This is just like being a teenager all over again. The Seahawks getting themselves on the wrong end of 71 point games against a division rival. I was raised watching Seattle lose games like they did last Sunday. The sole difference is that I can actually watch these disasters unfold nowadays, as opposed to waiting until the following Thursday to buy whatever magazine it was just to get a look at the Box Score...if you were lucky. Many was the Monday morning in my teens when I'd head off to school knowing Seattle had lost 41-30 or 47-24, having seen the outcome on Ceefax, a vessel that probably most of you will have no idea of; bless Ceefax and all who sailed in her.
Somebody can please tell me that the Seahawks never lost by any of those scores during the 1980s. Well, it sure as hell felt like it on autumnal mornings between 1984 and 1989 and that's how I like to remember this team in my formative years of following them. Twelve year old me still felt it as bad as I do now and that's with the added comfort of a Lombardi safely locked away in the trophy cabinet.
It's been nigh on torturous enduring the last two games, even the win in Dallas. Especially the win in Dallas. With regards last week, sometimes in sport you just have to admit to yourself that your beloved were beaten by the better team and the changing of the guard in the NFC West looks complete, at least for 2015. Arizona began last season 9-1 and are 7-2 now, but look stronger than last year to this untrained eye. However, Seattle's fall from grace could easily be mirrored by the 2016 Cardinals. The NFL is working its cyclical magic in the Pacific Northwest this season, an inevitability that only the New England Patriots seem to be able to perpetually stiff arm.
If Arizona gets past Carolina (lazy prognostication) and heads to Santa Clara in February, it'll be nigh on impossible not to wish for Larry Fitzgerald to finally say he's a Super Bowl champion after those sixty minutes. I don't reserve any real dislike for the Cardinals, which can't be said for the 49ers, no matter how small that makes me, and I suppose you can chuck Carson Palmer into the Super Bowl champion mix, too. Both players could look forward to the White House, both players could promptly retire and both players could then watch the NFC West revert back to normal service being resumed next season.
I did my absolute brains last week. Rarely do I bet big, but my account could afford the outlay last Sunday so I lumped large on Green Bay SU at home to Detroit. Aaron Rodgers was far from thrilled, you might say, after losing two on the bounce, the Packers could barely afford to lose any more ground to the Panthers (who also hold the tiebreaker) and, well, Detroit hadn't won in Green Bay for 24 years...or since 1991, whichever number you feel looks more damning. What the bloody hell in Heidi's name happened there? I was going to attempt to retrieve at least some of it by getting on the Bengals SU against the Texans on Monday night. Something stopped me. What is it? It's it, as Mike Patton would advise you.
I wrote last week that, should things go as hoped against Arizona, that this was a game where I'd advocate backing San Francisco as Seattle would be sorely tempted to look past this one to Pittsburgh next week. Down the swanny go such fancy ideas and if the Seahawks succumb to a Blaine Gabbert led offense on Sunday, then the season really does get kicked over a cliff. There's no way Gabbert leads the 49ers to a win this week. Is there? No. There. Isn't.
Reading plenty from the comments sections this week on Field Gulls, I can appreciate that many of you are either losing faith rapidly or have lost faith completely on the season and of course we all share the same frustration. However, come Monday morning, Seattle will sit at 5-5. Big deal, yeah? Well, in an attempt at some perspective, the Seahawks were 5-4 after nine weeks in 2012 with a rookie quarterback as green as grass (until those beautiful Chicago moments in Week 13), during a season that ended with Seattle finishing a gnat's whisker away from what would've been their first of three successive NFC Championship Game appearances.
I know it's infuriating and some may wanna tell me where to go, but the inescapable truth is that the Seahawks have led during the fourth quarter in every game this season. They are extremely competitive (apologies for the spoon feeding) and, should they somehow right this ship enough to creep into the playoffs, everybody knows that Seattle's the one team everybody else will want to avoid, at least on Wild Card weekend if nothing else. You get through that with momentum riding you along and you find yourself one hour away from Championship Gameville. Oh, yes, yes, yes, so easy to write, but this could still happen very easily (kinda). I wholeheartedly still believe in this team, for what that's worth to anybody.
Now, it was only one comment I read this week on FG (it may have been two), but, in the wringing of hands that came after the abomination of an offense that took the field for 97.66% of the first half last Sunday, somebody suggested that it was time for Thomas Rawls to be introduced into the passing game more on third downs (or a pass play on any down, I presume) as Marshawn Lynch doesn't have safe hands coming out of the backfield. Now, excuse me, and I'm sorry if I'm wide of the mark, but in what must have been a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, when exactly did Lynch suddenly develop elephants' feet for hands? I couldn't believe what I was reading.
Last week's loss was beyond frustrating. Again. AGAIN. However, Lynch is pretty much blameless amidst the carnage taking place around him...words I never imagined myself typing, in any context.
Despite Seattle now not looking past this one, do I advocate backing them? No. They can be had -11.5 at BetBright, but you can pick up San Francisco +13 at Stan James and Ladbrokes. Will the Seahawks be motivated? Should be. They're in dire straits and it's a division game against the Niners. Simple enough. However, dating back to the NFCCG and Super Bowl XLIX, Seattle's 2-8-1 ATS in their last eleven games. If you feel that's deserving of your hard earned, you go knock yourself out.
It could, and probably should, be noted that Seattle positively destroyed San Francisco in their own back yard (SU and ATS) but just four short weeks ago so what's not to like this week ATS? I'm not the only person to be writing it this week and it looks beyond ludicrous to read, but Blaine Gabbert looked good (not great at all, though) against the Falcons two weeks ago and even appeared to be a leader of men. In fact, it was that that most impressed me. He was only 15-25-185 with two TDs and two picks, but I actually watched the game (I was on the Falcons...thank you, Mr. Lathrop. Only joking, chap) and just knew that Gabbert wouldn't be able to lead the offense for four quarters. Turns out I know nothing.
Yes, I wrote up top that Seattle won't lose to Gabbert this week. Of course they won't, but this column isn't written in the SU sense. I'm loving me some San Fran +13 this week.
Colin Kaepernick looks shot to pieces and Gabbert will probably need to have a monumental meltdown in order for Kaepernick to start another game this season.
To meander for a second, Dave Dameshek called Kaepernick's touchdown throw over Earl Thomas in the NFCCG one of the top ten plays in NFL history, no less, and it was a thing of beauty. Now, he can't beat out Blaine Gabbert. Why do I bet on football when it really is about the craziest sport in town?
Due to me being away on Friday evening and all day Saturday, I'm fighting against time on Thursday night to get this done so you're nearly done fellas, but thanks for getting this far. Let's peruse over Seattle's fortunes when favoured by double digits at home in the RWE, including the playoffs:
2012, Week 14: (-10 vs. Cardinals) WON 58-0
2012, Week 17: (-10.5 vs. Rams) WON 20-13
2013, Week 3: (-18.5 vs. Jaguars) WON 45-17
2013, Week 6: (-12.5 vs. Titans) WON 20-13
2013, Week 9: (-14.5 vs. Buccaneers) WON 27-24 (OT)
2013, Week 11: (-11.5 vs. Vikings) WON 41-20
2013, Week 16: (-10 vs. Cardinals) LOST 17-10
2013, Week 17: (-10.5 vs. Rams) WON 27-9
2014, Week 9: (-15 vs. Raiders) WON 30-24
2014, Week 17: (-11.5 vs. Rams) WON 20-6
2014, Div. Play: (-10.5 vs. Panthers) WON 31-17
2015, Week 3: (-14 vs. Bears) WON 26-0
So, a 7-5 record ATS to be immensely proud of there. Two things stand out to me. Firstly, Seattle's covered the spread in the last three of those games. Secondly, against teams that were truly dreadful, Seattle's gone 1-3 ATS and I refer to the Jaguars, Titans, Buccaneers and Raiders. You may wish to include the 58-0 Cardinals for sh!ts and giggles, but I haven't. The Bears are in there too, but they were decimated by injuries and it wasn't a fair contest, if we're honest with ourselves, something we all acknowledged before the game had even begun.
Courtesy of oddshark.com, here's a few trends to consider:
San Francisco is 4-11 ATS in its last 15 games
San Francisco is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
San Francisco is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games against Seattle
San Francisco is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games in Seattle
Did I really say not to back Seattle ATS earlier? I did warn you...turns out I know nothing.
I need to be serious for a second. It's been the oddest, cruelest week in a city not a million miles from here and I had no idea of Mr. Fraley's connection to Paris until after events last Friday. It never ceases to amaze me what you learn from the domino effect of a happening. People are visibly more vigilant in London, naturally, and it won't go away anytime soon, unfortunately. What has been a joy, and a wonderful distraction, more than ever, is visiting Field Gulls this week, even in defeat to a powerful division rival.
Thank you for being the passionate, sophisticated football minds you are. You're an ongoing education. There's nobody like you.
Please gamble responsibly.