"I've always dreamed of being a Super Bowl winning quarterback, doing great things."
This thing might just work, y'know. This thing of beginning these posts with quotes, of either the spoken or written kind, until we lose.
It began in my preview of Seattle's trip to Chicago, after events in Miami. That seemed to work. It seemed to work last week an' all, fifty eight times over with no return.
I daresay that the opening salvo this week needs no introduction so I will be sparing you the answer. However, here's what else he had to say: "That's what the NFL is about. Great players play great in big time situations, and I'm looking forward to that. I have a lot to do before I get there, and I just need to take one game at a time. We're working at it. You can never be afraid to excel. And I'm definitely not afraid of that. That's for sure."
What if we don't lose any more games this season? Well, if we don't lose any more games this season, we'll be leaving New Orleans with a Lombardi having beating the New England Patriots for the second time in 2012/13. If we don't lose any more games this season, I will have to begin every article, ever, with a quote, which may become a little irksome, not to mention pretentious. However, I'd swap a Super Bowl win for those tiny labels. After all, what's worse than being spoken about? Not being spoken about.
Before I mention Marshawn Lynch, this week, purely from a betting viewpoint, doesn't bode well. Seattle, as I think we're all well aware, are winless on the road in 2012 as a road favourite, going down in Arizona (which now looks scandalous), St. Louis and Miami, favoured each time by 2.5 points. Asking the Seahawks to cover a line of 5.5 with the 49ers and Rams fast approaching is a risky proposition. It's too easy to look back at fifty eight reasons why the Seahawks will cover with ease this week, but I'll be circumspect with the sterling and will actually be laying money on Buffalo, despite them not necessarily being the ‘home' team.
I mention our upcoming (real) home games against division foes as it's a factor so often overlooked by the betting public. I've had my fingers burnt more times than I can count on my fingers the amount of occasions I've laid down the hard earned on the ‘Aaron Curry' bet (the ‘can't miss' bet for those of you who may have missed these ramblings earlier in the season) only for the devil on my right shoulder to whisper, "hey, brother, you had a look at the schedule? You fool."
That particular fool and his money were easily parted so, while NFL players are consummate (ahem) professionals, particularly those with the whiff of the playoffs in their nostrils, they suffer the same human frailties as us all and one of the most enjoyable aspects of betting, particularly against the spread, is knowing you've considered the intangible(s) in front of you, lumped on and claimed the monetary spoils.
If any of this hints at the Seahawks not being motivated for Toronto, then that's not what I'm implying. Of course they have been, are and will be. I'm just mindful, based upon experience, of Seattle having bigger fish to fry; great whites in front of a baying, adoring public. Music for the masses, the like of which the players may have one ear to or, more pertinently, one eye on.
Should this one have been played at Ralph Wilson Stadium, it's probable that the line would have been shaved to closer to 3.5, another reason I lean towards the Bills. The Rogers Centre, obviously, won't have the same feel to it, but that may actually suit Buffalo. The once-per-year paying customer is likely to be less vociferous than those growing increasingly tired of the not-so-potent union of ineptitude and inertia being demonstrated in Upstate New York.
It may suit Buffalo, but their record in Toronto ain't great. Before shutting out the Redskins last year, 23-0, they'd lost their previous three regular season games there, two of which featured Lynch. In two games at the Rogers Centre as a Buffalo Bill, he accumulated 91 yards on 19 carries and scored one touchdown, against the Jets.
Not that what I'm about to impart has any bearing whatsoever on events this weekend, but because I'm afforded the space to write so freely here, here's a curio for you: in Lynch's aforementioned outings in Toronto, he accumulated the same receiving stat against both the Dolphins in '08 and the Jets in '09, namely one reception for four yards. I'll have an eye on his receiving yards on Sunday. Make of this paragraph what you will.
Much has been attempted to be made of Lynch facing his old team and rightly so. He's in the midst of a career year in terms of rushing yards (1,266 and counting) and yards per attempt (4.9) on a team that's played its best football of the season over the past five-and-a-half quarters. The Seahawks are a hot ticket this weekend and Lynch just happens to be part of the ensemble headed east.
Lynch is known for doing what he does best either in between or outside of the tackles, but he revealed talents this week that had been hitherto unknown and he boasts (probably should be beasts) a repertoire that patently knows no bounds. Welcome to the world of Marshawn Terrell Lynch, master of the straight bat.
The sense of occasion hasn't been lost on Lynch and when asked for his thoughts on the reunion with the team that drafted him in 2007, he came back with, "I'm good, boss."
(Hmmm, probably should've used that instead of Russell Wilson's quote to begin matters).
"I'm good, boss." I haven't actually seen the question being asked, but the silence that followed his genius of a riposte must have been deafening. Louder probably than a herd of charging Buffalo.
Aside from my love for this language and Lynch's sublime use of it, the reason his reply resonates with me is it shows focus. Yes, I did relay a fear or two above about the team's mindset (something I've noted being repeated on Field Gulls), but Lynch refusing to wheel out words for no reason is a reason to be cheerful. He won't be rattled, something I seem to remember writing about someone else on the team, but, dammit, the name escapes me.
Walter Thurmond being ruled out with a hamstring injury is a concern, but with Richard Sherman blanketing Stevie Johnson, Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane are left to heed the "next man up" call. Both played some in the dissecting of the Cardinals last week so their respective feet are a little wet at least. Hobson's choice is sometimes never a bad thing in sports and Seattle dealing with exactly that this week may unearth a hidden gem.
We all know on here about the roster built by Pete Carroll and John Schneider and we're about to get a proper look at some more of it, in a proper game. Apologies, but last week, as amazing as it was with literally everything falling into place (on the eve of 12/12/12), ceased to constitute a proper game from midway through the second quarter. Look, I'm not complaining. I vowed beforehand to turn in for the night should the Seahawks be something like three touchdowns up with, say, five minutes to play, because the game was due to finish around 1 a.m. GMT and I'm due in my office chair at 7 a.m. the following morning (it's easy to catch up on Game Pass), but I watched every snap. How was I possibly going to miss a piece of history?
So, I'm not complaining, but I'll be glad to get back to a game beginning 0-0 this week with a playoff spot on the line. We all want the San Fran game to come rushing towards us, but there's small business to take care of first and it's a game that has these Limey juices bubbling over.
Regardless of the game being played away from Buffalo, we still have to take into account the Bills' form ATS at home as opposed to anything else. However, like I wrote earlier, the line likely would be around 3.5 were it played on not such a neutral territory.
On the only occasion Buffalo's been tagged the home underdog this season, +4 against the Patriots, they failed to cover so there's not much to go on at all. Comparing that to the Seahawks underwhelming as a road favourite, for those wishing to add some festive spice to what is already a tasty encounter, all I can add is pick your poison. Something's gotta give this week.
Bills coach Chan Gailey made me smile this week when he said that running back C. J. Spiller is now "the man" following Fred Jackson's injury. This will be the same Fred Jackson who's averaged 3.8 YPC on the season in comparison to Spiller's 6.6 YPC. The fact that Gailey was suddenly hit with this stunning realisation does, minutely, prove what many of us (arrogantly) believe, that sometimes the fans do know more than the coaches; nowhere is this percentage higher than in San Diego...or Philadelphia. No, San Diego.
Spiller is no more a latent talent, he's an outright outrageously talented talent and the 6.6 YPC is highlighted by something that Jacson made us aware of this week. Spiller's gained 15 or more yards on 44 percent of his touches this season, which is the scariest thing I've read all week. Seattle does rank 11th in the league defending the run, but as Jacson also points out, the Seahawks have struggled against the more elite backs they've faced and Spiller can rightly place himself among the upper echelon of running backs around the NFL. The feeling persists that he could have a huge day.
The prognosis on Sidney Rice is encouraging and he looks sure to start despite missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a bruised foot. The Seahawks, and Wilson, will need him against an above average Buffalo secondary.
Had I been offered an 8-5 record after defeat in Arizona on opening weekend with games to come against the Cowboys, Packers, Patriots and Bears, I would've bitten your hand off. This Sunday is huge and should we come through unscathed, makes next weekend...well, you can add your own adjective.
Please gamble responsibly.
In addition to contributing here, Rob runs his own blog, Rob's NFL Yard and contributes at The NFL Injury Report, so make sure you head over to those sites and check out more of his work. Follow @RobDaviesNFL on Twitter | Follow @FieldGulls on Twitter | LikeField Gulls on Facebook