Being awake at 4:50 a.m. during the working week is strangely liberating. Being awake at 4:50 a.m. during the working week with adrenalin coursing through your veins is worrisome. You almost have to resign yourself to the day beginning right there, right then. It's what I had to accept this past Tuesday morning after the Seahawks were awarded the game against the Packers.
Being an NFL fan in London does sometimes mean having to subject the body to alarm calls more invasive than the norm, but never has it been more rewarding than for MNF last week. I'm not going to expound on what transpired on the final play against the Pack as the topic's been dissected ad nauseam. All I will say is that we were owed that call; Phil Luckett/Earnie Frantz and Bill Leavy saw to that in 1998 and 2006 respectively.
After a disappointing loss in Arizona in Week 1, a loss that actually looks less disappointing with each passing week, Seattle's come out and covered the spread the last two weeks, both times at home. Those two covers were as a home underdog, the Cardinals loss was a failure to cover as a road favourite, territory the Seahawks find themselves in again this week, favoured as they are by a field goal. In fact, they can be backed -2.5 while the Rams are available +3.
It may actually be wise to take any points available on the home team as this promises to be a low scoring affair and the over/under of 39 does look to be very good for a sell.
Sam Bradford had by far his worst performance of the season in Chicago last week and, naturally, won't be looking forward to seeing the ridiculously good Seattle defensive unit facing him as he lines up under center. He can expect untold amounts of pressure as the Seahawks will surely be all over left tackle Wayne Hunter. Hunter's replaced the injured Rodger Saffold in the lineup and on paper it looks to be a horrible matchup for the Rams.
Steven Jackson is questionable (groin), but is expected to play. However, should he not suit up, that line of -2.5 looks extremely skinny. Yes, backup Daryl Richardson is averaging 5.7 yards per carry thus far, but averaged only 4 YPC against a stout Chicago run defense last week. The Seahawks are giving up even less yards per game on the ground than the Bears so it does look to be all on Bradford and his favourite target, Danny Amendola, who's good for 25 catches for 296 yards so far; only one touchdown though.
Naturally, unless there's been a drastic change in philosophy since Green Bay, Seattle will look to pound the ball on the Rams and it's encouraging for the Seahawks that St. Louis ranks 22nd against the run, giving up 120.7 yards per game.
Russell Wilson takes charge of a passing offense that ranks dead last in the league, yet as I've written previously, this isn't making the natives restless. Wilson is a truly remarkable individual (as well as an athlete) who exudes a calmness almost not seen in a rookie quarterback and his TD-INT ratio of 4-1, while not eye catching, personifies his play. He isn't trying too hard, he listens intently to his coaches and, most importantly, he isn't prone to making glaring rookie mistakes. I want to add the word ‘yet' to that, but you just feel as though it doesn't need it.
Sure, he's being labelled in some quarters as a game manager, but what's wrong with that? He's a rookie surrounded by a punishing running game, superb veteran leadership and perhaps the greatest defense in Seahawks history. They may not be a Super Bowl team yet (there you go, time for the word), but that D will keep them in most contests throughout the season and from the bettor's perspective in me, it makes them good value almost every week, particularly as an underdog.
There's absolutely no reason not to think Seattle represents tremendous value this week although there are a couple of caveats. This is a road game for the Seahawks on a short week, not to mention that kickoff is 10 a.m. PT. When analysing the spread, that last point is easy to overlook, but one I never do now, having had my fingers burnt in the past. That said, San Francisco made a mockery of that last season when playing in the Eastern time zone; they were a covering machine on the other side of the country.
Another factor to consider is that Seattle's coming off an emotional win, almost one of the most emotional wins in franchise history considering it occurred on a Monday night. However, despite the small concerns I have, it's difficult to sway me on this one. The Seahawks should win by three. They should win by more. Put your money on the defense to aid us in collecting on Monday morning.
Please gamble responsibly.