Thursday, December 5, 2013

NFL Brain Dump - Sleeping In Seattle

No! I don't mean "sleeping on Seattle", although I'll be the first to admit I had my doubts about the offense being able to produce points on a consistent basis. I actually mean that any NFC team with Super Bowl aspirations will have to sleep in Seattle, Washington in order to accomplish that. After beating up the New Orleans Saints in front of the entire school, The Hawks are now 2 games clear of the closest challenger for the best record in their conference.  Carolina and New Orleans (both 9-3) face each other twice in the final four games. Seattle is brash and they love to talk trash . . . boy are they fun to watch?

Russell Wilson deserves to be in the MVP discussion! Yes, I said the same thing about Cam Newton a few weeks back, and I still stand by it. It doesn't mean Russ can't get in where he fits in. I don't like to throw around football stats unless I'm spitting game about fantasy but I couldn't help sharing this nugget: Seattle has thrown the ball the second fewest times in the league, yet Russell Wilson has the sixth most touchdown passes. He also averages 5.7 yards per carry, which is tops in the league, and on pace clear 500 yards on the ground. The team follows him, the defense is great but Wilson is reason they're thriving.  You don't think they'd be doing this with Matt Flynn, do you?


The Legion of BOOM! If you don't know why they're secondary proudly goes by that nickname, look no further than Drew Brees' stat line; the key number is 147, representing the number of yards that he threw for. Prior to Monday night, Brees had a 43 game streak where he threw for at least 200 yards. The Seahawks lead the league in fewest passing yards. However, it takes a good pass rush to make a quarterback uncomfortable and rush his throws. On top of that, the linebackers were there to lay the hat on any of the underneath stuff.  Yea, good luck trying to get a win in Seattle.

This year's Thanksgiving slate left fans with much to be desired. Lions blew out the Packers, and Raiders choked away another game to the Cowboys. The night-cap featured AFC North Rivals Baltimore & Pittsburgh in a game that eventually was decided by Emmanuel Sanders letting a 2-point conversion slip through his hands. But all the noise after the game was about Steeler's head coach Mike Tomlin obstructing Jacoby Jones path while watching the him return a kickoff on the Jumbotron. Jones was quoted as saying, "coaches  are smart nowadays . . . you gotta do what you gotta do to get a win out here." The NFL has since fined Mike Tomlin $100,000, which I think is too harsh because it doesn't fall in line with any precedence.

It seems like there has been a game that I look forward to every week since the mid-point of the season, this week we're treated to a nice schedule:


The AFC North leading Bengals host the AFC South leading Colts. Both teams are 8-4 and the way it's looking is this is a battle for the third seed, with the loser possibly hosting Kansas City and the winner getting whoever the sixth seed is.

The team in the AFC's sixth spot is rotating every week. The Ravens are holding it down now and they're tied with Dolphins at 6-6. Miami has a chance to give Pittsburgh their eight loss and virtually eliminate them.

The NFC North leading Detroit Lions are on the road against the Eagles. It is likely a loss by either 7-5 team will hinder their wildcard consideration and make it necessary for them to win their division. This game is more crucial for the Eagles who don't have a division tie breaker.

NFC West rivals Seattle and San Francisco will face off. This game will tell me a lot about both teams. I've been saying for a while now that the 49ers being good is an illusion because they only beat the weaker teams. Seattle certainly isn't a weak team but can they answer the questions about beating contenders on the road?

Sunday Night Football gives us Carolina @ New Orleans; two teams tied for the NFC South lead at 9-3. Carolina is the NFL's hottest team, winners of eight straight games, and Cam Newton faces the pressure of a truly hostile environment for the first time this season. The Saints just got embarrassed and are licking their wounds, need this win in the worst way.

Monday Night Football features the Bears hosting the Cowboys.  This is a must win game for Chicago, going under .500 will put their playoff hopes on life support because they have to win their division and Detroit has the tie breaker.  This is an important game for Dallas as well but if they lose they can still make amends because they have an undefeated division record and finish the season against the Eagles at home.