"Russell Wilson is better than [Andrew] Luck. No question." Yeah, I mentioned that in last week's post, Broncos cornerback Chris Harris's assessment of Wilson after Week 3.
"We got beat by, as far as I'm concerned this weekend, the best player in the NFL." Washington safety Ryan Clark's assessment of Wilson after Week 5.
"That might be the greatest play I've seen Russell Wilson make and that's saying something." Jon Gruden on Monday night after Wilson had magically flipped the ball to Marshawn Lynch on 3rd & 4 with precisely 2:28 on the clock as the ball left his hand.
"He [Wilson] reminds me, if you wanna go back a generation, he reminds me of Joe Montana right now." Tony Dungy on PFT on NBCSN this week.
Blimey, it looks like people are finally catching up with the rest of us. Hang on, maybe not.
‘It's so funny. When Eli Manning destroys the Redskins defense, it's the bad defense. When Wilson scores 24, the media makes him a legend.' CBS's Pete Prisco on Twitter after Russ hit Lynch to put Seattle up by two touchdowns in Washington.
You'd be right to let me know that that's about the laziest way to reach 186 words to begin a post. However, if I may please look past the criticism, how does Prisco simply not get it? Maybe he does, but doesn't dare admit it to himself. Aw, to each his own, I guess.
Russ is elite, Russ isn't elite. This will rage on laboriously for God knows how long, particularly if (breaking hearts all over Seattle) Wilson doesn't help lead the Seahawks to any more Lombardi trophies throughout the rest of his career. He may very well finish up with the same amount of rings as each of Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, but will likely never be classed as ‘elite' as either one of them due to him simply not throwing as many *elite yards in as many **elite games...even though he could end up playing in more of those ‘elite' games than at least Brees and Rodgers will or ever did.
*Blah **Blah, blah
Subjectively, Russell Wilson is elite, at least to all of us who hold the Seahawks dear and that's all that matters. He already is the greatest quarterback in franchise history with much to do to surpass Steve Largent as the greatest Seahawk of them all. Don't put it past him.
As to the here and now, Gruden's quip was...elite.
It's Thursday evening and we're hit with Danny's ‘Would Seahawks head back to the AFC West?' Quite the headline and of course I voted...Disappointed (for what it's worth), which, at the time of writing, has garnered 66% of the vote (22% Indifferent, 12% Excited). The gist of the back and forth in the comments is that the Broncos and Raiders were our two biggest rivals in the old AFC West. Fair point and if only because, should I ever cast my mind back to the mid to late 80's and the 15 to 16 year old me, the first football image conjured is of the Seahawks in their white jerseys playing at Mile High Stadium.
I'll always champion nostalgia, but don't really want to see Seattle back in the AFC West. Part of it is belligerence; we've already accommodated the NFL by moving lock, stock and barrel in 2002 at their behest. The move after the '76 season was irrelevant as you have no clout after just one season, but the rivalry we've built with San Francisco is special. Yes, it's fueled by the Carroll/Harbaugh history and, as was pointed out in the comments, they were nothing like our nemesis when we first moved across as the Rams were far stronger for a few years. However, the 49er rivalry is the one I'd always wished would happen. Why?
When this sport first captivated me, I was being raised in a Miami Dolphin household and all I knew after Super Bowl XIX was that you had to hate the San Francisco 49ers. So I did. And I still do. Only now it does feel personal and I wouldn't want it any other way. As is the way in the NFL, teams rise and fall and what if the Niners hit the skids for a few years while the Seahawks continue to flourish? Would that somehow dim the rivalry? I don't think so. Whatever the Cardinals and Rams may threaten to achieve, nothing's more satisfying, at least to me, than seeing San Francisco kept in their box.
For all of the talk about the Dallas Cowboys bringing their stonking run game to Seattle, the Seahawks are able to take that back to them, and in spades. Lynch doesn't even rank in the top 10 in terms of actual rushing yards yet Seattle sits atop the pile, averaging 167.3 rushing YPG. Dallas will be suffering their own headaches at attempting to keep a lid on Lynch's 4.4 YPA with a run defense that ranks 31st in the league in terms of rushing YPA against them (5.2). You can also chuck in that whenever Percy Harvin's been handed the ball behind the line of scrimmage this season, he's run for an average of 11.6 yards each time. And I don't even need to begin with Wilson.
All I will say with regards DeMarco Murray and the season he's had so far is that I hope Kam Chancellor's status improves sufficiently enough from questionable as of Friday afternoon as he's not a bad chap to have around in run support.
The last time these two teams met coincided with the occasion marking Wilson's regular season home debut as a Seahawk and if it need be made any clearer the direction the respective teams have taken since then, Dallas began that game as 3 point favourites. This Sunday, they're 9.5 point underdogs. The week prior to that, they'd dispatched the world champion New York Giants in their own back yard as 4 point underdogs. They entered the CLink a tad untouchable as only the Dallas Cowboys can. The outcome wasn't even close.
That 9.5 point line on Dallas looks spot on, which makes the availability of Seattle -7.5 at Boylesports look very, very juicy indeed and is where my money goes. However, the ride your money takes may be bumpy as the Seahawks are only 5-4 ATS when favoured at home by more than seven points in the RWE, including the playoffs, and amongst those 4 reversals were utter gambling disasters against Tennessee (-12.5), Tampa Bay (-14.5) and Arizona (-10) last season.
The Cowboys' schedule bears some looking at and I wonder whether it may have an impact on how they approach the Seahawks. They're coming off an emotional overtime win over the state rival Texans last week and, after Seattle, they play what amounts to four home games in a row, two of which are against division rivals. They entertain the blue half of New York next week before a home date with Washington on MNF the following week. Arizona visit next and then the Cowboys come to London to face the Jaguars. It'll be like a home game for them despite Jacksonville being the designated home team.
Much to the chagrin of the NFL, the Jaguars have no fan base or sense of presence whatsoever over here, although the league must be applauded for its ‘Union Jax' initiative. Dallas, however, has a solid fan base dating back to the 1980s when the game first exploded on these shores. The build up to the game will centre around the links forged between London and Jacksonville and dangled in front of us is the promise of an NFL franchise in our capital. I'm indifferent to the idea as I'm never going to change my allegiance and neither, I suspect, will the thousands of die hard fans that already exist in the UK...yes, we are real. And a lot of them support the Dallas Cowboys.
The NFL could hardly have picked a more inappropriate game than Dallas at Jacksonville as at least four fifths of Wembley won't want the ‘home' team Jaguars to win. So, the Cowboys have a lot to look forward to after Seattle. Let's just hope they realise it. Then again, as it stands right now, they're playing for home field advantage throughout the playoffs so I'm probably spouting utter nonsense.
Please gamble responsibly.