The NFL’s Best Game Of The Week Is The Ravens At The Seahawks

Intensity of a thousand suns take: we’re going to watch some fun football this weekend.

I’m utterly fascinated by the Baltimore Ravens this year. Honestly, I wish I could’ve seen more of them to date; if I had NFL Sunday Ticket, I’d be tempted to put them on just about every week! After two games, they looked on track to compete for a Super Bowl slot with the Patriots and Chiefs; but were we watching fool’s gold? Wins over the Dolphins and Cardinals – blowouts that they were – are obviously not very impressive. You’re supposed to kill those teams.

Nevertheless, my expectations for this Ravens team heading into the season were completely out of whack compared to what they put out into the world. I was not a Lamar Jackson believer, for starters. I thought he was a fine fantasy quarterback, in the same way Josh Allen is a fine fantasy quarterback. Rushing yards can make all the fantasy difference at the QB position. But, in real life? In the NFL, where wins matter above all else? Where you need to prove you actually have an arm and can use it for something other than jabbing it into a defender’s face as you run by him for extra yardage? I couldn’t buy it.

The fact of the matter is, the Ravens’ offense from 2018 threw me off the scent. Lamar was a rookie, after all, and they used him like one. He sat behind Joe Flacco for an uncomfortably long time. Then, when he got in there, the offense looked so drastically different, it seemed like they pared down the playbook to a post-it note. I figured, at some point – probably as soon as Week 1, 2019 – defenses would adjust to the Run-First/Run-Second/Run-Third ethos of what John Harbaugh was trying to instill, by stacking the box and forcing Lamar to throw deep.

And, they might have very well done that! But, funny thing: Lamar just went over the top and blew everyone’s doors off!

He threw for over 300 yards and 5 touchdowns against Miami (with only 6 yards rushing). He followed that up with another 272 yards and 2 more TDs against Arizona; and the MVP chatter was in full effect.

I watched that Ravens/Chiefs game in Week 3 pretty closely for a while, until the score got out of reach (I missed a lot of the garbage-time points the Ravens scored late), and honestly I liked what I saw. The Ravens took chances, went for it on 4th down, went for two on the game’s opening touchdown; they knew that field goals and field position weren’t going to be enough to beat the high-flying Chiefs offense. It was a brilliant strategy, poorly executed (especially in the first half).

What I saw over everything else was a defense that isn’t NEARLY as good as I expected them to be. The Ravens’ defense, in 2018, really carried the mail. They were the reason I had them in the hunt at all for a possible wild card spot. I figured it would be more of the same as 2018; that’s usually my mistake when making pre-season predictions.

To be fair, I don’t know exactly what they did exceptionally last year, but I’m assuming it was the front seven. With the addition of Earl Thomas in the backfield, I figured he would do what he did for many a mediocre Seahawks’ defenses in the last few years: pick them up on his back and make them look much better than they actually were.

But, he hasn’t really stood out (aside from almost killing that Steelers quarterback), and I contend they’re using him wrong. I haven’t watched the tape or anything, but I can’t believe he’s lost that much of a step after looking fantastic in his few games in 2018; yet he’s seemingly never in a position to make a play. I put that on the scheme. My hunch is they’re playing more of a Tampa 2 when he’s coming from a Single High scheme. Let your dog hunt! Set Earl loose and watch the magic happen!

Anyway, the Ravens biffed it against the Chiefs, and completely fell apart against the Browns (giving up 33 and 40 points respectively). That’s on the defense. Things have settled down the last two weeks – they beat the Steelers and Bengals in closer games than they probably should’ve been – but again, those are terrible teams. The Ravens are 4-2 and have beaten probably the 4 worst teams in the league through six weeks.

So, what does that tell us?

I don’t know if it’s told us a whole lot. Lamar Jackson has looked much more like the player I was expecting in the last few weeks. Fewer passing yards, more rushing yards, fewer TDs, more picks. But, he’s yet to face this Seahawks defense.

A defense that’s as much of an enigma as I’ve ever seen.

Jarran Reed returns this week. I hope and pray that brings with it a bit of stability, but I’m worried he won’t play as much as we probably need him to. He drastically improves our depth in the front seven and in particular in the defensive tackle rotation. He’s a great run stuffer, and as he showed last year, he can be a whiz rushing the passer. We need the middle of that line to be as good as it’s been all year to slow down the Ravens’ rushing attack. Between Lamar and Mark Ingram, they’ve got a couple of LOADS that are tough to stop, who only get stronger as the game goes on.

I would hope that our defense will shut down their deep passing attack, but I’ve seen so many breakdowns this year, it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest to see one or two get behind us for big gains. I’m more concerned with the rush defense though, and the pisspoor tackling we’ve seen from pretty much everyone.

I’ve stopped banking on this team actually getting sacks, but if it’s EVER going to happen, this would probably be the game to see ’em. The Ravens love some play action and Lamar loves to extend plays, so we should – if nothing else – see some coverage sacks.

I’d honestly be surprised and a little lot disappointed if we let the Ravens score in the high 20’s or 30’s. This is probably a game the Seahawks should win in a semi-grudge match. Something like 24-16.

It should be raining, which is always a concern for the Seahawks’ offense. The last time it rained for a home game was against the Saints, and you saw all the freaky shit that happened.

I have to believe the Ravens will sell out to stop the run, which is playing right into Russell MVP Wilson’s hands. There’s no doubt Earl will make his presence felt in this one, but the rest of their secondary is pretty ordinary, so we shouldn’t have any trouble throwing on the outside.

I’m expecting a workmanlike, forgettable Seahawks victory in this one. I’m also expecting to be surprised by the Ravens as I’ve been pretty much all year, so I can’t wait to watch this game.

The Seahawks Beat The Browns, Just Like I Knew They Would

See, the key to any good Reverse Jinx is to never call out the fact that you’re performing a Reverse Jinx. It’s like a birthday cake wish, if you say it aloud, it won’t come true!

I’m with all of you, I thought the Seahawks had no business losing to the Browns yesterday. But, as we saw with the 20-6 start to that game, it was certainly on the table. I had to go so far in my Reverse Jinx as to triple-down on it, making bets with family and friends totalling a whopping $45! I lost cold, hard cash just so the Seahawks would win this one! I’m the Jesus Christ of football fans!

Let’s dig into it, because I feel like I’ll have a lot to say. First up, the defense.

I’m very conflicted. Sometimes, they can look SO TERRIBLE. They give up an avalanche of yards and touchdowns and you think it’s never going to relent. They might put the team in some significant holes, but they almost always adjust and figure out a way to at least slow it down to a dull roar. You try to wrap your head around ’em, try to figure out who this defense is REALLY, but they won’t ever let you solve the riddle.

With those first three Browns drives (I’ll lump the opening kickoff return in with the defense in this case), we’re talking about 102 return yards and 184 yards of offense; it’s like the Seahawks weren’t even there! The D-Line wasn’t able to get any pressure, the run defense was abysmal, and receivers were wide open all day.

Then, the game just got goofy. A blocked punt, a couple tipped passes turning into interceptions, and a methodical Seahawks offense almost bringing us all the way back to even by halftime. By the way, I don’t love the handoff to Prosise for the 2-point play (I guess it would’ve been too obvious if they’d put Carson back in the game, since he was off the field for the entire 2-minute offense). When you’ve got Russell Wilson as your quarterback, put the fucking ball in his hands and let him go to work! Spread everyone out, and let him throw it to whoever or scramble around and run it in if that presents itself!

The wackiness continued throughout the second half, as the Seahawks finally got the lead, then fumbled it away, then stopped the Browns improbably on 4th & Goal at the 1 (after a hilarious challenge by their head coach that cockblocked a would-be touchdown). The Seahawks proceeded to have one of the worst 3-play sequences of all time from their own 1-yard line, only to punt the ball 23 yards away (which Pete Carroll apparently wanted him to take a safety on; did he decide this at the last second? Why wasn’t this instructed to the team in the huddle?), which led to the Browns re-taking the lead two plays later.

With 9 minutes left in the game, down by 3 points, nothing would’ve surprised me. The Seahawks could’ve turned the ball over, could’ve been set back by penalties, could’ve driven the ball into Browns territory only to settle for a field goal, or could’ve done what they did and taken back the lead. For what it’s worth, I was convinced that had we settled for the tie, we would’ve lost this game in regulation. But, on the very next drive, the Browns turned it over for the fourth time, and thankfully the Seahawks were able to capitalize by running out the clock.

Russell Wilson continues to look like the MVP of the league, with 295 yards passing, and 3 total touchdowns (against zero turnovers). Chris Carson continues to look like one of the five best running backs in all of football, with 124 yards and a touchdown (while just straight up murdering people late in games). Tyler Lockett continues to look like one of the ten best wide receivers in the league, but also shout out to Jaron Brown for his 2 TDs, and D.K. Metcalf for some clutch catches throughout.

It was a nice effort out of the offensive line in this one. I had Myles Garrett getting 3 sacks, and he fell one shy (though I think one was called back on penalty?). But, otherwise with Fant starting for Brown, and Jones in for Fluker, I thought they held up pretty well. Mike Iupati had his best game as a Seahawk, which came at the perfect time.

Huge bummer in losing Will Dissly. It fucking sucks when someone is so special and keeps getting knocked out for the season due to fluke injuries. The Seahawks were smart to call up Jacob Hollister from the practice squad before the game, and we’re relatively lucky that Ed Dickson should be returning soon from his injury.

Also returning this week will be Jarran Reed. Here’s hoping he doesn’t immediately pull a hamstring or something in practice in his enthusiasm to return from suspension. It’s not a moment too soon, as this D-Line could use another infusion of talent. They still really haven’t gelled, particularly as a pass rushing unit, so hopefully a stud in the middle will make all the difference (considering how much Baltimore likes to run the ball, we’ll need his presence there as well to help slow things down). Nick Chubb is the real deal (making that Penny draft selection all the harder to swallow, especially when you factor in how injury-prone Penny has been in his brief NFL career; that was supposedly the reason why the Seahawks were down on Chubb); and he made the Seahawks look like idiots in this one. I would expect we’ll see a lot of Mark Ingram next week (though, I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit).

0 sacks and 0 quarterback hits for the defense (though Mayfield did take some big hits as a runner, leaving this game hobbled for a brief spell). I thought a lot of the turnovers were pretty lucky on our part – being in the right place at the right time – so kind of a mixed bag all around.

Not a lot to praise on the special teams. A missed extra point, a long return, and a muffed punt pretty much dominated the story for this unit. Flush it and move on to next week.

The Seahawks are 5-1 and with the 49ers at 5-0, that showdown in a few weeks looms LARGE. The fact that it’s on Monday Night will make things doubly exciting.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2019: All Hell Breaks Loose

I feel these sorts of weekends in my bones. It usually starts with the Huskies losing on Saturday. I wake up as hungover as can be on Sunday, there’s no Seahawks game, and I’m up against a buzzsaw in fantasy. In this case, I’d go on to lose in all four fantasy games I’m involved with, so I avoided watching football entirely (for Family Guy and Brooklyn Nine-Nine reruns in bed).

I kept track of the score on my phone for a while, but at some point it became too sadomasochistic to continue. Beasts, my opponent, started off his week with Russell Wilson going off for 40+ and Chris Carson beating expectations to get nearly 20. Then, he had Christian McCaffrey score almost 50, Matt Ryan in a shootout, Chris Godwin picking up all the slack for the Tampa offense, and for good measure Edelman and Boyd having huge days.

I, on the other hand, benched Josh Jacobs (almost 30) for David Montgomery (10) and Minshew (almost 30) for Dimes (12). Not that it would’ve mattered; Wentz, Hilton, and Waller were all mediocre, and I had absolutely no one in the realm of Beasts’ best guys.

I was crushed 253.66-150.05. I’d be complaining about my bad luck, but someone else in the league dropped 260 on the poor sap who’s still winless on the year. My defeat drops me to 2-3 and 7th in the league. I’m down to just the 6th-most points, but the 2nd-most points against (the last place team has the most points against at 950.65 and I’m at 940.77; the 3rd-most points against is only 793.14, to give you an idea how unlucky we’ve been).

***

What’s worse is that I’m setting myself up for another loss in week 6. I have a tight end and defense on BYE, with no backups to put in their place. Furthermore, Jacobs, Hilton, and Montgomery are all on BYE as well, which is a huge setback.

I’ve got Wentz at MIN and Minshew hosting the Saints; I fully expect two mediocre games from them (Dimes is at New England and is unstartable in this Thursday Night matchup). My Big 4 of Kupp, Tyreek Hill (looking on pace to return for the first time since Week 1), Zeke and Bell are all set to start for me, which is nice to finally have back. But, my FLEX is a little iffy with Scary Terry being my choice over Chris Thompson. They’re playing the Dolphins, so if there’s any time to load up on Redskins players, this might be the week, but with their coaching & quarterback shuffling, who the fuck knows? Can Justin Tucker score 30 points somehow?

My opponent – Crazy N8’s Prostates – will be fielding a full team. They’re, of course, better than me even when I’m at full strength, so I really expect to get killed for the second time in a row. He’s got Dak in a juicy matchup against the Jets, with Cousins in a potential shootout against the Eagles. He has Keenan Allen, ODB, and James Conner; with David Johnson, Ingram, and Kelce rounding out the offense. He could also toss Sammy Watkins into his FLEX if he so desires. And, since he actually has roster flexibility, he was able to grab Dallas’ defense off of the scrap heap, who figure to murder the Jets this weekend; it’s certainly risky to bench Sacksonville’s defense, but when you have a chance to field a defense going up against one of the worst teams in the league, you have to do it.

I’ve just gotta weather this storm and hope for better days in the second half of the regular season. There’s still a lot of time to get right, but I’m in desperate need of Carson Wentz to pick his game up. I also need to figure it out when it comes to Minshew vs. Jones; I somehow make the wrong decision every single week, even though I feel like my judgment is sound. Dimes didn’t have a great matchup last week, but Carolina’s defense to date had been murder on opposing quarterbacks. Maybe it just boils down to Minshew being the real deal and Dimes being a flash in the pan? I can’t help but feel I’m about to have the rug pulled out from under me; that I’m going to finally start Minshew and that’s the week he turns back into a pumpkin.

Regardless, if it wasn’t clear before, it’s all but assured I won’t get to enjoy a Top 2 finish to the regular season (and a first round playoff BYE). It’s hard enough to win ANY week in fantasy, but having to win three in a row during the playoffs is damn near impossible. This week, I’m going up against the last person in our league to do it (I think). Maybe I can get some of that magic to rub off on me.

The other hard truth I might have to face as the season progresses is that my team just isn’t very good this year. Maybe I’ve been spending too much time focusing on the future and not enough time on getting better in the short term. It certainly doesn’t help that I made Roethlisberger my first draft pick, that I got unlucky with Hill getting injured in week 1, and that I drafted T.Y. Hilton over Tyler Lockett, among many other disasterous decisions. This year is a learning experience. Of course, I could say that damn near every year, where I continue to remain off of the championship trophy entirely.

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: The All-Important Draft

See the first post in this series for what I’m talking about here.

Well, we did it.  I drafted my team and, if I do say so myself, I think I did a pretty good job!  Of course, I always say so myself, because why wouldn’t I?  I brought in these players, I must like them to some extent!  Because they’ve yet to disappoint me.

It’s all downhill from here.

As I talked about last time, my 3 keepers are Wentz, Fournette, and Elliott.  Since I had my RBs set, I didn’t have to focus on them too much in the early going.  So, after the first three rounds took care of the keepers, I went to work bolstering my WR unit.

I picked 8th, in every round.  I won’t list out every single pick, but I’ll at least show you the first round, to give you an idea of the players we had available:

  1. Le’Veon Bell
  2. Saquon Barkley
  3. Melvin Gordon
  4. Cam Newton
  5. Keenan Allen
  6. Davante Adams
  7. Matthew Stafford

So, those were the guys taken right before me.  Both of the top QBs that were left out there, the top 3 RBs, and my two favorite WRs.  I was bound and determined to get a receiver; the available ones were:  A.J. Green, Mike Evans, Gronk (technically a TE, but still), T.Y. Hilton, and Tyreek Hill.  I went with Hill.  I like Mahomes a lot, I like that offense, I think Hill is a stud in the prime of his career who will be the focal point of that passing game (as opposed to the tight end-centric offense run under Alex Smith), and I just believe he has the highest upside to really blow out some games.

I should point out that all of those other receivers I listed off were taken by the time I drafted again.  I still wanted to go WR – to knock that position out of the way – even though I desperately needed a second QB (and, one might argue, a FIRST QB, since who knows when Wentz will be ready).  Adam Thielen was sitting there and he felt like an obvious pick, so I took him (the other WRs were Amari Cooper, Jarvis Landry, Larry Fitzgerald, and Doug Baldwin; I think I made clearly the best choice).

By my next pick, all of those receivers were gone, as well as the next two best tight ends (Kelce and Ertz), so I went into the QB well.  No more QBs were taken after Cam & Stafford, so I had my pick of the shit-filled kitty litter.  I went with Derek Carr, upside over recent success.  I think he’ll be a transformed player under Jon Gruden and even if the Raiders are a terrible team, I think they’ll be behind in a lot of games and throwing the ball a ton.  Plus, they don’t really have a defined #1 RB (a respectable committee led by Beastmode), so I think this could be great for me.  The other QBs available were Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith, Blake “The Bort” Bortles, Dak Prescott, and Case Keenum.  Ben is obviously better, but I can’t trust him to play a full season.  I might regret not taking Alex Smith though.

When it came back to me, in Round 7, Demaryius Thomas was still sitting there at the top of the Yahoo rankings.  I needed a flex guy, and honestly the value I was getting for Denver’s #1 receiver was too good to pass up.  I might’ve gotten the steal of the draft, or he might be the bust that everyone is expecting.  We’ll see, I’ll take my chances.  By taking him, though, I missed out on Chris Carson, his teammate Emmanuel Sanders, Jacksonville’s defense, the Rams’ defense, Allen Robinson, and Corey Davis, among others.

In Round 8, I took the best tight end available (who was also among the best overall players available), Greg Olsen.  My plan going into the draft was to wait until one of the last three rounds to take a tight end (as well as a defense and a kicker), but Olsen is elite, and the drop-off in tight ends was significant (plus, like I said, he was one of the top players remaining).  I missed out on Marquise Goodwin, Mark Ingram, and Minnesota’s defense, among others.

Next, I started filling my bench, with Robert Woods leading the way.  At this point, I still haven’t grabbed a third RB, and that might be my undoing if I have injuries to my top two guys.  A run on RBs went right after I took Woods, with guys like Lynch, Peyton Barber, Rex Burkhead, Chris Thompson, Dion Lewis, and Carlos Hyde all going off the board.

In Round 10, I went back to QB, because it’s always smart to have a competent third (in case of injuries, BYEs, or if Derek Carr really does suck), so I bought low on Andy Dalton.  In Round 10 of a 2-QB league, I think I got really good value on this one too.  Plus, I think everyone is severely underrating him this year, and I like him to bounce back in a big way.  I passed on Jameis Winson, because I can’t have his 3-game suspension hanging over my head if I don’t know Wentz’s status those weeks and I didn’t want to have to roster 4 QBs.  I also passed on guys like Mitch Trubisky, Mayfield & Darnold, Ryan Tannehill, and Eli Manning, which I’m okay with.

Next up, Adrian Peterson was still there, so I grabbed him.  I don’t know if that’s going to work out for me, but he’s a #1 RB in the 11th round, so beggars can’t be choosers.  The other RBs available were all backups or in time-shares (Latavius Murray, Sony Michel, James Conner, Nick Chubb, Kerryon Johnson, and Marlon Mack, among others).  If worse comes to worse and I need an RB off waivers, I’m sure I can find someone, so I’m not too worried about it.  If best comes to best, then in AP I have a 1,000-yard rusher on a good offense.  (I will say that I’m disappointed that Will Fuller V was taken 2 picks after this; I think he’s a stud).

In Round 12, Jordan Reed was still there, so I grabbed him.  Yep, the guy who was going to wait and take whatever TE was left over in the final rounds … ended up drafting TWO of them.  But, when healthy, Reed is a Top 3 TE.  And now he has Alex Smith throwing to him, the ultimate in TE-friendly QBs.  Plus, Greg Olsen is getting up there, so it’s nice to have some TE insurance.

In the lucky 13th round, I grabbed Kenny Stills.  All the podcasts I was listening to in the week leading up to the draft cited this guy as a potential break-out player.  Tannehill apparently loves him, he’s a target monster, and with Landry out of the picture, he should be the team’s #1.  I am CRUSHING this draft with all the value I’m getting!

In the final two rounds, I finally had to go grab a defense and a kicker.  I drafted Baltimore’s defense in the 14th, and ‘Frisco’s Robbie Gould in the 15th.  Whatever.

Yahoo’s stupid grading system put me in the middle of the pack with a B grade.  It hated my Derek Carr pick (about 6 rounds too early according to ADP?), but it loves my Thielen pick, as well as my RB keepers.  My team is the 2nd oldest in the league, which might be troubling; then again, my tendency is to draft a lot of young guys and where has it gotten me?  Nowhere near the championship trophy, that’s for damn sure.

So, we’ll see how it goes.  My schedule is one of the toughest in the league, so that’s fucking great.  Then again, why should I trust Yahoo’s grading?

Short Week For Me: Seahawks/Saints Preview

Is it unfortunate timing on my part to be going to Disneyland on such an important football weekend as this weekend?  Is it even more unfortunate that whenever I take these trips to California, the Seahawks always seem to inevitably lose to some team they have no business losing to?

Hi, meet the New Orleans Saints:  some team the Seahawks have no business losing to.

The Saints are 2-4, with wins over Carolina and the Chargers, and losses to Kansas City, Atlanta, the Giants and the Raiders.  Are they any good?  Tough to say.  They’re certainly better than they were last year, but it would almost be impossible to NOT be better.  Particularly here, I’m talking about their defense, which went from being among the worst all time, to still pretty bad.  They still give up the most points per game in the league, but they only give up the FOURTH-most yards in the league, compared to second-most of last year.

Their worst trait is their pass defense (3rd-most yards given up in the NFL), but they’re still in the bottom third in rush yards given up as well.  They’re middle-of-the-road in takeaways with 8, but 6 of those are fumble recoveries, which are flukey as hell.  They’re also tied for the 3rd-fewest sacks with 9 on the year.

So, in other words, this defense is literally the exact opposite as the one we saw down in Arizona.  If the Seahawks can’t move the ball at will against this unit, they’ve got deeper problems than just a leaky offensive line.

On the flipside, the Saints get the second-most yards per game (behind Atlanta) and the third-most points per game (behind Atlanta and San Diego).  It’s neither here nor there that the Saints have played some of the least intimidating defenses in football in their six games so far, in the eyeball test they look like the real deal.  Drew Brees is up to his old tricks, and they’ve finally re-loaded their passing game with lethal wide receiver weapons.

Brandin Cooks is an all-around fantastic receiver, who has over-the-top speed.  Willie Snead, when healthy, is a tall, physical possession receiver who – if we’re not careful – will have 12 catches before we even blink.  Rookie Michael Thomas looks like he was cut from the Marques Colston mold.  Then, you’ve got newly-signed tight end Coby Fleener who hasn’t done a TON of damage yet with his new team, but that’s just because he hasn’t played against the Seahawks yet.

Their running game, while maddening from a fantasy perspective, is still good enough to keep you honest.  I like Mark Ingram as a power back, even if he’s criminally under-utilized on the goalline.  Of course, they brought in John Kuhn (from Green Bay) to vulture those TDs.  And the resurgence of Tim Hightower is one of the better NFL stories of the last year.  Top it off with a veteran, stout O-line (led by Max Unger and the return of Jahri Evans, once we cut him before Week 1), and you’ve got all the makings of an offense that should be able to do a helluva lot more than the Cardinals last week.

How do the Seahawks win this game?  Well, it’s not realistic to expect them to replicate what they were able to do last week on defense, so if the Saints come down for some easy early touchdowns, don’t piss your pants.  Granted, they will have to get SOME stops, but this game is all on the offense.  I think we need, minimum, 28 points to win this game.  And, if we can’t do that – if we can’t get out of our own way with penalties and allowing the pressure to get to Wilson too quickly – then stop the season, because I want to get off!

This would be a great game for the offense to try to get the run game going.  Ground and pound early and often, let the run game work for you to open up more opportunistic passing plays.  I hate to go all Member Berries on you, but ‘member the Seahawks’ offense from three years ago?  ‘Member how awesome it was to control the clock and take calculated risks down field through the air?  Let’s do that again.

Things To Take Away From The Seahawks’ Win Over The Saints

For starters, there is no reason to expect the weather to be as bad as it was on Saturday.  I think it’s funny when people get all excited before a Seahawks game when rain is expected.  The rationale being:  the Seahawks are used to playing in this!  While the Saints (or whoever the other team is) NEVER play in the rain!

Granted, the Saints play a minimum of 9 games a year in a dome (8 home games, plus 1 road Falcons game), but it’s not like the Seahawks are out here playing 8 home games in the mud or something!  The season starts in September – one of the nicest months of the year in Seattle.  In fact, in looking back through our schedule, all I see are games played under clear skies – except for that home 49ers game with the freak thunderstorm, and I guess the home Saints game on Monday Night, where there was a little drizzle.

We are no more used to “playing in the elements” than any other team, is what I’m trying to get at.  Yes, you can say that rain and wind helps a defense, but that goes both ways.  I’d rather have a nice, dry game where our offense at least has the CHANCE to be great.  Under those circumstances on Saturday, there was no chance.

That’s why one of the biggest positives to take out of that game was Marshawn Lynch.  He ran for 140 yards on a season-high 28 carries (well, tied for a season high).  You can tell that the week off helped Beastmode more than any other player on this team.  From what I could tell, Turbin just had the four touches (he finished with 3 carries for 9 yards, with his big run called back thanks to a needless holding penalty on Giacomini).  If the Seahawks were going to lose this game, they were going to lose doing what they loved (running the ball) and they were going to lose with the guy that brought them here (Marshawn Lynch).  The fact that the Seahawks DIDN’T lose is a testament to Beastmode still having it.

Who didn’t have it?  Russell Wilson.  Lots of poorly thrown balls, which I’m going to attribute to the wind.  Yes, Drew Brees also played in that same wind, and he ended up with some pretty solid numbers.  But, that’s the difference between being up two scores and being down two scores.  The Seahawks didn’t need Russell Wilson to throw his way out of it.  They just needed to keep the clock moving and SOMEHOW find a way to score.

I thought Percy Harvin was a positive take-away.  His impact could be felt all over that first half, even though his numbers weren’t all that striking (3 catches for 21 yards, 1 rush for 9 yards, no returns on special teams).  The Saints certainly rolled coverages his direction, and had an aim to make him pay the price.

Golden Tate was a bit of a non-factor, with only one catch for 13 yards and one punt return for 6 yards (not to mention the ball bouncing off his chest on that onside kick).  Then again, with the weather, it’s not like any of the receivers had many opportunities.  Doug Baldwin had the catch of the day to convert a third down and set up that final Lynch touchdown run.  Without that, I think we’re looking at a tie game and maybe even overtime.

Michael Bennett was my choice for player of the game on defense (Lynch is the obvious choice on offense).  He was playing in his first-ever playoff game and it showed.  He was all over the place, getting half a sack, forcing & recovering a fumble by Mark Ingram, netting a tackle for loss, and getting consistent pressure on Drew Brees.  One in particular, on fourth down, forced Brees to pump the football and ultimately change his intended target, which resulted in Bobby Wagner batting the ball down.  That doesn’t happen without Bennett’s pressure.

Speaking of Bobby Wagner, he was all over the place in this game.  I think he was one truly big play away (like an interception return for a touchdown) from REALLY making a name for himself on the national stage.  As it stands, he’s still our little pride & joy here in Seattle.

Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas had 14 and 11 tackles respectively.  They were very influential in stopping the Saints passing attack.  And they both dropped sure interceptions which would have sealed the deal.  So, if anyone tries to tell you how close the Saints were to tying or winning this game, you remind them that it was also very close to a Seahawks blowout if a couple balls get caught by our defense.

Also, they made Jimmy Graham their bitch.  We can never forget that.

In the end, you could make the argument that it was the kicking game that decided the day.  Steven Hauschka made all three field goals he attempted (including a long of 49 yards), while Shayne Graham missed both of his attempts.  You could easily tell who had the bigger leg.  In a game like that, with the wind, you have to drive the ball rather than loft it high and hope for the best.  Hauschka’s kicks weren’t the prettiest.  In fact, they were kind of low and line-drivey.  But, they got the job done.  That’s points on the board AND it’s field position.  A big reason why the Seahawks had a 16-0 halftime lead and why the Saints had to go for it on 4th down so much.

My concern for the upcoming NFC Championship Game will be discussed later in the week.  Any concern stemming from this Divisional Round game, however, comes with a big ol’ asterisk in the form of 30-mph winds.  I don’t expect the weather to be as bad on Sunday.  I do expect the Seahawks’ offense to play better.  That goes hand-in-hand.

Draft Day!

With the 25th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks … trade with the Miami Dolphins for their second and third round picks (also going to Miami, let’s say a 6th round pick).

By the way, if that scenario really happens, my mind would officially be blown.

Why don’t Mock Draft guys do mock drafts where they predict trades?  I mean, because all you’re really doing is playing a game here.  It’s not like it’s THAT hard to look at all the NFL teams, compile a list of all their needs, and then figure out the best college players to fill those needs.

Oh, the Seahawks have an obvious need at Quarterback.  Jake Locker’s stock is falling, he’s a Northwest guy, so OF COURSE the Seahawks are going to take him.  Not taking him would be a huge upset!

It’s lazy, is what it is!  Predict the draft-day trades!  If you would’ve predicted before last year’s draft that the Seahawks would trade for both Leon Washington and LenDale White, you would be a GOD among Mock Drafters.

But no, everyone just keeps churning out the same Mock Drafts every damn year.  Mel Kiper has been on autopilot for the last decade!  For instance, you’d think, if you were so involved with the NFL Draft every year, that you’d KNOW Al Davis will make a stupid, out-of-right-field pick.  You know how in golf you have to account for wind and adjust your shot accordingly?  Well, in NFL Mock Drafts, you have to account for Al Davis’ crazy factor!

Anyway, I’ll shut up about that now.  Because all anyone around here cares about is:  1.  Where will Jake Locker Go?  and 2.  What will the Seahawks do with their 25th pick?

My official guess:  knowing nothing about the draft order or who needs what, I say that Jake goes somewhere in the Teens, and I say that the Seahawks don’t even MAKE a pick today.  We’re trading out of this round so hard, it’s going to make everyone’s head spin.

Which, in all honesty, wouldn’t bother me too much.  No, I don’t like the idea of not having a first round pick, but really, is the 25th pick even IN the first round anymore?  In an ideal world, we will have three draft picks tomorrow, and one of them will be Andy Dalton, one of them will be an offensive guard, and one of them will be a cornerback with some size.

Last year, we had one of our best drafts in YEARS and years.  This year, we probably won’t be graded so high initially, but I bet we’re able to grab a lot of pieces to help us in our road to recovery.

Just … for the love of God, don’t draft Mark Ingram!  One of our strengths next year is running back; PLEASE, don’t waste a First Round pick on another!