Seattle Seahawks: Early Super Bowl Storylines to Watch vs Patriots

Pete Carroll vs Previous Employers

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was the Patriots’ head coach from 1997 to 1999. His predecessor was/is current Pats’ head coach Bill Belichick.

Gronk Containment

It is probably safe to say teams have a tough time containing New England tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronk has 82 catches for 1124 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season. It’s also safe to say that he’s a matchup nightmare at 6’6 and 265 lbs.

Most teams don’t have the personnel to match up, but the Seahawks do. Kam Chancellor and KJ Wright will be tasked with shutting down one of the best tight ends in the league. Seattle held Denver’s Julius Thomas to four catches on 27 yards during last year’s Super Bowl, so they aren’t exactly inexperienced when it comes to shutting down elite tight ends.

Russell Wilson vs Tom Brady

Russell Wilson has beaten Tom Brady before. In fact, Wilson has made a habit out of beating elite QBs. Not only has he beaten Brady, but he has also gone 2-0 vs both Eli and Peyton Manning as well as Drew Brees. He’s now 3-0 vs Aaron Rodgers. If you had to pick a quarterback to help your team take down a Hall-of-Fame worthy QB, you’re taking Russell Wilson.

Power Running

Marshawn Lynch is far and away the best example of a power running back in today’s NFL. If you were to look up “power running back” in the dictionary, you’re going to get a picture of Beast Mode. Although not to Lynch’s standard, New England has power backs as well in LaGarrette Blount and Jonas Gray. It’s safe to say that power running will dominate the Super Bowl.

All stats courtesy of http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

Kingdome Crossover/Flashback – Seattle Seahawks: Stats from the Opening Win Over Green Bay

Here are some of the stats of note from the last Seahawks/Packers meeting. Obviously some things have changed (cough…Percy Harvin…cough).

  • 34, 2.8.

These were Eddie Lacy’s rushing numbers on Thursday. He totaled 34 yards on 12 carries with 2.8 yards per carry. By comparison Marshawn Lynch had 110 yards on 20 carries and 5.5 yards a carry. Yeah… Beastmode still has it.

  • 100 yards from scrimmage racked up by Percy Harvin

Whenever Percy Harvin was on the field, Seattle seemed to go to him. They got the playmaker the ball in a variety of ways and it was a success. The former Viking didn’t score a touchdown, but you can bet he’ll get a boatload of scores if Pete Carroll continues to get him the ball this much.

  • Two

The numbers of times Russell Wilson has beat Aaron Rodgers.

  • Zero

The number of times Aaron Rodgers has beat Russell Wilson.

  • Zero

Also the number of times Aaron Rodgers threw towards the receiver Richard Sherman was covering on defense. Say what you will about Sherman and whether he’s the best corner in the game, but if he can force a team to sacrifice nearly a half of the field to avoid him, it only speaks to his talent and skill.

  • Two

Number of consecutive games (counting the Super Bowl) that the Seahawks have forced a safety.

  • 143

The difference in the team’s total yards. Seattle gained 398 yards while the Packers only managed 255.

  • 207 to 80.

Seattle’s rushing yards compared to Green Bay’s. A lot of this had to do with Eddie Lacy leaving the game with a concussion, but a lot of it had to do with Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks’ defense being so respectively dominant.

  • One

Sacks recorded against the Seahawks. If you can call it one. Russell Wilson lost zero yards on the play. And while he didn’t gain any either, it looked like more of a scramble and a duck out of bounds than an actual sack. This is a huge positive for a Seahawks offensive line going against Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers.

All stats courtesy of http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

You can find more of Kingdome of Seattle Sports here. You can also follow the site on Twitter here. For kicks and whistles, you can follow me on Twitter here. Lastly, you can see the original article in all its glory here.

Seattle Seahawks: 5 Important Stats from Panthers vs Cardinals

For the second straight season, the Seattle Seahawks enjoyed a bye to kick off the playoffs. The Hawks were able to sit in the comfort of their own homes and watch the competition slug it out.

Due to seeding, Seattle will host the Carolina Panthers with the winner advancing to the NFC Championship Game. Confidentially in 2014, the Seahawks also played an NFC South opponent (the New Orleans Saints) at home in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Here are five stats to keep in mind when the Panthers make their way to CenturyLink Field this weekend.

  1. 123—rushing yards by Panthers running back and Washington native Jonathan Stewart. Arizona struggled against the run heading into the game. Marshawn Lynch and Frank Gore ran for 113 and 144 yards respectively against the Cardinals, but Stewart has been on somewhat of a tear as of late. The Hawks will have to be careful with Stewart.
  2. 198—passing yards by Carolina quarterback Cam Newton. If you take out a 39 yard screen pass to Fozzy Whittaker, the total drops to 159. Of the six QBs the Hawks have faced in the last six games, they’ve held five to under 200 yards passing. The only two to eclipse that mark, Shaun Hill and Ryan Lindley, didn’t have great games. Hill had 243 yards but also threw two picks. Lindley compiled 216 yards and had only one interception, but completed a mere 18 of his 44 passes. Neither Hill nor Lindley threw a touchdown. In fact, the past six QBs the Hawks face threw a cumulative two touchdowns, both from Eagles signal-caller Mark Sanchez. The caveat is that Sanchez threw for only 96 yards. One of his touchdowns came on a drive that started at the Seahawks’ 14 yard line. The other drive started four yards away from midfield at the Philly 46.
  3. 39—most receiving yards by a Carolina receiver. Those 39 yards came on the Whittaker screen, which was the running back’s only catch. No other Panther had five catches, with Kelvin Benjamin coming the closest with four. Benjamin was the only Carolina pass catcher with more than 33 yards when the two teams met earlier in the season. He finished with 94 receiving yards, 51 of which came on one play.
  4. 35—rushing yards by QB Cam Newton. The Carolina signal caller ran for 35 after putting up yardage totals of 51, 63, 83 and 49 in recent weeks. He only had 24 yards on 12 carries against the Hawks earlier in the season, his second worst game in terms of average yards per carry.
  5. Nine—number of different receivers who caught passes against the Cardinals. The Hawks will have to watch out for Newton spreading the ball around in general, but these aren’t Tom Brady’s Patriots. Of the nine, only four caught more than one pass. Of the five with one catch, three (Brenton Bersin, Mike Tolbert and Stewart) combined for a cumulative four yards. Whittaker’s 39 receiving yards came off a screen pass (stop me if you’ve heard that before) and was predominantly thanks to the running back rather than Newton.

The Seahawks take on the Panthers on Saturday, the winner will advance to the NFC Championship Game.

All stats courtesy of http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

Seahawks Cardinals: 5 Stats to Know from Sunday’s Win

77.3

77.3—Russell Wilson’s completion percentage during the game. It was the QB’s most efficient game of the season, and possibly his best as well.

Three

Three—the number of sacks complied by the Seattle. The Seahawks finally got there pass rush going, and it showed. Cliff Avril finished with two while defensive tackle Jordan Hill added another.

Four

Four—number of catches for tight end Tony Moeaki. The former Chief racked up 34 yards on those four catches. With Zach Miller out for the season, Moeaki could play a large part in the offense going forward.

Eight

Eight—number of receivers to catch a pass from Wilson. Wilson likes to spread the ball around, and during the win over Arizona hit Moeaki, Riccardo Lockette, Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Kevin Norwood and Luke Willson for completions.

73

73—number of rushing yards by Wilson. The Super Bowl winning QB continues his ground assault on opposing defenses. He has rushed for at least 70 yards in five games this season, including his last three.
Next up for the Seahawks is Thanksgiving night showdown with the 49ers.

 

All stats courtesy of http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

Seattle Seahawks: 5 Stats to Know from Sunday’s Loss to the Kansas City Chiefs

Zero

Zero—the number of QB hits the Seahawks recorded versus Kansas City. By comparison, the Chiefs hit Russell Wilson nine times.

11

11—tackles by former Seahawk and current Kansas City safety Ron Parker. Parker’s 11 tackles tied him with Earl Thomas for the game high.

Four

Four—the number of games Russell Wilson has now gone without reaching 200 passing yards. Seattle’s QB has partly offset this by rushing for 244 yards over the past four games. Still, Willson could use another monster passing game like he had against St. Louis when he threw for 313 yards. Even moderate passing numbers like he posted against Denver would be a nice change.

108

108—passing yards allowed by the Seahawks. 108 is also the fewest number of passing yards the team has allowed this season and the fourth time they’ve held an opposing QB under 200 yards. Of course, the team was done in by Jamal Charles more than the passing game. Charles ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.

124

124—the rushing yardage compiled by Marshawn Lynch. It marks Beastmode’s second straight superb rushing performance. The former Cal running back averaged 5.3 yards per run. He now has 264 rushing yards over the last two games after managing only 243 in his previous four games.

Next up for the Seahawks is a home game against the Arizona Cardinals.

 

You can find more about the Seahawks on Kingdome of Seattle Sports here. Additionally, you can follow Kingdome on Twitter here. You can view the original piece on Kingdome here, or if you’d just like to check out what else Kingdome has to offer on Seattle Sports, you can check that out here. Kingdome can be found on YouTube here. Don’t forget to subscribe! You can also follow Ben on Twitter here. Knowhitter is also on Twitter. You can follow the site on on Twitter here.

 

All stats courtesy of http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

Seattle Seahawks: 5 Stats to Know from Sunday’s Win Over the Giants

1. Four

Four—number of rushing touchdowns by Marshawn Lynch, a career high.

2. Five

Five—the number of quarterback hits by Cliff Avril. The Seahawks have had trouble getting pressure on the quarterback, which has taken a toll on the effectiveness of the secondary. While Avril didn’t have any sacks, getting to the quarterback five times can only be looked at as a positive.

3. Eight

Eight—total tackles by Jeron Johnson in his first NFL start filling in for Kam Chancellor.

4. 350

350—rushing yards by the Seahawks, a franchise record. Marshawn Lynch had 140 yards on 21 carries, Russell Wilson added 107 on 14 carries, Christine Michael finished with four carries and 71 yards while Robert Turbin rounded out the group with six carries for 32 yards.

5. 17

17—number of pass attempts by quarterback Russell Wilson. The Super Bowl winning QB has only attempted fewer passes once in his professional career. That career low (13) came in a 58-0 thrashing of the Cardinals in December 2012.

Next week the Seahawks travel to Kansas City to face the 6-3 Chiefs.

 

All stats courtesy of http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

You can find more about the Seahawks on Kingdome of Seattle Sports here. Additionally, you can follow Kingdome on Twitter here. You can view the original piece on Kingdome here, or if you’d just like to check out what else Kingdome has to offer on Seattle Sports, you can check that out here. Kingdome can be found on YouTube here. Don’t forget to subscribe! You can also follow Ben on Twitter here. Knowhitter is also on Twitter. You can follow the site on on Twitter here.

Seattle Seahawks: 5 Stats to Know from Sunday’s Win Over the Oakland Raiders

1. One

One. Number of interceptions by cornerback Richard Sherman, his first of the season—the former Stanford standout now has 21 for his career. One was also the number of field goals kicker Steven Hauschka missed. He was three of four on the day and has only two misses all year. Hauschka also had a fumble recovery on a kickoff.

2. 143

Yards from scrimmage racked up by Marshawn Lynch. It was the most total yards by Beast Mode in a game this season. Lynch also tied a season-high with two rushing touchdowns.

3. 13

Tackles by linebacker K.J. Wright—more than three times more than the next highest tacklers.

4. 112

The yardage difference between the Raiders and Seahawks rushing yard totals. Seattle piled up 149 total rushing yards while Oakland was held to a measly 37. Maurice Jones-Drew was held  to nine total yards of offense while Darren McFadden only put up 67 yards on 17 touches.

5. 10

Total number of touches by Robert Turbin and Christine Michael. A good sign moving forward as both can be impact runners. This is likely what Seattle’s running game will look like if Marshawn Lynch leaves.

 

All stats courtesy of http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

You can find more about the Seahawks on Kingdome of Seattle Sports here. Additionally, you can follow Kingdome on Twitter here. You can view the original piece on Kingdome here, or if you’d just like to check out what else Kingdome has to offer on Seattle Sports, you can check that out here. Kingdome can be found on YouTube here. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Fantasy Football: Picks and Tips for the 2014 NFL Season

The NFL Season is almost upon us and with preseason already underway, the focus of the NFL fan is fixed on fantasy football. To get you ready for the upcoming season, here are some picks to consider when drafting your team.

QB: Drew Brees

You can’t go wrong with either one of the “Big Three” quarterbacks, i.e. Brees, Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers, but Brees is the best bet. Manning is older than both and faces a much tougher schedule, while Brees’ schedule is much easier than Rodgers. You can’t botch the pick, but for me Brees is the best bet.

RB: Bishop Sankey

Rookies always carry risk, but Sankey could be a good value pick in the mid-late rounds. He could enter the year dividing carries with Shone Greene. A strong performance or two could vault him past the former Jet.  The Titans aren’t going to be world beaters. That much is true, so it could reach a point where the team gives more reps to the younger players. If Sankey is already in a time-share situation with Greene and the Titans tank, Sankey could receive the lion’s share of the carries, giving him some decent relative value.

WR: Percy Harvin

Last year I gambled on a lot of Seahawks having big years. I reached for the defense/special team, took Marshawn Lynch high and bet big on Russell Wilson. This by-and-large worked out, but the one Hawks’ weapon I struck out on was Percy Harvin, who barely played in the regular season. Everyone saw his impact in the Super Bowl, and while he won’t be returning kicks for touchdowns every week, he’ll make plenty of big plays. Pete Carroll will make sure he’s involved. Whether it is with screens or end arounds, the former Vikings star will have the ball in his hands and do what he does best, be a playmaker.

D/ST: Seattle Seahawks

A QB turning in a mediocre/sub-par showing against Seattle has become commonplace. Just ask Colin Kaepernick. The Seahawks don’t have the easiest schedule in the world in terms of opposing offenses, but their defense is that good. Reaching for it isn’t unheard of. The champs made, among others, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Kaepernick and Eli Manning look foolish last year and also held the likes of Cam Newton and Matt Ryan in check. Even with Peyton, Aaron Rodgers, Newton, Kaepernick and Nick Foles on the slate, expect the champs to put up more big numbers, and fantasy points.

 

Tips:

Don’t fall in love with the end of your bench.

Injuries and ineffectiveness happen, so you’re probably going to have to cut somebody at some point. But breakouts happen as well. Every year a player comes out of nowhere to register a stretch of monster games. We saw it last year with Jordan Cameron and Keenan Allen. Don’t miss out on the breakout stars because you’re keeping an injured handcuff running back from your favorite team on your bench. The logic also applies if someone in your league inexplicably cuts a player who could be a solid contributor for you. Don’t fall in love with your bench.

Avoid reaching on a backup QB.

If you draft a Drew Brees or an Aaron Rodgers in the early rounds, don’t reach on Russell Wilson or Matt Ryan in the middle rounds. Barring an injury, only look for a backup QB with a good matchup when your starter has a bye week. The well of quality flex options (running back, wide receiver, tight end) dries up quickly. Don’t reach for a backup QB when you’re only going to realistically play them one week.

What tips do you have for the upcoming fantasy season?

Kingdome Crossover- Chronicle of Couch Volume Two: One Couch, One Game

This isn’t going to be as plentiful as the last time I did this. Before that it was a Tigers-Rays regular season game in Tampa, a Euro 2012 semi-final where my Italians knocked off the mighty Germans 2-1 thanks to a brace from Mario Balotelli and that year’s NBA draft. This time I’m taking it a little easier. Seahawks/Titans is the only order of business.

1:05

Titans receiving the kickoff to start the game. Here comes Ryan Fitzpatrick. If these teams played last year in Seattle, it would have been interesting seeing as former UW Prodigy Jake Locker and old friend Matt Hasselbeck were the Titans options under center. Now Hasselbeck is making fun of Andrew Luck’s cellphone in Indianapolis and Jake Locker is out injured. Ergo Ryan Fitzpatrick.

1:12

Russell Wilson starts the game off with a completion to Luke Willson after Tennessee punts away. Max Unger is back in the fold, Michael Bowie starting at right tackle.

1:13

For Tennessee to have any success, the general consensus is to put pressure on Russell Wilson. Good luck in the loud noise. Honestly, good luck. It’s so loud in there you can’t think about what you want for lunch, let alone play an NFL game.

1:17

High snaps continue for the Titans as they have second and 14 inside the 10. Chris Johnson is lined up on the “H” in Seahawks in the endzone pre-snap.

1:23

Titans score first on a field goal after showing a somewhat dejected-looking Jake Locker on the sidelines. Here’s hoping they don’t continually show the Ferndale native on the sidelines unable to play in his home state. A sad drinking game for any who partake in it.

1:28

Seahawks utilizing the read-option more and more as Russell Wilson gets a first down on a run. Also concerning that the Titans moved the ball somewhat easily on their first drive. They took it from inside the 10 to a short field-goal. All this is concerning considering that the Seahawks have generally shut down Chris Johnson. It’s been all Ryan Fitzpatrick. Seahawks have to improve; teams of their quality and ambitions can’t let Ryan Fitzpatrick carve them up at home. It’s a recipe for disaster.

1:33

The Titans have nearly double the yards the Seahawks do so far, not good. As I say this, Earl Thomas picks off Fitzpatrick on a high throw. Looks like he thought 6’1 Nate Washington was as tall as Kareem Abdul-Jabar.

1:35

Supposedly the Titans repeatedly watched tape of Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Quake against the Saints. That’s positive thinking. Also, it never gets old watching it. Go ahead, indulge yourself.

1:41

CBS graphic shows Ryan Fitzpatrick is tied for the fourth most giveaways by a quarterback since 2011 with an astounding 50. Fifty. Titans backed into a corner with turnover-happy Fitzpatrick in Seattle against a team that forces a lot of turnovers. Going to be a long day if the Titans’ QB can’t buck his recent trend of turnovers.

1:42

Another semi-dejected Locker sideline shot. That’s two.

1:44

Fitzpatrick throws another high pass on a completed slant rout on third down. You have to wonder if the noise is a factor with all the high snaps and throws. Meanwhile Chris Johnson runs into another wall running the ball.

1:46

Titans left tackle Michael Roos went to college at Eastern Washington. So that’s fun.

1:49

Golden Tate gets hit in the head on his way out of bounds during a tackle. Multiple penalties not called by the refs.

1:50

“We’re in Seattle. It’s not raining.” This the latest from the commentators.IT DOESN’T RAIN EVERY DAY!

1:52

Seahawks going to run into money problems at some point in time. They will have to give Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, etc. The Seahawks should have money to spend long term with Sidney Rice and Zach Miller’s respective contracts coming off the books. ‘Hawks have long-term replacements lined up with Anthony McCoy, Luke Willson, Jermaine Kerse and Doug Baldwin respectively.

1:57

Beast Mode slams it into the endzone for his fourth rushing score of the year. Incidentally, also on fourth and one on the goal line.

2:08

Steven Hauschka being tested for concussion-like symptoms on the sidelines. Or at least that’s what it looks like. Not a good thing to see, let alone from your kicker, important position that. Also carries more importance considering how superb Hauschka has been this year on kicks.

2:10

Jon Ryan warming as if to kick a late field goal. Have to wonder who emergency holder is. Was previously Ryan’s gig.

2:12

Ryan lines up for the late field goal, bad hold, botched play results in a turnover. Tennessee returns it for touchdown. The importance of special teams, and even holding, becomes clearer than ever.

Halftime

Potential 10-3 lead turns into 10-7 deficit. Sighs heavily. Also Houston lost again. They could have at least been helpful and beat St. Louis for us.

2:40

So far no semi-dejected Jake Locker sightings in the second half. On a non-related note, Seahawks have to get into a more consistent flow on offense. Too much stop and go. Tennessee is much better than advertised.

2:43

Everything goes wrong for Seattle. Sidney Rice sticks the ball forward for no apparent reason after a catch for a first down. Titans knock the unprotected ball out and recover the fumble. In the ensuing pile-up to get the ball, ‘Hawks called for a flag. Extra 15 yards added on after Tennessee recovers the fumble. Fun times indeed.

2:46

Seahawks lose the challenge on the play. Why on earth did Sidney Rice reach the ball out? I just can’t wrap my head around it.

2:47

Fitzpatrick continues to make throws that look antsy. Lots of high snaps and throws.

2:51

Derek Coleman fumbles on a catch out of the backfield, ball gets knocked strait out of bounds. Seahawks catch somewhat of a break. Second down.

2:56

Who would have thought that Russell Wilson and Ryan Fitzpatrick would be out-rushing Marshawn Lynch and Chris Johnson? Strange times.

3:06

Titans have the ball after a Hauschka field goal. Great to see the kicker back out on the field. And another Locker sighting. That’s three if you’re playing along at home. Chris Johnson continually getting stopped on nearly every run. Only 33 yards so far. At least it’s a step up from last week’s 17 yards.

3:09

Seahawks got somewhat lucky with their scheduling this year. They got the AFC South in terms of another division they had to play outside of their own. It would have been easier if Seattle got Indy and Houston, the division’s best teams at home and had to travel to the two lesser teams on the road. However, it’s better for the team going forward to face the adversity on the road. The Seahawks are always going to be favored at home. Might as well face adversity, and gain from it, on the road than win some cupcake games. This will likely help the team in the playoffs and moving forward. Also the telecast just showed a seagull flying across the field. Strange.

3:10

Chris Johnson looks shaken up after a long screen play. Titans look short after Darius Reynaud tried to slam it in there for a first down on third and short. Titans going for it.

3:15

Tight end Luke Willson makes a nice block on a long run from Robert Turbin. The rookie has shown well in the running and passing game so far. Boy can Pete Carroll and friends draft ‘em.

3:20

Hauschka kicks a field goal to put the team up 13-10. 11:23 left in the game. Seahawks will get a test here in terms of closing out a close game.

3:23

RICHARD SHERMAN YOU ARE RIDICULOUS. The league’s best cornerback gets another pick. No dejected Locker shots following the pick. Seahawks back to work on offense.

3:25

The Seahawks outgaining the Titans 188 to 33 in terms of total yards. A huge turnaround from first half when they only outgained the Titans 153 to 121. Another example of Pete Carroll’s ability to make adjustments at half time. Not a terrible thing to have in your back pocket.

3:30

Sidney Rice makes a ridiculous catch on the sidelines, keeping both feet in bounds while falling out of bounds. That and a Beast Mode touchdown the next play equals a 20-10 lead for Seattle.

3:35

After signing Sidney Rice and trading for Percy Harvin, the team has now taken the Vikings top two offensive weapons, at the time, not named Adrian Peterson. Watch out Minnesota, we’re coming for Cordarelle Paterson in 2015.

3:41

Earl Thomas absolutely losing it after applying a big hit on Damian Williams. Sprints 30 yards and then knocks over Kam Chancellor. Did I mention all this was on an incompletion?

3:44

Another dejected Locker shot. That’s four.

3:45

Five on the dejected Locker shots.

3:46

A field goal pulls Tennessee within a score. Tennessee now has a dilemma whether to kick off and play the timeout game or to onside it. They kick it long and Jermaine Kearse rips off a big return.

3:53

Seahawks have to keep getting first downs and run down the clock. As I say this, Lynch rips off a big game. Six is the count on the Locker shots.

3:55

Seattle lines up in victory formation, runs the clock out. Game over. Seahawks move to 5-1. Next up for Seattle is Thursday in Arizona. Yikes. Crowd chanting “hey, hey, hey goodbye.” Got to love it.

You can see the piece in it’s entirety at Kingdome here.

What We Learned From the Seahawks Win, Plus a Playoff Preview and the Great NFL Coaching Purge

Will the record holder for most touchdown passes in a rookie season please stand up?

Russell Wilson continued to scribble out portions of the Seahawks’ record book, and the NFL’s for that matter, and write himself in. Wilson now has tied Peyton Manning for the most touchdown passes thrown in a rookie season. Not something people would have expected for a Quarterback who was selected after five other QBs, one of whom isn’t even starting (Brock Oswiler is Manning’s backup.)

It Doesn’t Come Cheap

(That sounds nothing like any kind of title, it’s mainly there to make my other bolded title look better by default.)

The Seahawks demolished the Cardinals, Bills and 49ers in recent weeks. Maybe you heard. Point is that another blowout probably wasn’t going to be beneficial, at least for the playoffs. The Seahawks had to work for this win. That will be nice when the playoffs roll around and teams won’t be losing by astronomical amounts.

Playoffs

“Playoffs? Don’t talk about—playoffs?! You kidding me?! Playoffs?!”

That would be Jim Mora talking about, you guessed it, the playoffs. Yes, the glorious playoffs are here. We all get to wait and see who delivers the play of the postseason. Last season it might have been Kyle Williams’ muffed special-team handling, maybe Mario Manningham’s Super Bowl catch. The year before that, gave us Marshawn Lynch’s brilliant touchdown run against the Saints. Hopefully this year someone will provide us with a play that belongs in the same breath as the Lynch run or David Tyree’s catch. Because frankly, as much as I just amped up the Manningham catch and Williams’ trouble holding onto the ball, those plays are summed up in one word: anticlimactic.

The playoffs are a different animal this year in the NFC and almost the same relative animal in the AFC. The “National” Conference returns only Green Bay, Atlanta and San Francisco from last years’ playoffs with Seattle, Washington and Minnesota as the newcomers. The AFC meanwhile has the exact same lineup (Houston and Cincinnati played in the 3-6 game last year and will do the same this weekend, they must love playing each other) with the sole difference being Indianapolis taking Pittsburgh’s slot.

In the first round of the playoffs, I think Andrew Luck is going to win many a playoff game in his career, but I can’t see the Ravens losing this game. Not with it being a home game, not with it potentially being Ray Lewis’ last game, not with it being possibly Lewis’ last home game period, win or lose. The Ravens will beat the Colts 33-21.

The Bengals will definitely be more competitive than in last year’s 31-10 romp. That being said, I don’t think the Bengals can keep up with the Texans top-ten ranked offense and defense. Houston wins 24-14 over Cincinnati.

Over in the NFC I like the Vikings to beat the Packers. The Vikings won last week over Green Bay, and nothing says momentum like beating a team and then playing them again. Adrian Peterson could very well have another field day. It will be a surefire win if the Vikings’ 9th-ranked pass defense can bottle up Aaron Rodgers, Bahia Verde’s (that’s Spanish for “Green Bay” for all you folks at home) 20th-ranked run offense could stick out like Clay Bennett in Seattle. Minnesota wins 27-21.

The Great Coaching Purge: NFL

It’s being dubbed “Black Monday,” but the day that a good portion of the league lost coaches was mainly due to lack of quarterbacks. Arizona, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Kansas City, San Diego and Philadelphia all made changes. All of those teams, with the exception of Chicago (Lovie Smith probably got fired for not getting it done in the postseason, or even getting there) and maybe San Diego, have serious long-term questions at the quarterback position.

I’ll check in next week with the divisional round preview. See you then.