At least George Clooney, famous Bengals fan, is happy after last Sunday. And that's all that matters.
I've joined this party way too late and thus don't need to add much to what's already been said/written/cried/hollered/agonised over since last Sunday, which must make you very happy indeed. Nearly as happy as George Clooney. And that's all that matters.
There was a comment made in response to Evan Hill's 'How will The Seahawks respond..?' post this week on Field Gulls that, while not being the most profound statement of the week (peace, man), didn't have to be as its simplicity spurred me to do the exact same thing, namely to watch all over again the first three quarters of last Sunday's game that got said commenter stoked. And they're right. Stoke, it does. Don't know why I'm suddenly writing like Yoda. Stop, it will.
For all of the handwringing rendered this week over which Seahawks team we see before us this season, I know which one I believe in. More senior Field Gullers than I have made this point already, but Seattle led 24-7 after three quarters in the back garden of a potential Super Bowl participant. After Cincinnati's opening drive had come and gone, the Seahawks nigh on murdered them; they certainly throttled them. Granted, the ensuing capitulation was remarkable, but you have to believe that that won't happen again this season. Well of course it bleedin' well won't.
Russell Wilson, after EVERY (not dissing) game, no matter the outcome, speaks of getting better, improving...this Sunday would be preferable as, apart from this week and in the aftermath of Super Bowl XLIX, when were you last this deflated after a loss? OK, the playoff loss in Atlanta and that's three years ago this January.
The championship mindset Wilson, er...champions, every week isn't far away, clearly, as witnessed for many, many minutes last week and, stating the obvious, we all know that, should Seattle win on Sunday, they'll be in exactly the same spot as this time last year and that season didn't turn out too badly, eh...? What...?
I know you would have read this anyway*, but it's worth rehashing from Kenny's '12 silver linings...' article as the stat is plain nuts. Cincinnati were 2-87 all time when losing by at least 17 points headed into the fourth quarter while the Seahawks were 73-0 all time when leading by 17 points or more headed into the fourth quarter. Now, as a betting man, that's territory where you know that even your house is safe to lay down. Trouble is, had I done so then I now wouldn't have a house to lay down in.
*If not, then you've avoided Field Gulls this week, which means defeat to Cincy really did hit you hard.
If I may, can I take you back to 2003? November 23, 2003, to be precise, all of which dovetails nicely if you have the time to bear with me.
Seattle's almost 73-2 now when leading by 17 points or more headed into the fourth quarter and the game in question is the last time I can remember the Seahawks blowing such a lead, but I may be wrong.
Seattle went to Baltimore and led 27-10 with 7:59 left in the third quarter as Josh Brown nailed a 46 yard field goal. That became 34-17 with 5:06 left in the third after Matt Hasselbeck connected with Darrell Jackson for 80 yards. The Ravens cut the gap to 34-24 before the Seahawks stretched the lead to 17 again (Hasselbeck, 5 yards to Bobby Engram) 44 seconds into the fourth quarter. Thereafter, the collapse was on and Seattle duly lost 44-41 in overtime. And all this after a scoreless first quarter. And then after the score was tied at 3 before the Seahawks took the lead with 23 seconds remaining in the first half.
If you think it's a little odd that all of this should happen on the road to teams from the AFC North, consider that Seattle again lost 27-24 in Cincinnati during that same 2003 season, only not in overtime. Brace yourselves for Baltimore. You can probably brace yourselves for Cleveland at home an' all.
You would be forgiven for looking at the line on this one and being a tad surprised. This is, after all, a Seahawks team that is 1-5-1 ATS in its last seven, being asked to give up a touchdown to a team that's 4-0, coming off their bye week. I put the bye week thing in there, but it can be viewed as good or bad. Luke Kuechly returns for Carolina so they're naturally going to be improved, right? Yeah, more than likely. Has Carolina lost some momentum since winning in Tampa two weeks ago? Yeah, more than likely. I doubt it. Who knows? You pays your money, you takes your choice.
If you wanna go and bite the hand off of the folks in Vegas, you go right ahead and do that. Join the queue though. Yes, the Seahawks were playing "championship mindset" football very recently, but don't put your hard earned anywhere near their untrustworthy behinds any time soon.
Researching for this post has been an exercise in trying to find somebody who feels that Carolina has a genuine chance at pulling off an upset. Would it be much of an upset though? Only really in terms of the spread as, in the RWE, the Seahawks simply shouldn't lose SU at home when favoured by a touchdown. That might change this week. Pretty much every talking head out there is on Seattle's side. Much like the Rams, the Panthers have developed a habit of playing the Seahawks hard and if I may be so bold as to say so on these pages, I thought that the fourteen point winning margin in the playoff victory last season flattered Seattle a mite.
The last time we could collectively sit back in awe while watching the Seahawks was in Arizona last year, during the 35-6 destruction of the Cardinals and, aside from home wins over the Rams and Bears since, each game has been a rollercoaster. I would normally argue along the lines of well, would you want it any other way? Yep, just sometimes.
I don't expect the ride to be any different this week either. I can't see how this game won't be decided until deep into the fourth quarter, which is just one reason why I love Carolina with the points. Another is Seattle ranking 30th in the NFL against opposing tight ends, per Football Outsiders. I suppose a clearer picture is painted over at ESPN Stats and Information, who declare that opposing quarterbacks have completed 81.3 percent of their passes to tight ends when facing the Seahawks this season, the worst mark of any defense in the league; Cam Newton will look to target Greg Olsen plenty and often on Sunday. Sure, the Seahawks know what's coming, but it's one thing knowing what to expect, it's quite another executing that game plan. Every team in the league has known for a long time that Seattle will look to run the ball heavily and they've been to back to back Super Bowls.
Just at the moment, the sight of K.J. Wright being (legally) draped all over Jimmy Graham, nullifying Drew Brees' preferred conduit when looking to throw, seems like a distant memory. Probably because it is.
A couple of shockers this week: Derrick Coleman. And there was Pete Carroll thinking that losing in Cincinnati would be the only thing that would baffle him this week. And Earl Thomas's "I didn't give us a chance [in Cincinnati] because I was playing a little timid, because I wasn't fully prepared" quote was brutal honesty. It does lend itself to the fact that, with the Seahawks coming off of an emotional loss and this week representing as ‘must win' a scenario as it is possible to have in Week 6, Seattle will simply will themselves not to lose. Yes, that looks ridiculous in writing, but they accomplished the very same thing against the Packers in the NFCCG. Regardless, I'm still all over the Panthers +7.
Ol' Walter Cherepinsky over at walterfootball.com hasn't had much to say for himself with regards the Seahawks recently. Bless him, he's only gone and done something about it this week. However, what he opines just proves that he spreads himself too thinly. Sure, he has to, this is his livelihood after all, but he's watching different Seahawks games than most of the rest of us.
Walt opens with Seattle's failure to score any more points from 24-7 last week, suggesting that ‘...perhaps what they [offense] did earlier in the game was a fluke...they had trouble moving the chains against the Lions and Bears...miserable defenses.'
Then comes, ‘Former NFL player analysts...will never mention this because they want someone to get paid, but Kam Chancellor has been abysmal since his return.' He is generous enough (gee, thanks) to cite Kam's game/season saving play against the Lions, but contends that ‘Chancellor has appeared to be completely out of shape.' I appreciate that it has been something of a strange season for a lot of teams, but what on earth is he talking about? You want more? Richard Sherman has been ‘shockingly mediocre'.
Walt then picks the Seahawks -7, opting for a 20-10 outcome. Didn't see that one coming. What he does give us is that Panthers head coach Ron Rivera is 0-4 ATS coming off a bye.
My apologies for dredging up somebody else's work, but I thought it may interest you.
Only once before in the RWE have you been able to back Seattle at home minus exactly a touchdown plus the extra point and that was against Green Bay in the NFCCG. However, because we can, let's take a look at Seattle as a 6.5 to 7.5 point home favourite since the beginning of the 2012 season, including the playoffs.
2013, Div. Play: (-7.5 vs. Saints) WON 23-15
2014, Week 6: (-7.5 vs. Cowboys) LOST 30-23
2014, Week 12: (-6.5 vs. Cardinals) WON 19-3
2014, NFCCG: (-7 vs. Packers) WON 28-22 (OT)
A 2-2 record ATS over what there is to look at, but it didn't happen once during the entire 2012 or 2013 regular season.
To oddsshark.com for a few trends:
Carolina is 5-1-1 ATS in its last 7 games
Carolina is 4-0-1 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
Carolina is 1-3-1 ATS in its last 5 games against Seattle
Seattle is 1-5-1 ATS in its last 7 games
Seattle is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games at home
Please gamble responsibly.