Friday, September 20, 2013

NFL: Five Hail Marys - Week 3

Mother Nature in Seattle... Or is it?

As thunder and lightning struck in Seattle Sunday night and the heavens opened, delaying the game for 45 minutes, it became obvious what was happening.

"Apocalypse my ass! This isn't the end of the world! Gods, they're not angry with us, the aliens aren't coming down! It's the government! With a big capital "G"! They're behind EVERYTHING! They know what we buy, they know what we eat, where we go to the bathroom. They know what kind of CHEESE I like... Pepper jack.

"They control it all! And the weather too! I gotta hand it to em though, SHARKS? I never saw THAT coming."

Bare with me.

That was an exceptionally brilliant quote from the epic film Sharknado. Replace sharks with Seahawks and the above is the only logical (okay, logical isn't the right word) conclusion I could come to as the Seahawks thumped the Niners on Sunday night. I somehow forced myself to stay up till 5:40am to watch the conclusion of the game like a “true fan”, only for that to be taken away from me as Channel 4 cut out the last 2 minutes of the game as they had ran way over time with the delays. 

Cue bitter tweets about how this was Seattle’s Superbowl, it’s only week 2 etc; all of which you can find it you follow my ass @Coffey_23... as well as updates on everything 49ers, NFL, Miami Heat and how I like my eggs in the morning (hard, if you must know).


Like Ray Lewis claiming that the Niners cut off the power during the Superbowl, somehow this home field advantage swayed further to Seattle’s side as Pete Carroll orchestrated the thunder and lightning just so he could have the Niners wait in a horribly small locker room and have them treated like Costa Rica treated the Team USA soccer team in a recent World Cup qualifier.

As you can tell, I don’t like to lose. If this was a movie, somehow, that’s exactly what happened.

The real question is how good are this Seattle team?! Since Pete Carroll has taken over the team, they have gone 27-23 in the regular season. That stat is a little unfair as Seattle went 7-9 in his first two years before really coming alive last season. So eliminating the two 7-9 seasons, Carroll and the Seahawks are 14-6 (including playoffs). A pretty good record by all accounts.

One of the main counter arguments for Seattle is that they are a terrible road team. They can win games at home due to their tremendous stadium and fan base but always seem to come up short on the road.

Looking at the last two seasons only, including playoffs, Seattle are 4-6 on the road; which means Seattle have not lost at all at home in the last two years.

Of the four games Seattle have won on the road, they beat the Bears (OT), Bills, Redskins (in the playoffs after RG3 went down), and the Panthers in Week 1 of this season. The Bills game, 50-17, was the Seahawks' most comfortable victory. The ifs and buts game can be played all day with RG3 getting hurt in the playoff game. The Redskins were leading, but it could easily have been a case of a slow start for the Seahawks.

In the past 2 seasons, they’ve had narrow home victories over New England and Green Bay, while decimating the Niners, twice. They are a formidable force in Century Link Field and have proven they can beat any NFL team there.

If the road to the Superbowl goes through Seattle, then they are the clear favoruites. To get there, their biggest opposition on the road is the Texans in Week 4, Falcons in Week 10 and the Niners in Week 14. Their one remaining home game is against a 2012 playoff team (Vikings in Week 11, who are currently 0-2 and need Adrian Petersen to throw on his Superman and Batman cape to save their season).

No reference to anything, just a cool pic from last weeks Lions-Cards to take my mind off my next prediction...

We could be looking at a 13-3 Seahawks season. We could be looking at the Superbowl going through Seattle. And, if this is a movie (or a storyline from Friday Night Lights - which I'm currently hooked on), we could be looking at everyone’s dream matchup in the NFC Championship game with the Niners taking that trip up to the North West... except of course if you’re a Cheesehead!

Onto this weeks 5 Hail Marys after this gunslinger threw some stinkers last week!

Note: At first Glance, this is probably the hardest week ever to predict the line. Sure Seattle are going to thump Jacksonville, but to bet (-19) on it? The other big lines are Broncos (-14.5) over Raiders (I was right to not go against Oakland last week, by the by), plus Niners (-10.5) over Colts and their new acquired running back, Trent Richardson.

This Week's 5 Hail Marys


Packers (-3.0) over BENGALS

Green Bay ran through Washington last week with Rodgers putting up over 300 yards... IN THE FIRST HALF! This Packers offence can score quickly, as they showed against the Niners in Week 1. What they hadn’t got in Week 1 - nor all the way back to October 2010 - was a player with over 100 rushing yards. James Starks did just that with his 132 rushing yards. The Packers became the first NFL team ever to have a QB throw for over 450 yards while also having a rusher go over 125 yards. The Bengals are 1-1 and could be in position to take over the AFC North. Arguably, they should have beaten the Bears and they beat an old looking Steelers. So old that ex-Steeler, James Harrison, wasn’t even brought in for many snaps against his former team. Andy Dalton is starting to get noticed as one of the better QBs in this league, but I wouldn't throw around the 'elite' tag just yet. The Packers aerial assault and their new found running game should be enough to cover though.

Vikings (-6.5) over BROWNS

I told you this was a hard week! The Browns couldn't score a TD last week no matter what they tried. They have only two players who have had any rushing attempts this season in the aforementioned Trent Richardson and QB Brandon Weedon, neither of whom will play this Sunday (or ever again for the Browns in Richardson's case). So they are starting off this game with third string QB Brian Hoyer. Cleveland have an NFL veteran QB in James Campbell (proof that the word veteran doesn’t always mean good) on the bench yet they’re starting off with a QB with 2 TDs and 3 INTs in his entire career. Can the first official entrant in the ‘Muck for Manziel’ (‘Suck for Luck’ rip-off but you get the point) sweepstakes please step forward. Either that or they’re creating cap space for LeBron James to return home next year. As if an NBA player with 3 rings in a row, dominating his sport, would decide he needs a new challenge... oh shit, moving swiftly on!

Falcons (+1.0) over DOLPHINS

Atlanta were unlucky to not beat the Saints as they had their chances near the end of the game to score a winning TD. They’re 1-1. Miami have started 2-0. Surprisingly, they started 2-0 in 2010 (before going onto a 7-9 season). I would have thought their last 2-0 start was under one Dan Marino. QB Ryan Tannenhill is being hailed by some as the heir to Marino's throne. 18th time's a charm? Yes, there's been 18 QB starters since Marino, not one of them worth noting... actually Joey Harrington was the cousin of Irish golfer Padraig Harrington. Okay, their on-field displays are not worth noting. The Falcons are beat up. Steven Jackson won't start this week and neither will full back Bradie Ewing, which could create problems for the Falcons running game. However, Atlanta is known for their throwing abilities and with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez healthy, they should have enough fire power to hand the Dolphins their first loss of the season.

Bucs (+7) over PATRIOTS

There’s all sorts of pressure on the QB. He thinks he sees a man open in the endzone and lets fly...

It’s important to note that, at the time of writing, Pats tight end Rob Gronkonwski is not starting on Sunday. With that said, it’s like the Patriots are going to war with, arguably, the best rifle, but with piss poor bullets. No matter how accurate Tom Brady is, those receivers are not catching the football. The Patriots have won their first two games by a combined total of 5 points. The Bucs have lost by a combined total of 3. Dashon Goldson, after originally being suspended, starts alongside Derrelle Revis which makes Brady’s task even harder. I still see the Pats somehow coming up with the W as Belichick and Brady always manage to do (interesting to note that it would be their first 3-0 start since their infamous 18-1 season of 2007). But for this game to cover, Josh Freeman is going to have to play better than his 63.0 passer rating and not leave it all to running back Doug Martin, who has ran for 209 yards in the first two games of the season.

BRONCOS (-14.5) over Raiders

The QB is in his own endzone. The offensive line is doing a tremendous job protecting him. There’s a wide open receiver. No one within 20 yards of him, a clear example of blown coverage. But he’s 70 yards down the field. It looks so easy. And yet...

The Broncos would have easily covered this line last year in their 37-6 victory. And it would be very easy for me to justify this line by ripping on the Oakland Raiders and their fans who put masks on when entering an arena because they are too ashamed to look at themselves in the mirror and admit they are Oakland Raiders fans. Like Seattle, they had their own Superbowl victory party last week when they defeated the Jags. The only difference between the two is that Oakland celebrated theirs in disbelief that they got the job done! 

I know a Raiders fan. That previous sentence alone disgusts me. And I know he’s reading this. And he’s agreeing with this. Because even he was not convinced that the Raiders could beat a team that is so bad that they had a rally at 3:16pm to bring in a QB that no one else wants! What?! (Pun intended)

I hope that mask doesn’t have eye holes mate!

As if the Raiders were not bad enough, their starting saftey, Tyvon Branch, is out for the game, leaving a big hole for one Peyton Manning to exploit. Manning leads the league with a 131.0 passer rating, while also having 9 TDs in just two games. Raiders, to their credit or whatever, have a decent running game with QB Terrelle Pryor getting some yards as well as Darren McFadden. But that plays into the Broncos defensive strengths as they have only allowed an average of 41 rushing yards this season so far.

Let’s not mention last weeks 2-3 record, Damn you Saints, Steelers and ... (Ed's Note: 49ers? Is that who you meant, Sean? Sean? Seeeeaaaannn??)

Happy Football People!

Sean Coffey (formerly Angry Andy) is a former pro-wrestler, turned radio host/podcaster, turned sports gambling addict. He's a die-hard San Francisco 49ers and Miami Heat fan, is dying hard being a Villa fan this season and his favourite film is also, unsurprisingly, Die Hard. Follow him on Twitter @Coffey_23.

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