Tomato Can Alley

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

"I’m going to take my time with it, but when it’s time to explode, I will." ~P. Harvin

We have officially reached heady times in Seattle. What looked like a difficult schedule at the beginning of the season has quickly morphed into the league's remaining easiest schedule. Every season has it's share of surprises, and one of the biggest overriding themes of this year is unexpected suckitude all around the league. Teams like the Falcons, Giants, Rams, Vikings, Redskins, and Buccaneers were all supposed to have floors of at least mediocre. They, along with the Jaguars have turned the season into the easiest year for survivor pools in history, with a projected 42 million way tie for first place at year's end.

A quick inventory of where Seattle stands at the moment and it's understandable as to why the city's fans appear ready to burst from anticipation overload. By a combination of a Thursday night game against hapless Arizona and a Monday night game in St. Louis 11 days later the team has been effectively dealt a de facto extra bye week in which Micheal Robinson returned to the team, and some guy you may have heard of named Percy Harvin started practicing. The team needed neither to finish the most difficult, road heavy stretch of the season 6-1, ranked #2 overall in DVOA (#1 defense / #12 offense / #10 special teams). They now enter a phase of the season which can only be described as favorable, but only if the word favorable carries the power of a million suns.

The only real cause for concern to date has been the offensive line, but even that gives way to optimism. The injured tackles are scheduled to return before year end and the on deck opponents' defenses get softer. To date Seattle has faced the 3rd (Carolina), 5th (Arizona), 11th (Indy), 12th (SF), 13th (Houston), and 15th (Tennessee) ranked defenses (all rankings DVOA). Over the next month they'll face the 30th, 27th, 25th, and 9th ranked defenses. The 9th ranked defense belongs to a team that has packed it in, but more on that later. The O line's performance should improve merely based on the degree of difficulty dropping off a cliff. By the time Breno and Okung are back from injury the line should have found something resembling a stride. Micheal Bowie might even look like a starter by then.

Just as Denver and Kansas City have had the scheduling god's good fortune shined upon them for the first half of the season, the script now flips to the Seahawks favor, who are suddenly poised for a repeat of last season's 170-43 point 4 game romp to finish out the year. The next 4 games feature match ups that overwhelmingly favor Seattle, and the Seahawks shouldn't face anything resembling a test until weeks 13 & 14 for what look like games that will decide the #1, 2, and 5th seeds. So let's examine the match ups on tap for the next month.

Went down to Tomato Can Alley, see what was going on

Monday night football, you're supposed to be better than this. It would be an understatement to call the Rams season to date a disappointment, yet this game has grown into the perfect storm of bad luck that could make their previous losses seem like pleasant weekend jaunts.

Seattle was going to be favored regardless going into this game, and then Sam Bradford tore his acl and was lost for the season, and then the World Series was tied up guaranteeing a meaningful game being played at the same time across town, and then a bunch of Seattle fans jumped on the opportunity to buy tickets on stub hub starting in the $8 range as the home town fans decided to take anything they can get in return for a game they've written off.

Kellen Clemens is getting the start under center against the league's best defense and somewhere Bernie Kosar is surely amused but probably not watching. Monday night is all about football in Seattle this week, where the actual game is going to be played in St. Louis, it's all about baseball. I'm expecting a very Seattle friendly crowd, and a very bad Rams team.

The tale of the tape: Rams are ranked 26th overall in DVOA, 27th on defense, and had the 22nd ranked offense with Bradford. Nobody expects this game to be close, nor should they.

I heard a rookie QB scream, yeah and I peeped through the door

Over the course of the last season and a half the Seahawks are not only undefeated at the Clink, but they have been resoundingly dominant. Only two quarterbacks were able to make it a competitive game for their team: Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. That list isn't going to be getting any longer in week 9.

Mike Glennon will be leading the currently 0-7 Bucs into what may or may not be Greg Schiano's last game as head coach. The last time Seattle played a team at home that had visibly quit on it's coach it turned into a 58-0 curb stomping of the Cardinals. The Bucs best offensive player RB Doug Martin is out for the game, and I expect the Seattle defense to outscore the Buccaneer's offense, and by a lot. The biggest question about this game is do the Hawks brass have the visitor's locker room scrubbed after the game.

Tale of the tape: Bucs are ranked 24th overall, 31st on offense and 9th on defense, but don't be scared by the 9th ranking. They have packed it in on the coaching staff & Percy Harvin makes his home debut. Hawks cover the spread, no matter what it is.


if you don't follow @SBNationGIF, you should

The L.O.B. was workin' on Matty with a, lord with a two-by-four

This game looked like one of the marquee match ups when the schedule came out, before age and injury KO'd the Falcons. The Falcons are sitting at 2-4 and will probably be 3-5 going into the game, but they really lack the weapons and explosiveness they had last year and have declined steeply on defense. Yet, out of the four game stretch, this one has the lowest probability of being a blowout.

Julio Jones is out for the season, Roddy White has been hobbled by a bad ankle and actually missed games for the first time in his career. They brought in Steven Jackson to shore up the running game, but the Seahawks are Jackson's kryptonite, in 17 tries he's never broken 100 yards or had a multiple TD game. He is the classic 'player x goes to a contender in his final years', but he was the wrong back to bring in to beat Seattle. He's also only played in 2 games so far, because of injury. Defensive end Jonathan Abraham looked good in week 7, but for the Cardinals, and there isn't much of anything else to say about their pass rush.

The key stat for this game is 3-0. That's Russell Wilson's record in revenge games so far, and this is a big revenge game for Seattle. The scores for those games: 58-0, 42-13, and a 20-13 meaningless week 17 game that was for pride/revenge only.

Tale of the tape: Falcons rank 15th overall, checking in with the 4th ranked offense and the 30th ranked defense. The offense earned that #4 ranking before Harry Douglas was their #1 receiver, but Ryan still has Gonzo and they are still a threat to score, they unfortunately can't stop teams from scoring even more.

I heard a pistol shoot, yeah and it was #24


"I have made a terrible mistake"

Week 11 was the original date I had circled on my calender hoping Harvin would return by, I figured he had done the same since he'd be highly motivated to play in this game. Turns out he's returning even earlier, but the motivation for this game remains.

This is a rematch from last year in which the Hawks won 30-20, also played in Seattle. The key differences are Harvin now wears blue instead of purple, the Seahawks are improved on the defensive line, and the Vikings are in shambles. Leslie Frazier and the coaching staff along with front office are more or less dead men walking, the QB position is a 3 headed clown show, and Jared Allen is a year closer to retirement. He still might be a better option at QB.


Tale of the tape: the Vikings are easily the most balanced team we'll play in November, ranking 27th overall, 26th on offense, and 25th on defense. Bad in all phases, basically. The game should be a good opportunity to scout future probable Seattle Seahawk receiver Cordarrelle Patterson though.

I saw Big Red standing, with his hand on his gun. He said "this is a stand, boy, nobody runs"

Hey hey hey hey, Alley's the nicest place I've ever been.

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