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12 Thoughts about Week 8 ending with the Seahawks alone in first place

A collection of FTR thoughts that weren’t turned into their own articles ...

The Seattle Seahawks won a big game on Sunday and then made a big trade on Monday.

Yeah . . . I have some thoughts.

Let’s jump right in.

Thought No. 1

In the Week 8 NFL Picks piece, I predicted that the Seahawks would win on Sunday, and that each of our NFC West rivals would lose.

More specifically:

Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys to win and cover, Over 45.5 - CHECK, CHECK, CHECK.

Cleveland Browns at Seattle Seahawks: Seahawks to win and cover, Over 37.5 - CHECK, CHECK, CHECK.

Baltimore Ravens at Arizona Cardinals: Ravens to win and (barely) cover, Over 44.5 - CHECK, GRR*, CHECK.

Cincinnati Bengals at San Francisco 49ers: The Bengals upset the Niners and win outright, Over 43.5 - CHECK, CHECK, CHECK.

Note: The Ravens were favored by 8 and led by 10 late (which would have given me a perfect record on my NFC West predictions), but the Cardinals kicked a field goal with 26 seconds left (and then failed to recover the onside kick which made the field goal pointless - except from a betting perspective).

I closed the Sunday Picks piece by saying:

Assuming I’m right on each of these picks, the NFC West standings will look like this come Sunday night:

1. Seattle, 5-2

2. San Francisco, 5-3

3. Los Angeles, 3-5

4. Arizona, 1-7

Man, would that be nice!

Go Hawks!

Sunday was, indeed, very, very, VERY nice.

Admittedly, the Seahawks game was somewhat hard to watch from the end of the first quarter until darn near the end of the game, but it ended well and that’s what really matters - at least according to Pete Carroll.

As an added bonus . . .

Regardless of what happens in Baltimore on Sunday, Seattle will still be in first place a week from now (since Santa Clara is on their bye).

That said, a win against the Ravens would put the Seahawks a full game up in the NFC West with nine games to play.

Man, would that be nice!

Note: Just to complete this victory lap, I also went 3-for-3 on my Week 8 Thursday Night picks and Monday Night picks.

Thought No. 2

As ugly as Seattle’s game was for about 60% of the game, there was another game that was exponentially worse . . .

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the New York Jets “at” the New York Giants.

Let’s start with the Jets . . .

  • NYJ averaged 2.6 yards on the ground (22 carries for 58 yards), but that’s skewed by Zach Wilson being the leading rusher (4 for 25, long of 17) . . . the Jets’ “top” running back, Breece Hall, had 12 carries for 17 yards (1.4 average).
  • Zach Wilson only completed 47.2% of his passes (17 of 36).
  • Wilson had 240 yards passing (gross) but was sacked 4 times for minus-47 yards which put his net passing yards at 193.
  • Wilson lost 2 fumbles, including one on their first possession.
  • The Jets were 2 of 15 (13.3%) on 3rd down.

And here’s the real doozy . . .

The Jets didn’t convert a third down opportunity until the 4th quarter.


Now, the Giants:

  • NYG was even worse than NYJ on third down (2 of 19, 10.5%).
  • They used 2 quarterbacks, neither of them named Daniel Jones and ended the game with minus-9 yards passing (after sacks were subtracted).

Note: Lest you think that the Giants lost a ton of yards on sacks like the Jets did, they didn’t - Tyrod Taylor and Tommy DeVito lost a total of 16 yards on 4 sacks)

  • The Giants clearly didn’t trust either QB and handed the ball off on 3 out of every 4 plays (52 of 70, 74.3%).
  • With 1:26 to play, ESPN showed the Giants with a 98% win probability . . . and they lost.


Combined ugliness:

Between them. the Jets and Giants punted 24 times, which matches the number of first downs they had in the game (12 each), and exceeds the number of points they put on the scoreboard (20 in regulation + 3 in overtime).

The Jets and Giants combined for over 1,000 yards punting (529 for the Jets + 549 for the Giants) which was more than double the yards their offenses mustered (251 for the Jets + 194 for the Giants)

Thought No. 3

Speaking of the Giants . . .

Welcome to Seattle, Leonard Williams!

Rather than rehashing what’s already been written in any number of places about the draft compensation and/or whether or not Williams is a half-season “rental”, I’m going to focus on the financial imbalance of the trade.

Ignoring the cap charges the Giants incurred - which were $30,936,389 in 2023, plus an additional $10,636,389 in 2024 (per OTC), the cash outlay for the Giants this year to have Leonard Williams play 8 games for them was . . .


That’s an average of $2,169,097.25 per game.

Or, if it were written on a check: Two million, one hundred sixty-nine thousand, ninety-seven dollars and 25 cents.

Seattle is paying him a grand total of $647,222 for the rest of the season - and, since Seattle has 10 games left, that averages out to a mere $64,722.20 per game.

Putting that another way, the Giants paid Williams roughly 33-1/2 times more per game this season than the Seahawks will.

That. Is. Insane.

Fun Fact: Because of the timing of the trade, Leonard Williams will end up playing one “extra” regular season game this year: 8 for New York + 10 for Seattle = 18 games.

(New York’s bye is Week 13.)

Thought No. 4

Raise your hand if you thought Will Levis would have the best debut of any of the quarterbacks selected in this year’s draft.

Yeah, me neither.

And yet, that’s exactly what happened on Sunday.

Here’s his stat line from Week 8: 19 of 29 for 238 (226 net after sacks are subtracted) with 4 touchdown passes, a QBR of 60.7, and a quarterback rating of 130.5.

Now, let’s break that down a little bit . . .

Before Sunday, only 2 quarterbacks had thrown 4 or more touchdown passes in their first game: Marcus Mariota (2015) and Fran Tarkenton (1961).

Add Will Levis to that list.


This next part is even wilder . . .

Heading into Sunday’s game, Tennessee hadn’t had a touchdown pass of more than 30 yards in their previous 42 games.

Here are the touchdowns passes Mr. Levis threw last Sunday:

  • Touchdown No. 1: 47 yards
  • Touchdown No. 2: 16 yards
  • Touchdown No. 3: 61 yards
  • Touchdown No. 4: 33 yards

You’ll notice, courtesy of the super-subtle bolding, that three of the four touchdowns were over 30 yards.

Personally, I’m not anointing him as the next great quarterback quite yet - - that will have to wait at least one more week because, although his touchdowns were impressive, Levis was 15 of 25 for only 81 yards (69 net) on passes that didn’t end up in the end zone.

Still, it is definitely the best start of any rookie quarterback this year.

Or most years.

Thought No. 5

In the last 12 Thoughts article, I broke the league into “win tiers.” This time around, I’m going to break the teams into “loss tiers”.

Teams with 1 loss: 1 - - the Philadelphia Eagles

Teams with 2 losses: 7 - - The Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, and Seattle Seahawks

Teams with 3 losses: 6 - - The Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, and San Francisco 49ers

Teams with 4 losses: 7 - - The Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Tennessee Titans

Teams with 5 losses: 6 - - The Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, and Washington Commanders

Teams with 6 losses: 4 - - The Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, and New York Giants

Teams with 7 losses: 1 - - the Arizona Cardinals


The biggest takeaway for me when looking at the league like this is that only one team in the league has fewer losses than the Seahawks.

And that team, despite their record, has looked very beatable this season.

Thought No. 6

I’m going to use the next few thoughts on our division rivals in Santa Clara, starting with a couple rounds of “Human or Not Human” . . .

ROUND ONE: Brock Purdy = human

Purdy had 2 INTs and a fumble on Sunday + 2 INTs the week before, and over the Niners 3-game losing streak, he’s thrown 5 picks and fumbled twice (1 lost, 1 recovered).

That said, he might also be a robot because in addition to the incredible start he had to his career, he’s also a super fast healer who apparently cleared the concussion protocol faster than any other player . . . ever.


According to one of the talking heads on Sunday, no other player has ever entered the concussion protocol on a Tuesday and been cleared to play the same week.

Until Brock Purdy did it for the Niners in Week 8.

Thought No. 7

ROUND TWO: Christian McCaffrey = not human

McCaffrey is clearly a cyborg from the planet Foo’bal 1. On Sunday, McCaffrey tied Hall of Fame RB/WR Lenny Moore by scoring a touchdown in his 17th consecutive game (including playoffs).

Fun Fact No 1: Moore’s streak actually went 18 games (from 1963 to 1965), but he missed 5 games during the 1963 season so it wasn’t an “uninterrupted” streak (like McCaffrey’s is).

Fun Fact No. 2: I haven’t seen anyone talk about it, but LaDainian Tomlinson also had an 18-game streak with at least one touchdown, starting in 2014 and ending in 2015. Unfortunately, his streak is also not “uninterrupted” because he was kept out of the end zone in the 2014 playoffs.

Fun Fact No. 3: Since joining the Niners, there have only been 3 games that McCaffrey hasn’t scored at least one touchdown, including the first game (against the Chiefs) when he only had 10 touches.

Before we jump away from McCaffrey . . .

I read somewhere that if you had bet $100 on McCaffrey to score an “any time” touchdown when his streak started and “reinvested” 100% of your winnings on the same “any time” bet for every game he’s played since then, you’d have turned your $100 into $400,000, plus a little bit of change.

(Anyone have a time machine I can borrow?)

Thought No. 8

Jinxing Santa Clara

As we all know, the Niners have lost three straight games.

I think I deserve some credit for that.


Because back on October 21st, I wrote the following:

Besides, no one knows what anyone’s record is going to be 6 games from now. For all we know, the Week 12 matchup could feature the 8-2 Seahawks vs. the 5-5 Niners - it won’t, but it could.

Don’t look now, but we’re basically halfway there. The Seahawks were 3-2 at the time and now they’re 5-2. San Fran was 5-1 and now they’re 5-3.

Crazy, huh?

Thought No. 9

Let’s continue that line of thinking for a moment . . .

To get to 8-2, Seattle needs to win their next three games which are at Baltimore, vs. Washington, and at L.A. against the Rams.

The Baltimore game is gonna be a tough one - they’re currently 6-2, lead the AFC North by a game and a half over the Bengals, Browns, and Steelers (all of whom are 4-3), and feature the toughest defense we’ll face this season (No. 1 in points allowed, No. 2 in yards).

The Ravens’ offense ain’t bad either - they’re No. 7 in points and No. 11 in yards.

After that though, we have the 3-5 Commanders and the 3-5 Rams. Washington should be the easier of the two, if only because the Rams are a division opponent that always plays us tough (even if their starting quarterback is in street clothes that week).

Now let’s look at the Niners’ schedule:

  • Week 9: Bye
  • Week 10: At Jacksonville
  • Week 11: Vs Tampa Bay

The Buccaneers are currently 3-4, courtesy of their own 3-game losing streak (vs. Lions, vs. Falcons, at Bills). They have a couple “get right” games before traveling to Santa Clara though: at Houston, vs. Tennessee.

The more immediate - and far bigger - “threat” for San Francisco is the Jaguars.

Jacksonville is 6-2 and has won their last five games, which is the NFL’s longest active streak. It hasn’t exactly been a murderer’s row, but only one of the five teams the Jaguars have beaten during the streak is currently below .500.

Besides, it’s not as though the Niners have that many “quality” wins themselves. Their biggest win was the dismantling of the Cowboys (42-10). Their other wins were against the Steelers (currently 4-3), Rams (3-5), Giants (2-6), and Cardinals (1-7).

Also of note . . .

Both San Francisco and Jacksonville have their bye this week - which effectively negates any “advantage” either of them would have by being “well rested” against a team that played the previous week.

Thought No. 10

I wrote about this in the Comments section of another article, but think it’s worthy of its own thought here.

Through seven games, Quandre Diggs has only been targeted 11 times.

Let me repeat that . . . in bold.

Quandre Diggs has been targeted a total of 11 times across the Seahawks’ first 7 games.

That’s an average of 1.6 targets per game.

By comparison, Julian Love has been targeted 30 times across the same number of games (an average of 4.3 targets per game), and Jamal Adams has been targeted 12 times in four games (an average of 3 per game).

Those numbers match what I’ve observed watching the Seahawks this year: opposing quarterbacks know where Quandre Diggs is and they do not challenge him.

Thought No. 11

As a whole, Week 9 features at least 3 games, maybe 4, that I would describe as “must see” . . . and, amazingly, none of the games overlap.

I’m sure that’s a coincidence, but kudos to the schedule-makers if it’s not.

Must-See Game No. 1:

The first of the must-see games, timing-wise, is the “visiting” Dolphins taking on the “home” Chiefs at Frankfurt Stadium in Germany, with kickoff at 6:30am for those of us on the West Coast.

The good news is that Daylight Savings Time ends a few hours earlier (at 2am) and since we “fall” back, it will feel like kickoff is at 7:30am.

(I’m still not getting up for the start of the game though.)

Both the Dolphins and the Chiefs are currently 6-2 and lead their respective divisions by a game (Miami) . . . or more (Kansas City).


Must-See Game No. 2:

Shortly after the international game ends, the second “must see” game kicks off, with the 5-2 division-leading Seahawks taking on the 6-2 division-leading Ravens in Baltimore.

Spoiler: Seattle is going to win.

Fun Fact: Including Sunday’s game against Seattle, six of Baltimore’s final 9 games are at home.

Not-So-Fun Fact: Lamar Jackson is 26-8 at home and 17-1 versus the NFC.


Must-See Game No. 3:

The third “must see” game hits the airwaves in the afternoon slot (on the west coast) with the 5-2 Cowboys traveling to Philadelphia to take on the 7-1 Eagles.

This game would be a little more fun if the division lead were on the line, but . . .

It’s not.

Because Dallas had their bye in Week 7, Philly has played one more game than them and thus leads the NFC East by 1-1/2 games.

That said, a Cowboys win would cut the Eagles’ lead to just half a game and Dallas hosts the (currently 2-6) Giants next week while the Eagles are on their bye, so . . .

If Dallas wins this week and next week, the NFC East would be knotted up . . . and the Cowboys would hold the head-to-head advantage (for the time being).

Admittedly, I might be rooting against the Eagles in this one - which is not the same as rooting for the Cowboys.


Must-See (?) Game No. 4:

The Sunday slate ends with the 4-3 Cincinnati Bengals hosting the 5-3 Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football. Granted, their combined record of 9-6 ain’t nothing to write home about, but both teams seem to be better than their records and it should be a competitive game.

Note: This is likely going to be a very emotional game given what happened the last time these two teams played a regular season game in Cincinnati.

Thought No. 12

Yes, it’s early, and no, I don’t really care.

If the playoffs started today, the top seeds would be:

  • AFC: Kansas City
  • NFC: Philadelphia

If the playoffs stared today, the AFC Wild Card Round would feature:

  • No. 7 Cleveland at No. 2 Miami
  • No. 6 Pittsburgh at No. 3 Jacksonville
  • No. 5 Buffalo at No. 4 Baltimore

If the playoffs started today, the NFC Wild Card Round would feature:

  • No. 7 Minnesota at No. 2 Detroit
  • No. 6 San Francisco at No. 3 Seattle
  • No. 5 Dallas at No. 4 Atlanta


Like most 12s, I am not a fan of playing the 9ers in the wild card round.

But at least it would be at home this time.

That said . . .

If Seattle wins in Baltimore on Sunday, they’ll be 6-2 which is the same record that currently has the Lions as the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

Detroit doesn’t play this week though . . .

. . . and Seattle holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over them.

Therefore, if Seattle wins in Baltimore on Sunday, the Seahawks take possession of the No. 2 seed, and . . .

If Seattle wins in Baltimore and Philly loses to Dallas, the Seahawks would only be half a game back with 8 games to play (and would have a chance to move into a 1st-place tie with the Eagles by beating the Commanders in Week 10).

Now, I’m way out over my skis so . . .

Go Hawks!