I don't know where to start. I've toyed with a bunch of opening salvos for this piece and decided to just begin with the truth. I really don't know where to start.
This is a truly fascinating line to look at for what will be arguably the least eagerly anticipated contest of the season across the league. I can't apologise for that fact, but for any neutrals out there, this is the one to avoid. Imagine the prospect of watching Jacksonville in Denver this week. Now, I wonder how dusty it is behind the fridge...time to pull it out and get to work on it, I think. You never know, I might even find a mouse.
I wrote last week that, looking beyond the gargantuan matchup that is the 49ers coming to town, how I was already all over the Jaguars this week +14.5, based purely on the fact that the visit of Jacksonville represents a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor's show'. If I may switch sports for a second, it's precisely what happened to Andy Murray at the US Open recently.
Excuse me for being presumptuous, but I'll be so bold as to suggest that most of you won't know what it's been like watching Murray attempt to become the first Brit to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. The pressure on him on these shores has been remarkable and if he'd never have managed to emulate Perry, only winning majors overseas, then it wouldn't have been that shocking.
Murray polarises opinion over here, primarily because of his on-court demeanour and/or histrionics, but I'm a fan, always have been. *Winning Wimbledon was what he craved the most and whatever came immediately thereafter well, he didn't have a prayer of winning. And he didn't. He'd savoured the sweetest, most magical moment of his career (life?) and coming down from that would take longer than the weeks between Wimbledon and the US Open. Without comparing Seattle's win over San Francisco to one man causing an entire sporting nation to finally exhale, the Lord Mayor has come and gone, it's now time to get over it. However, is one week long enough?
*As a gambler, I'm heroically superstitious and numerology plays a bigger part in my life that I'd care for it to, but it's inescapable and is a bedfellow I've grown to tolerate. Murray finally laid to rest the ghosts of British tennis past when winning Wimbledon 77 years after Perry last did, on 7/7. Nice. I can't get enough of that kinda malarkey.
It's beyond folly to look beyond any game in the NFL, but maybe, just maybe, the Seahawks are able to venture into such territory this week and they could certainly be excused for such an approach...as long as they dare not lose. That said, if the unthinkable did happen on Sunday, that puts the lid on any possible complacency for the rest of the season. It won't happen though and the only question is whether Seattle can win by three touchdowns in order to cover the spread. That they can is beyond doubt. Whether they have the will is up for debate and is why I wouldn't dissuade anybody from lumping on the Jags this week.
So, I was already all over Jacksonville +14.5 before last Sunday, was I? I should've waited, trusting the Seahawks to do their homefield advantage number on Kaep an' co...again. I can't shake the thought that, even before our bicep kissing little puppy is barely two steps into his NFL career, whether the 12th Man has already stolen a march on his psyche and has him going cold at the prospect of walking out on to the turf at the CLink.
Bang went that two touchdown handicap by Monday morning, replaced as it was by a three touchdown handicap. The line has come in a mite since then and Seattle's available -18.5 with both William Hill and our partners at Oddsshark; the highest line I can currently see on Jacksonville is +19.5.
These two teams are inextricably linked, tenuous as it undoubtedly is, and the rivalry, for wont of a better word, resonates with me on a slightly more personal level on this side of the pond. Allow me to explain. Oi, I saw that. No scrolling down.
The Jaguars, as I'm sure you're fully aware, are playing one ‘home' game at Wembley Stadium over the course of the next four seasons, beginning this year. The idea is to generate some semblance of a fan base over here before the possibility arises of them relocating to London. This idea went crazy when first mooted and I admit to being caught up somewhat in the traffic. However, the more I read about, and hear from, what emanates out of Jacksonville, the less I believe this to be likely. First of all, any true fans of a London Jaguars team would have to come from the very bottom. I'm in my forties and all of the guys my age or thereabouts hold too much love for their current NFL team to leave them standing at the altar just because they can go watch a team up the road, NFL calibre or not.
Logistically, it's difficult to make sense of the move and I've shifted from genuine interest to a state of being nonplussed by the whole affair.
Super Bowl XL was the nadir when following the Seahawks and while Week 1 of that season pales into insignificance when compared to the hollowest of all Monday mornings that was February 6, 2006, it's maybe easy to forget that the 2005 season began with a 26-14 defeat in Jacksonville. Admittedly, this hardly constitutes a bond between the two franchises. It's just something I've always remembered.
You've probably waited a little too long for me to reach the salient point of my observations here, but I can't write about the Seahawks and Jaguars without mentioning the 2012 NFL Draft. You know what's coming next, but I'll carry on regardless.
The fact that Russell Wilson did what he did, does what he does and is who he is only highlights even more brightly the buffoonery that must have been going down in Jacksonville's war room during round three of the draft on April 27 last year.
You know when you think sometimes that you might just know a little bit more than the guys actually running your team? It's because it's true. Sometimes, we do, we just do. What were the odds of (punter) Bryan Anger being available in round five? Pretty darn good, but correct me if I'm wrong here. Here was a team with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback.
Damn it, it's just come to me. I know why Anger was the better prospect than Wilson. Wilson's too short to play quarterback in the NFL. He'll never make it. You think he'll make it? More fool you, son, more fool you.
Blimey, the Jaguars front office must have cringed each and every time RW showed up on highlight reels last season, praying that each and every time was a one off...until those one offs became so plural that resignation letters should have been handed in without the ink even being dry.
It's time to wheel out Walt again. I may make this a regular thing, depending on what his thoughts are. Walt is the irrepressible Walter Cherepinsky of walterfootball.com and I mentioned him last week because he strung together a couple of pearlers when speaking about the 49ers' visit to Seattle. Here's the highlight: ‘Seahawk fans will be trying to break the crowd noise record at a professional sports game, and they just might be able to accomplish that. The 49ers won't know what hit them.'
The 49ers won't know what hit them. Hardly a truer word written on any game on any weekend.
This week, he unwittingly offers up a challenge to Seattle's D: ‘The Seahawks have a defense that is infinitely superior to Oakland's, so Jacksonville may not achieve a first down in this entire contest - especially if Maurice Jones-Drew is limited. Jones-Drew did not practice Wednesday because of a foot injury.'
I trust you were stunned to read he opines that the Jaguars may not achieve a single first down this week. Of course I'll be watching.
Courtesy of oddsshark, below is a couple of trends to consider when betting on this one, although it does need to be remembered that this isn't any ordinary line. With a nod to heraldnet.com, the 1992 Buffalo Bills were the last team to be favoured by 20 points during the first three weeks of an NFL season. You may be curious as to whether they covered that day against the Colts. They won 38-0.
This is also just the eleventh time since 1978 that a team has been favoured by 20 or more points in a game, a stat gleaned from Las Vegas based pregame.com. Here's those trends from oddsshark:
Seattle is 8-1 ATS in its last 9 games and 11-1 ATS in its last 12 games at home
Jacksonville is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games and 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
Head to head, Seattle is 4-2 against Jacksonville in their last six meetings
I favoured Jacksonville this week last week (it might look good, but is terrible English) and still do, despite the trends and despite Pete Carroll saying that his team isn't in any danger of a letdown after last Sunday.
The Seahawks won't lose and they will be 3-0 heading into Week 4 against Houston, but it's Houston that is the problem. On the road against the Texans is a pretty mighty affair next to this one and I'm not trusting Seattle not to take their foot off the gas when the inevitable three touchdown lead comes around. If a lead of that size doesn't happen at some point before the fourth quarter, then the Seahawks may well cover and win by nineteen playing at near enough top speed in the final fifteen minutes, but I always like to shy away from a heavy home favourite. And I particularly like to shy away from a heavy home favourite when the following week is a potential Super Bowl preview.
Please gamble responsibly.
More from Field Gulls:
- Something terrible is afoot: A look at Russell Okung's sprain and his immediate future
- Seahawks vs. Jaguars game preview: Know your enemy, via Big Cat Country
- Seahawks defensive analysis: Explaining the lack of sack production
- The risk of just hitting the QB on the read-option
- Seahawks advanced stats for Week 2: Heralding the unheralded K.J. Wright