This will be short. Short enough that you wouldn't draft this post until maybe the third round and even then, it would only be a pick made in Anger.
Work commitments allied to Christmas (festivities) has resulted in me not having the requisite amount of time to undertake the appropriate research required for this column, but that probably equates to less of my Limey rambling so look at it as Christmas come early.
I suppose I have to mention what happened last Sunday...no, you know what happened last Sunday, suffice to say that both Seattle and San Francisco covered the spread, a rare occurrence indeed, but if that's memorable enough through its incongruity, it goes hand in glove with one of the most memorable regular season weekends in living memory, if not of all time. For one week only, we had the irregular season.
The Seahawks were anywhere between 2.5 and 3 point underdogs last week, but, right up until kickoff, the Niners were still available -1.5 with a couple of online oddsmakers. Those brave enough to lay down the hard earned on a two point 49ers victory would have been heavily rewarded, but you won't find many of those to the pound. No, I wasn't one of them.
Seattle find themselves favoured by seven points this week and only once in the Russell Wilson era have they been favoured more heavily than that on the road. Kudos to those of you who know that that was in St. Louis earlier this season, when they were asked to overcome an 11 point spread. Yep, the Seahawks came nowhere near to covering, not the most encouraging portent, you might think. However, we can look back at the two most similar lines (on the road) to this one in the RWE (Russell Wilson era and I'm now going to use the acronym moving forward) and afford ourselves a smile. Here goes:
Week 15, 2012 Seahawks -5.5 at Bills (in Toronto) WON 50-17
Week 7, 2013 Seahawks -6.5 at Cardinals WON 34-22
It's one thing to ask a team to cover by a touchdown on the road, quite another to ask them to cover by more than a touchdown and a field goal, particularly when that team is the Rams, a team that seems to match up with the Seahawks tremendously well; Seattle's 0-3 ATS versus St. Louis in the RWE.
The last time the Seahawks played in MetLife Stadium saw them smash the spread into oblivion. Up against the soon to be Super Bowl champion with our current backup quarterback the starting quarterback that day, Seattle emerged the victor 36-25 as a 10 point underdog. The bye week that followed clearly brought any momentum garnered to a shuddering halt as Seattle then scored a mighty three points in Cleveland when business resumed. Go figure. I blame Joe Haden.
So, what to make of the Giants this season? Well, their 5-8 record matches their record ATS, for what it's worth. Yes, you'd like to think that the Seahawks shouldn't have much in the way of problems this week as they possess by far the more talented roster coupled with mountains of motivation, but beware the team with nothing to play for as an unfettered opponent is a dangerous animal. That said, any and every team should fear a Seattle outfit licking their wounds virtue of a defeat at the hands of the 49ers.
I knew we'd bloody well lose last week, but if there's one thing I took from it that gives me any comfort at all, it's the fact that, after all of the bluster spouted last season about the emergence of Colin Kaepernick, it's becoming increasingly obvious that he's barely fit to lace Russell Wilson's cleats.
By far the most polished, talented, attentive and resilient quarterback resides in Seattle and I'll repeat something I've written previously: I honestly don't believe that Kaepernick will ever win a game in Seattle. I don't think he possesses enough gumption. This isn't any attempt to wind any Niners fans up, just an honest, unbiased (believe it or not) opinion based on what I see.
So, I feared the worst last week and Monday wasn't a good day in the immediate aftermath. However, this week couldn't be more different. I'm expecting the Seahawks to make a statement, an Atlanta road game statement, if you will, as opposed to the New Orleans home game statement variety.
If this were being played at the CLink this week, the Giants wouldn't be able to live with Seattle, especially with last Sunday still in the rear view, but the blue half of the New York fan base will be expecting their team to play for pride and their players won't be stupid enough to let this be lost on them. The Giants will certainly play tough, but the talent surely isn't there to seriously trouble the Seahawks.
How is the Big Blue going to generate enough of a running game to prevent Seattle's front seven from pinning their ears back? Thank you to ESPN for this stat, but the Seahawks haven't allowed a tailback to score on the ground since Week 7.
Unsurprisingly, this is the most generous spread afforded the Giants at home this season and they were actually favoured in each of their last four games at MetLife, against the Vikings (-4...covered), Raiders (-7...didn't cover), Packers (-3.5...covered) and Cowboys (-2.5...didn't cover). On the two occasions where they've been the underdog at home this season, they've lost handsomely, to the Broncos and Eagles.
As I look to complete this early on Saturday morning, before a weekend of pre-Christmas family catch up before finally getting back home in time for kickoff at 18:00 GMT on Sunday, I notice a shift in the line, a shift that shows there's been money on New York as Seattle are now available -6.5 with a variety of oddsmakers, including bet365, (good ol') Paddy Power and Ladbrokes. There you go, the Seahawks win by a touchdown and we collect. It's a bet I like and like a lot.
I've not wheeled out Walt from walterfootball.com much of late. No particular reason as I always check out what he has to say for himself and he supplies us with an encouraging morsel this week. Feast your eyes upon the fact that Russell Wilson is 4-1 ATS after a loss as long as he's not favoured by -10 or more. The one failure to cover came against the Titans this season (-12.5) after the loss in Indianapolis.
Sadly, I need to wrap this up so my apologies for the abridged post this week. Normal service should be resumed next week.
Please gamble responsibly.
- 8 Advanced Things About Eli Manning
- Seahawks vs. Giants injury report: Percy Harvin, K.J. Wright, Brandon Browner all out
- Explosive Opponent Preview: The New York Football Giants
- NFL Picks, Week 15: Down with the Niners, down with the Steelers
- Seahawks Advanced Stats, Week 15: A loss? No matter. Can't stop, won't stop, duh-duh-duh-duh