Geography is a funny thing.
Or, rather, people’s perception of geography is a funny thing.
We all know this, and yet, we never refer to them as the Jersey Giants, except when we’re being condescending or playful.
And, I get it . . . Saying “as the Seahawks head to Jersey” was never an option for the headline of this article - even though the team will presumably land at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey rather than JFK or LaGuardia in New York City.
Geographical musings aside, I have some thoughts about the week that was and the week that is in the NFL.
Let’s get started . . .
Thought No. 1
My first thought was going to be about Seattle’s run defense, but when I passed 500 words, I decided to make it a standalone article:
I was going to pivot to Seattle’s pass defense, but Mookie covered that with an interesting / depressing article on Wednesday afternoon about how the Seahawks pass defense is giving out explosive plays like they’re Halloween candy.
So . . .
How about those special teams?
Somewhat surprisingly, but only because I don’t often look at special teams stats, Seattle is No. 8 in kickoff returns with a respectable average of 24.6 yards on 7 returns, with a long of 34.
The Denver Broncos are No. 1 with an average of 44 yards, but 99 of their 176 yards came on one return so we’ll roll with the “small sample size” disclaimer here.
The same disclaimer applies to the Buffalo Bills who are averaging 41 yards per return, but only have one return in three games.
Ditto the Carolina Panthers with their one return for 37 yards.
In fact, there’s only one team that has MORE kickoff returns than the Seahawks do and that’s the New Orleans Saints who have 9 returns with an average return of 21 yards.
No. 3 is the Green Bay Packers with 5 returns.
So kudos to Seattle for keeping the kickoff team busy and at least semi-relevant.
The Seahawks are ranked even higher on punt returns.
No. 7 overall.
They have four returns for 59 yards which is an average of 14.8 yards per.
Again, the Broncos are No. 1, but with an asterisk . . .
. . . they have all of ONE return.
It was for 45 yards though, so they’re way ahead of the second-place team (the Saints) and their paltry average of 24.5 yards on their 4 returns.
Thought No. 2
Everyone loves a good “revenge” game, right?
Well, I certainly hope so, because Week 4 is chock-full of them . . . by my count, there are at least six, maybe seven:
- Adam Thielen vs. the Minnesota Vikings? CHECK!
- Calvin Ridley vs. the Atlanta Falcons (from London)? CHECK!
- Ezekiel Elliott vs. the Dallas Cowboys? CHECK!
- Jameis Winston vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? CHECK!
- Mecole Hardman vs. the Kansas City Chiefs? CHECK!
- OBJ vs. the Cleveland Browns? CHECK!
The final revenge game on the Week 4 schedule is, of course, Geno Smith’s return to New
York Jersey to face the New York Giants on Monday Night Football.
I’m not sure I would classify it as a revenge game though.
I mean, not really.
Partly because Geno’s already “been there, done that” with the Giants after having faced them in Week 8 last season.
Mostly though, I wouldn’t classify MNF tilt as a “revenge” game because Geno didn’t publicly
take the bait make much of his “reunion tour” last year - a tour which included:
- A 37-23 win over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 7
- A 27-13 victory over the New York Giants in Week 8
- A 23-6 win over the New York Jets in Week 17
Geno was 3-0 against his former teams last year and Seattle outscored them 87 to 42.
If success is the best revenge, Geno’s already had his.
Not that he’d actually admit it.
At least not publicly.
Thought No. 3
Here’s a stat that probably won’t surprise you . . .
The Seahawks are currently yielding 407.3 yards per game which ties them with the Chicago Bears for third-worst league-wide.
The Chargers are No. 31 at 450.7 yards per game, and the Broncos are dead last with a defense that is allowing an eye-popping 458.3 yards per game.
Note: I was going to point out that the Broncos are on pace to SHATTER the NFL record for yards allowed in a season (7,042 by New Orleans in 2012), but then I did the math and saw that the Seahawks are on pace to allow 6,924, so I’m leaving it alone.
Miami’s possessions vs. Denver:
- 3 plays, 75 yards, TOUCHDOWN
- 9 plays, 81 yards, TOUCHDOWN
- 11 plays, 75 yards, TOUCHDOWN
- 4 plays, 9 yards, Downs
- 6 plays, 86 yards, TOUCHDOWN
- 1 play, 3 yards, TOUCHDOWN
- 1 play, 6 yards, End of Half
- 11 plays, 90 yards, TOUCHDOWN
- 9 plays, 77 yards, TOUCHDOWN
- 2 plays, 8 yards, TOUCHDOWN
- 3 plays, 8 yards, Punt (their only one of the game)
- 3 plays, 68 yards, TOUCHDOWN
- 2 plays, 75 yards, TOUCHDOWN
- 6 plays, 51 yards, Downs
Note: The Dolphins finished 9 yards shy of the NFL record for yards in a single game (735 by the Rams, vs. the Yanks, in 1951) and took a knee on 4th down from the Broncos 27-yard line rather than attempting a field goal that would have given them a share of the all-time record for points (set by the Chicago Bears in the 1940 NFL Championship Game).
Thought No. 4
Speaking of the Dolphins . . .
There is what can best be described as an urban myth which would have us believe that the surviving members of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins team get together every year for a champagne toast when the NFL’s last unbeaten team suffers their first loss.
Whether or not that’s true makes no difference.
My question is this:
Obviously everyone is going to celebrate when the 49ers and Eagles lose - well, everyone outside of their respective fanbases anyway.
But what about the Dolphins?
I find it very difficult to root against them this year. I want them to go them 17-0 and, if they aren’t facing us in the Super Bowl, I’m 100% okay with them going 20-0.
But what about the surviving members of the 1972 team?
Are they rooting for the 2023 team to join them (and, technically, pass them) in the NFL record books, or are they going to raise a glass if the 2023 team falls short?
Note: As good as the Dolphins look thus far, especially last week, going undefeated is going to be tough when they face the Buffalo Bills twice (this week, plus Week 18), and also have games against the Eagles, Chiefs, and Cowboys.
Thought No. 5
On the flip side of the NFL’s parity coin, there are currently four winless teams: the Carolina Panthers, the Chicago Bears, the Denver Broncos, and the Minnesota Vikings.
The good news (for them) is that half of them will get in the win column this week. Strike that! (Ties are always a possibility.)
The good news is that at least half of them won’t be 0-4 after Sunday’s games.
The bad news (for us) is that the NFL schedule makers have the most twisted sense of humor on the planet (and I can say that since the season is scripted) . . .
Week 4 “features” the 0-3 Vikings at the 0-3 Panthers and the 0-3 Broncos at the 0-3 Bears.
You can’t make this stuff up!
Thought No. 6
In the middle of typing out Thought No. 5, I suddenly feared that Sunday’s TV lineup in the Seattle area would include at least one of the 0-3 turd-burger match-ups.
Huge. Sigh. Of. Relief.
If I’m reading the TV maps correctly (which is no sure thing), this is the local lineup for the 12s this week:
- Thursday: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (Amazon Prime)
- Sunday morning: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (CBS) - OR - Los Angeles Rams at Indianapolis Colts (FOX)
- Sunday afternoon: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (FOX)
- Sunday night: Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets (NBC)
- Monday night: Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants (ESPN / ABC)
Yay! Not a single winless team among them.
Thought No. 7
From the great minds that brought us the NFL on Nickelodeon and the Manning-Cast for Monday Night Football . . .
. . . at least I would assume it’s the same folks who signed off on this . . .
Sunday’s game between the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars in London will be “simulcast” from Andy’s room.
Yes, the iconic location from the Pixar Toy Story franchise is now home to NFL football games - and the first one (because, of course, there will be more than one) has a very special halftime show featuring Duke Caboom that you can only see on Disney+ and ESPN+.
Toy Story ESPN— ESPN (@espn) September 11, 2023
When the Falcons and Jaguars face off in London on Oct. 1, an alt broadcast on Disney+ and ESPN+ will be fully animated in real time from Andy’s room. pic.twitter.com/S13cCoHNar
There is ZERO chance that I’ll be getting up early to watch that live, but . . .
I thought the Manning-Cast was going to be a disaster and it’s actually a lot of fun (as long as your team isn’t playing), so . . .
Thought No. 8
From the In-Case-You-Missed-It file . . .
DK Metcalf on what separates good players from great ones (and who his favorite receiver is/was):
"I believe that's what separates the good players from the great players—how much knowledge they retain from the week."— NFL on ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsNFL) September 24, 2023
DK Metcalf on how he prepares for his next matchup.
And, just because I love seeing DK in NFL commercials (especially funny ones) . . .
CLICK HERE to see DK suggest that he have the first 198-yard touchdown in NFL history (on Thanksgiving Day, no less).
Note: I had to post a link because the NFL won’t let us embed the YouTube video.
Thought No. 9
Last week, I used Thought No. 9 to self-identify as a Swiftie.
It seems I’m not the only one.
According to multiple sources, including this ESPN article, Tay-Tay’s decision to take Travis Kelce up on his offer to watch him play at Arrowhead stadium led to:
- An almost-400% increase in sales of Kelce’s jersey
- A 276% increase in Kelce’s Instagram followers (with a similar uptick on
- An across-the-board increase in the female demographic watching the Chiefs game, including an 8% increase in the 12-17 age group
and . . .
- The absolutely hilarious sight of two-time NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes acting like a goofy teenager on the sidelines
Admittedly, Mahomes handles it much better than I would have.
He still looks like a goofy teenager though.
Thought No. 10
On Thursday morning, Tyler Alsin posted an article about the Seahawks being No. 10 in ESPN’s latest Power Rankings - which is pretty cool.
What Tyler didn’t mention is that as part of their write-up on each team, ESPN looked at their offensive efficiency (per ESPN Analytics’ Football Power Index).
Despite the turd-burger that was their Week 1 performance against the Rams, Seattle’s offense has been surprisingly efficient.
How does the 4th-most efficient offense in the league strike you?
Yeah, number 4; behind only the Dolphins (obviously helped by their 70-point output in Week 3), the 49ers (no comment), and the Chargers.
What is particularly impressive about Seattle having the 4th-most efficient offense is that at one point in Sunday’s game against the Panthers, the only Week 1 starter on the O-line who was in the game was Center Evan Brown - and he had missed a handful of snaps the previous week.
Obviously, every NFL team deals with injuries, but the fact that Seattle has the 4th-most efficient offense with a patchwork offensive line speaks volumes to the work the players and the coaches have been doing the first three weeks of the season.
The offensive players and coaches anyway.
According to ESPN’s FPI ratings, the Seahawks special teams unit is the league’s 12th-best unit (which seems appropriate for the obvious reason).
The defense, however, is No. 26 . . . which is actually higher than I expected.
Add it all up, and Seattle’s No. 14 overall.
One spot behind the Cardinals :/
Thought No. 11
Here’s a fun
tweet (whatever the heck we’re supposed to call them now) . . .
NFL teams' records in their last 162 regular season games laid out like MLB standings pic.twitter.com/HzQ6bc5reS— Jay Cuda (@JayCuda) September 22, 2023
Admittedly, I would have had this a lot higher in my thoughts if the Mariners weren’t losing ground in their playoff chase, but . . .
Looking at the results posted by NFL teams over an MLB-style 162-game schedule, @JayCuda determined that the Seahawks are awesome!!!
Okay, that’s my interpretation of Jay’s findings.
But it’s still true.
Over the last 162 regular season games, the Seahawks have the third-most wins (102), behind only the Kansas City Chiefs (116) and the New England Patriots (109). The Pittsburgh Steelers (101) and Green Bay Packers (100) round out the Top 5.
Focusing in on the NFC West, the Seahawks (102-59-1) hold a commanding 18-1/2-game lead over the Rams (84-78-0). The 49ers (81-81-0) are 21-1/2 games behind Seattle, and Cardinals (79-81-2) are 22-1/2 games back.
Quite impressively, the 18-1/2 game lead over the Rams is the largest lead by a first-place team over a second-place team in the NFC.
But . . .
Seattle’s lead over the Rams pales in comparison to the lead the Chiefs have over the Broncos - KC’s lead is literally DOUBLE Seattle’s lead with the Broncos (79-83-0) a mindboggling 37 games behind the Chiefs.
Thought No. 12
This is a carryover / follow-up from the Bonus Thought last week, and it isn’t technically NFL-related (although one might argue that it is since college football is the NFL’s de facto minor leagues) . . .
A week ago, there were 39 unbeaten college teams and ESPN’s Bill Connelly ranked them using “a combination of computer rankings and (his) own opinions”.
This week, there are 12 fewer unbeaten teams, but the No. 1 team (on Connelly’s list) remains the same . . .
The Washington Huskies !!!
Here’s what Connelly wrote about ranking the Dawgs at No. 1 . . . again:
I’m sticking with the Huskies in the top spot and it appears a few more are joining me on the bandwagon. Kalen DeBoer’s squad rose to seventh in this week’s AP poll — with a first-place vote! — following an absolute show of force against Cal. It’s come to this with the ridiculous UW offense: I found myself thinking, “Hmm, seems like they’re out of sync a little bit this week” in the first half ... in a game in which they scored on six of their first seven possessions, gained 301 yards in the first half and headed into halftime with 45 points.
The defense grew pretty leaky against Cal as the game got out of hand, but the Huskies are still up to 25th in defensive SP+, which is all they need when the offense is this ridiculous. I’ll repeat what I wrote last week: I don’t know how long this will last, but the Huskies have been the best team of 2023.
On a related note, I might be about six weeks away from unofficially launching a campaign to try to convince John and Pete to keep Michael Penix Jr. in the Pacific Northwest long-term.
Go Hawks! (and Huskies!)