‘Perhaps they're just bored because they're so much better than the competition.'
The state of the Seahawks, shot straight from the hip of Walter Cherepinsky of walterfootball.com.
I've banged ol' Walt's drum on a few occasions in this column and he'll be blithely unaware of the free publicity, but it's not something I'll lose sleep over. Suffice to say, that draftniks or anybody with more than a passing interest on betting on the NFL should head over and take a look. He won't disappoint you.
Walt's appraisal can be found in his weekly Power Rankings, where Seattle sits second, behind only San Francisco. The two of them flipped positions after last week, when the Seahawks tried to lose, but couldn't quite manage it and the 49ers...well, they didn't even play. Seattle displayed such ineptitude last Sunday when going behind by three touchdowns that a team can leapfrog them without even having to turn up, which is precisely what our beloved boys in blue did for much of the first half last week.
Go on, hit me with the certitude that Power Rankings do not a Super Bowl winner make. Of course they don't, but I'm an unabashed fan of them. Always have been and that isn't going to be changing any time soon. It's somebody's opinion on something I have a huge interest in so why wouldn't I be a fan? If they've taken the time to formulate a list on something I love, then I'm forever the willing reader.
As flippant a comment as it may be from Walt, and as glib as it is to contemplate the Seahawks being bored during what is, at least on paper, the least taxing portion of their schedule, it did make me think back to what I wrote before Monday night in St. Louis two weeks ago. For both of my regular readers, here's the reminder:
‘Dare I say this as a Seahawk, but three of the next four games shouldn't present much of a problem at all. The road game in Atlanta in Week 10 promises to be the most difficult, despite the ridiculous injuries they're suffering, but if Seattle does hold a 10-1 record before the home Monday nighter against the Saints...spine tingling.'
(Before I delve deeper, yes, I actually wrote ‘shouldn't present much of a problem' and even followed it with ‘at all'. How can it be such hard work following an 8-1 team?)
I bring up previous musings as there's also a betting perspective to this. Betting ATS is jeopardous at the best of times and there's never more reason to be fearful than when a team is being asked to overcome a sizeable line against an opponent deemed insignificant one week before, say, a huge divisional matchup. Whisper this, but yes, some teams do look ahead. However, there's looking ahead and there's looking ahead.
Seattle can be good. Seattle can be very good. We know this, we follow their every move, but have they believed themselves to be so good that they've been happy to simply don the blindfolds until the New Orleans Saints hit town? Get out of here, I'm not havin' it.
Boredom, looking ahead, call it what you will, but something isn't right and it goes beyond injuries to Russell Okung, Breno Giacomini, Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, to name but a few. Yes, I recognise that simply typing ‘something isn't right' is to gloss over what is possibly a myriad of problems, but I'm not the one employed to right the ship. I also recognise that roughly 75% of the league wouldn't half mind being safe and dry in our sea of 8-1 troubles.
As frustrating as it's been watching the Seahawks tread through treacle ever since Week 4, the plain truth in black and white is that we've never had it so good. Seattle has never been 8-1 in their lives, which also means in my life so I take that as something quite significant. Equally significant is that we all watched a small piece of football history last Sunday.
This team, our team, if I may be so bold, overcame its largest ever points deficit to win a game. That's a pretty big deal and no, I wasn't there to witness it, but I don't feel as though it detracts any. Granted, when the winning kick went through, all I felt was relief, if I'm honest. The histrionics had occurred during the actual comeback; Steven Hauschka's 27 yarder to finish proceedings merely caused me to slump back on the sofa and exhale. I'd just witnessed Seattle football history and what I now don't want or need is a little bit of history repeating itself. Not for a long time.
Right now, the Seahawks can't be trusted with your money. You must not bet on this team this week. Then again, why would you listen to me? Don't listen to me, I know nothing. You know why I know nothing? Because I wrote this before the Rams game: ‘...it's inconceivable to imagine St. Louis generating many yards on the ground. Their 70.6 rushing YPG won't make anybody feel proud'.
That not enough for you? This is from last week: ‘...as Seattle won't be fretting too much at the prospect of Mike James running the ball on them'.
Having been thoroughly gashed by both backs, let's see what we have this week. Well, just look at that, won't you? The Atlanta Falcons come into this one averaging 64.4 rushing yards per game, tied for...nope, hang on...ah, that's dead last in the league. I fully expect them not to lie dead last in the league come the end of the game, just taking it as a given that the Seahawks will be gashed all over again by Steven Jackson and/or Jacquizz Rodgers. Aw, in for a penny...they'll probably both get close to 100 yards on the ground.
I began writing this on Friday evening, at which point Seattle was favoured by 5.5 points. Come Saturday morning, many of those oddsmakers have trimmed a point from that, but those disappointed by the shift can still back Atlanta +5. The line was six earlier in the week and I was all over it...on the Falcons side as the Seahawks are simply not to be trusted at the moment. Sorry to reiterate that.
I tipped them to cover the spread at home to Tennessee; they left me out of pocket. I tipped them not to cover in Arizona; they left me out of pocket (not that I was crying over that one). I tipped them to cover in St. Louis; you can guess the rest. Chasing the sterling somewhat, I had a larger wager than usual on Tampa Bay ATS last week, so confident was I, and am now breaking even over Seattle's last four outings.
Having begun the season 4-0 ATS, the Seahawks have gone 1-4 ATS in their last five and I feel are overrated this week as I see a truer line being 2.5 points. Naturally, grabbing the six points has me honestly believing I can't lose and I'm not even taking into account the 1 p.m. ET kickoff. Where that was once (recently) something to be accounted for when judging any Seattle spread/line, this team has too many strengths for that to currently be a serious consideration. And yes, that's despite the scares they've given us of late. They can really play. I just wish they'd do it a tad more consistently.
Max Unger's been ruled out this week with a concussion so the offensive line woes continue. The phrase ‘decimated offensive line' has lost every ounce of its impact this season, so frequently do we read or hear it. Never ending is the sight of Russell Wilson escaping from a collapsed pocket, either earning the yards himself with his feet or finding the open receiver after he's bought himself some time and sometimes without even planting his feet sufficiently. We have to expect more of the same on Sunday and once again, Russ will have to don the cape minus Harvin and Rice, the latter of course probably for ever.
Reading back on this, there's no escaping a resigned tone to parts of it and I feel I should apologise. Danny and Kenneth are both quick to accentuate the positives with this team, of which there are many, and once Harvin, Okung, Unger and Giacomini are all back, Seattle should be formidable all over again. The spoilt brat in me though wants them all back NOW! RIGHT NOW!
I've given up on getting my hopes up with regards Harvin and don't expect him to debut in Seahawks colours until the Saints rock up on MNF. However, should he return on the very same field against the very same with whom he first sustained the injury, that'd be a strange twist. I want to argue that we don't need him against the Vikings, but Seattle needs all the help it can get right now. Hang on, we are 8-1, aren't we? We are, but could so easily be 6-3 going up against Matt Ryan on the road, who's 3-0 against the Seahawks in his career.
While on the subject of trends, let's look at a few, courtesy of our partners at oddsshark.
Seattle's 7-2 ATS in its last nine road games
Seattle's 4-2 ATS in its last six games in Atlanta
Atlanta's 2-5 ATS in its last seven home games
Recent spread history undoubtedly favours the Seahawks, but I can't advocate laying down any of your hard earned on them, not when they're up against a five point spread this week. Their play is too erratic, too unpredictable of late to safely lay any money on them. One other nugget is that the Falcons are 14-4 SU in their last 18 games at home.
Look, I want Seattle to pulverise Atlanta on Sunday, to demolish them, to lay to rest the agony of the NFC Divisional Playoff last season. I just don't think they will. They may win and probably should do, but I don't think it'll be by more than five. I hope I'm wrong. I want to be wrong, like I was against the Titans, Cardinals and Rams. It's a wonder I ever make any money at all.
Please gamble responsibly.
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