next Super Bowl … it would be nice to know that there was some security behind him, to pick up some of the slack.

I can’t stress this enough:  I have $100 at 7-1 odds for the Seahawks to win the whole fucking thing!  I’m going to continue to bring this up for the next ten months, so be prepared.

Is Flynn 100% necessary?  No, probably not.  If Wilson actually suffered some season-ending injury, then our goose is probably cooked.  I’m not saying Flynn is on par with Wilson talent-wise.  But, that’s not the point.  My point, actually, is that occasion where Wilson doesn’t necessarily blow out his ACL, but rather sprains his ankle and is forced to miss four or five games.  It would be nice to know that we can plug a guy in there – like Flynn – who is good enough to not just tread water.  To not just “game manage.”  A guy who could actually go out there and win us some fucking games!

Because, I’m not gonna lie to you, if we bring in someone like Tyler Thigpen, or Colt McCoy, or Whoever TheFuck, then we’re looking at a guy who is more likely to COST us some of those games (when compared to Flynn).  And, if it comes down to Wilson missing four or five games, and we have a sub-replacement-level quarterback taking the snaps in his absence, that could very well be the difference between the Seahawks winning the NFC West and getting a first round BYE and the Seahawks earning a Wild Card berth and playing all of their games on the road.

Now, being a Wild Card team doesn’t automatically eliminate us from Championship Contention, but it doesn’t exactly pave the way on streets of gold either!  If you’re the Seattle Seahawks, and you’ve got the kind of Home Field Advantage that you have at CenturyLink Field, would you rather host two games in front of a deafening 12th Man … or would you rather take your chances on the road?  That’s like saying, would you rather go to Daniel’s Broiler and get a perfectly cooked steak from a world-class chef … or would you like to let a crackhead from Pioneer Square butcher his own cow and prepare your meal on a makeshift barrel-grill behind a McDonalds?  I’m not necessarily saying the crackhead is going to poison you and your entire family, but why take the chance, you know?

The voices of reason out there will tell you to calm yourself.  We’ve all gone this far with Pete Carroll and John Schneider, why don’t we just let the magic men do their thing?  After all, in three short years, they’ve turned a chicken-shit organization into some of the finest chicken-salad Red Lobster cheese biscuits I’ve ever tasted.  Why wouldn’t I just sit here and trust that they have a plan, and this plan is not only going to work for 2013, but it’s going to work for the next decade as well?

Well, to be honest, they don’t exactly have the greatest track record with picking quarterbacks.  For the record, they’re 1 for 3 (the 1, obviously, is Russell Wilson, who might go down as the best quarterback in team history).  Charlie Whitehurst is a black mark against them that won’t ever wash away clean.  Two third rounders for that guy!  For the record, MORE than we’re getting for Flynn (I still don’t have the final details on this Flynn deal, but it won’t be anything close to that; I guarantee it).  So, that’s a huge embarrassing failure.  And then there’s Tarvar, who is probably my least-favorite Seahawks player in the history of terrible Seahawks players.  Yes, they brought in Flynn, but he really gets an “incomplete” because he never got a true crack at the starting job.

In all likelihood, the Seahawks will bring in some crappy guy on a minimum deal, and then they’ll go out in the draft and draft some guy in the 5th or 6th round.  Yippee.

And where once there was depth across all positions, now there’s a reason for creeping doubt.  I guess we better hope and pray that Russell Wilson maintains all his bones and ligaments for the next twelve months.  Because if he doesn’t, we’re FUCKED.

Where is Frank Reich when you need him?