Kingdome Crossover – Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Build Up: Ella The Psychic Guinea Pig Picks the Super Bowl

Here’s the latest, and possibly greatest video of a cute animal picking the outcome of the Super Bowl. Presenting Ella the Psychic Guinea Pig.

Again, another smart animal.

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.

What We Learned from the Seahawks 50-17 Win Besides the Fact that Buffalo is Also Pitiful

It’s really not a joke. The Seahawks aren’t pulling the wool over the eyes of everyone who seems to miss their games (i.e. everyone who lives outside of the great state of Washington.) Yes, Buffalo is a bad team, and Arizona was/is too, but you can’t ignore 50-plus points in consecutive games.

  • The Record Book just won’t go away. Russell Wilson continues to take records and break them as if he was eating a sandwich for lunch. After strong play last week, Wilson now holds the record for most rushing touchdowns in a game for the Seahawks. Something he did in the first half with three rushing scores. No Seahawks QB has ever rushed for that many touchdowns in an entire game.
  • Read Option. The Seahawks continually used the “Read Option” to their advantage on Sunday. On the play, Wilson receives the snap with Marshawn Lynch to his right in the backfield. If it looks better for Wilson to run it himself, then he fakes the handoff to Lynch and goes behind Lynch with the ball. If the play looks like the team would get more out of it if Lynch ran it, then Wilson simply hands off the ball. The point of the play is that the QB makes the split-second decision on what would work best. Hence it being called the “Read Option.” The Seahawks used this play to continually rip off huge gains versus a porous Bills’ defense.
  • Passing Dan Marino. Last week I told you with one more touchdown Russell Wilson would pass Dan Marino in terms of number of passing touchdowns in a rookie season. With his TD pass to Zach Miller, Wilson moved his total to 21, passing Marino’s 20.
  • Win and You’re In. The Seahawks can clinch at least a wild card berth with a win on Sunday against San Francisco. The Seahawks would clinch the number two seed in the playoffs, and receive the first round bye that comes with it, if they beat the Niners and Rams to close out the year. And, if the 49ers lose both of their remaining games, and if Green Bay loses one of its last two games. Plus, they would get home field advantage at home in the divisional round (they’re 6-0 at the Clink this year.)
  •  50-50. The Seahawks are now one of three teams in NFL history to score at least 50 points in two straight games. This feat hasn’t been accomplished since the 50’s. This is fantastic for a team who was 28th in the league in total offense last year. Other quarterbacks who have yet to accomplish this or haven’t: Tom Brady (very surprising,) Peyton Manning (equally surprising,) Dan Marino, Brett Favre, Steve Young, Joe Montana, John Elway ( I think you see my point.)
  • Winning. The Seahawks now have tied their highest win total since 2006, the year before they went to the Super Bowl. That team was 9-7.

Super Bowl Worthy? I posed this question last week, and now it should be a given. The Seahawks are Super Bowl worthy. Finally.

What We Learned From the Seahawks 58-0 Win Besides the Fact that Arizona is Pitiful

It just kept going and going and going and going…the score traveling north for the Seattle Seahawks when they used the Arizona Cardinals as a doormat in route to a 58-0 win on Sunday. This comes as perfect timing for Seattle as it gives them the ultimate confidence booster (cliché, but true) going into their last “road” game of the season as well as their final three games overall, which will be split between Buffalo (in Toronto) and the Clink (the 49ers and Rams come to town) respectively.

But, this is what we learned from the game-

  • Russell Wilson deserves due consideration for Rookie of the Year. Yes, Andrew Luck is great and RGIII lights up teams with his arm and legs, but that was expected out of the top two picks in the NFL Draft. I don’t think anyone outside of the Puget Sound expected this out of a quarterback who didn’t even have his name in the starting quarterback battle “hat,” if you will. (Remember Matt Flynn and Tavaris Jackson? Flynn got his first snaps of the year in mop-up duty and Jackson is in Buffalo.)
  • More Wilson praise.  According to Pro Football Reference, Wilson has the same number of touchdown passes as Dan Marino had in his first full season. That number would be 20. That’s also more than Troy Aikman, Joe Montana, John Elway, Steve Young and Joe Namath had in their respective first full seasons.
  • The team is finally legitimate. The Seahawks were the laughing stock of the league when they qualified for the playoffs with a losing record at 7-9. But we took it to the league and the Saints in the wild-card round by stunning the defending Super Bowl champs at home. Nonetheless, the “laughing stock” talk is nonexistent as Seattle sits at 8-5 and will likely make the playoffs as either a wild-card team or as a division winner.
  • Quality Wins. Back in 2010, during the 7-9 season, Seattle beat one singular playoff team in the regular season, the Chicago Bears. Their only other out of conference win was against the pre-Cam Newton era Panthers. This season is loads different. The team walloped contenders such as the Cowboys, Jets and Vikings as well as securing close wins over Super Bowl hopefuls Green Bay, New England and Chicago.
  • Home Field Advantage. Seattle is really good at home. 6-0 in fact. Part of that has to do with Russell Wilson being phenomenal at home. He’s only thrown one interception there all season (Eli Manning had two picks at home last week alone.) And the other part has to do with the team being so good and the crowd being so loud. The Seahawks beat Green Bay, New England, Arizona, Dallas, New York and Vikings at home. I’d be cautious if I were an opposing team thinking they could come in to the Clink and get a win, especially in the playoffs.

So what do you think? Are the Seahawks Super Bowl worthy?

(Hint: I think they are.)

Who is the Greatest Number 12 in Sports History?

In honor of 12 day, who is the greatest athlete to wear number 12 on their jersey?

Is it John Stockton? Tom Brady? Maybe Terry Bradshaw?

 

Or you could go with the wild card in the Seahawks’ 12th man.

What do you think?

Taking the Wind Out of the 49ers Sails: Why They Aren’t the Best Team In Football, or Even Their Own Division

If I had a nickel for every time the San Francisco 49ers were lauded for praise for their play in the first two weeks of the season, I might have more nickels than Mitt Romney.

(See here, I can do political stuff, too!)

If you aren’t a 49ers die-hard fan who has the right to think their team is the best, as all die-hards do, then I’m going to stop you from ponying up any more money on them in Vegas.

Continue reading

Thanks David Stern (sarcasm, sarcasm, a little passive aggressiveness and, wait for it … sarcasm)

Have you been watching the NBA playoffs? Have you seen the Oklahoma City Raiders, as the politically correct people call them? Have you seen how good Kevin Durant is? Have you seen Russell Westbrook go bananas? Have you seen James Harden’s beard? And have you seen Seattle?

I cringe at the fact that the Raiders are so good. Actually, take that back, I do think they are a decent NBA team, it’s just the constant feeling that they could have been in Seattle. Coulda, shoulda, woulda. They could be the talk of Seattle now, instead the talk of Seattle probably includes the word Robbed.

Take that word and flip it into whatever synonym you see fit, because we were robbed.

It continually kills me to see the Raiders succeed. Yes, that’s right; I’m to the point of not mentioning their name.

It’s not as if this is a city like New York, or Dallas where all of the sports teams generally succeed. The Yankees seemingly always make the playoffs. The Giants won the whole thing last year, and the Jets aren’t too bad either. And in Dallas, the Mavericks went from perennial playoff squad to title winners last year. The Rangers have won the last two AL pennants.

The point with that last blip is that the pill is easier to swallow if a team leaves, and if the other professional teams in and around the area are playing at a high level.

Which brings us to our next point. Where have the big playoff moments been in Seattle? The Storm won a title in the WNBA and the Sounders are a really good side, but our last big-nationally-talked-about-you’ll-remember-where-you-where-when-it-happened-moment was when Marshawn Lynch unleashed the beast and went on a smash-and-dash 67 yard run to clinch the win over the defending champion Saints in the playoffs. And that’s coming up on two years ago. Before that it was a Seahawks Super Bowl should-have-been-win that was botched by officiating, and before that we have to go back to “the Double” by Edgar Martinez. And that’s going back a ways.

But to get back on topic, Stern and his joined-at-the-hip buddy Clay Bennett have robbed us of a successful, Big 4 (that’s MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL) team. One that would have taken the city to a whole new level of sports pandemonium. Instead we are forced to sit and watch the Raiders succeed.

Stern and Bennett not only took away our team, they took away a team that is pretty darn good. And one that might be that good for a while.

One of my favorite moments in Sonicgate is when they flash to a kid showing a sign that reads: “Clay Bennett Ruined My Childhood.”

What we should remember here is that it isn’t just Bennett’s fault. The blame falls on others shoulders as well, people like Greg Nickles and Howard Schultz. But the main culprit not named Bennett is Stern.

Isn’t it funny that when we had the Sonics situation on our hands, David Stern barely lifted a finger? And then when we see Sacramento’s arena deal and team security thrown into uncertainty, Stern does almost everything godly possible to keep the team in Sacramento. He practically got them another year in Sacramento. And that’s the problem. He is in love with small markets.

I know everyone and their dog are rooting for the Raiders in the playoffs in and around the Oklahoma area, and the revenue off that is great and all, but wouldn’t you look a lot better if that were in say, Seattle?

Anyways, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Bennett ruined my childhood. You see, my childhood has been great to this point. But I was in middle school when the Sonics left. I even wrote an essay on it for English class, saying why the Sonics should stay and all that. But that one year in middle school was also the year I really got into basketball. I mean I played it at every waking hour at school when I didn’t have classes. I was, and still am, obsessed with it. And that’s the sad thing. I never got to go to see the Sonics in person and barely saw them on TV. I’ve gone the last Andre-the-Giant-sized handful of years without an NBA team. Because the Sonics left I shifted my attention to the college ranks to get my winter basketball fill. Washington wasn’t amazing at the time so I watched a lot of Gonzaga and Washington State, seeing them both make the NCAA tourney.

And that’s just the thing today. For folks to get their local basketball fix their options are UW, WSU, Gonzaga and Seattle U. That’s it in the state. Seattle U is making the transition back to D1, and WSU and Gonzaga are on the other side of the Cascade Mountains. Not too many people are going to make that trek 2-3 times a week from the Puget Sound area to see basketball. Which leaves us with the Huskies. This is the first team in NCAA history not to make the tourney after winning the regular season championship in a power conference. They lost to South Dakota State by 19…

Let me say that again. They lost to South Dakota State by nineteen whole points!

I tend to get caught up in baseball over the summer, so that makes it a bit hard to follow the Storm intensely.

So, thanks to Stern and his little buddy Bennett (and some others) the biggest basketball draw in the Pacific Northwest over the winter and spring is a team that lost to South Dakota State by 19 points. Did I mention it was at home? Maybe if the Raiders win a ring and the NBA doesn’t come back to Seattle soon you very well may have ruined my childhood, Bennett and Stern.

NFL Championship Round Preview and Picks

Tebow Mania has been put to sleep for the offseason. The Texans came within a touchdown of beating a good Ravens team with their third string QB. The Saints lost to the 49ers in a whirlwind last couple minutes. And oh yeah, the defending champs got shellacked by the New York Giants.

Enough of last week, it’s now that great time of year when everyone looks an idiot for picking the two best teams to be in the Super Bowl, and as it ends up both are out by the divisional round.

And as the field shrinks by the week we still have the possibility to have the most boring Super Bowl in recent history, where more people tune in for the commercials than the actual game. Yes that’s right, we could still have a “Harbaugh Bowl”. Wouldn’t that be terrible? A dismal offense (San Francisco) against one that is OK (Baltimore), also a lot of big hits and a defensive showdown with probably a couple broken arms along the way (maybe I’m over exaggerating).

Or we could have the two better offenses (New England and New York) duke it out 2008 style.

This is probably starting to sound a bit like a Super Bowl preview. It’s not. The two teams aren’t determined yet. And frankly that’s why we play the game.

NFC

Alex Smith is a game manager. Just thought I’d get that into everyone’s head who doesn’t believe it. This isn’t a guy who racks up big numbers some games that are offset by bad games. Overall this makes his numbers “mediocre”, but his team gets it done, hence the “game manger” tag. This guy is not that (if that made any sense whatsoever), he’s a QB who isn’t relied on a ton by his team. This team relies on Frank Gore and because of Gore, the play action. San Francisco probably has and had the worst wide receiver core (remember Vernon Davis is a tight end) of any playoff team and maybe one of the worst in the league. Michael Crabtree is the only wide out who is going to make opposing coaches lose sleep. And that’s more of a wake-up-for-five-minutes-to-get-a-glass-of-water kind of lost sleep. And no one can stress the importance of their defense… yadda yadda yadda. If they struggle against Eli Manning it might be a long day for San Fran fans (corny, I know).

Prediction: New York Giants 24 San Francisco 49ers 20

AFC

Ray Rice needs the ball. Ray Rice needs to gash the Patriots front seven so Joe Flacco can thrash the Patriots porous defensive secondary. If Ray Rice can’t get it going and Flacco struggles. Ehh. Tom Brady will have some problems with Baltimore’s D early, but eventually will probably have his way with them as he does with all defenses.  Baltimore needs to slow down Gronk, Wes Welker and all of Brady’s other weapons in order to have a shot at winning. They also need to score points. 20 against New England probably isn’t going to cut it (if it does, joke’s on me).  If Joe Flacco can exploit the Pats’ D then the Ravens will have a very good chance to win this game. In the end, I think Flacco will respond to the criticism and have a good day. It probably won’t be enough to slow down Tom Brady and the Pats.

Prediction:  New England Patriots 35 Baltimore Ravens 17

NFL Divisional Round Preview

Tebow-Mania, Big Blue, the Frozen Tundra, Houston’s First Playoff Appearance and Drew Brees’s passing records.

That’s what you’re going to hear a lot about this week as the NFL playoffs take somewhat of a center stage. Your ears will also tend to pick up a lot of the entire Josh McDaniels situation with New England, Baltimore’s surging defense and the offensively challenged San Francisco 49ers.

The first game that the nation, and world for that matter, will see is New Orleans versus San Francisco. The Saints have a prolific offense led by the record-setting Brees as well as big receiving threats Jimmy Graham and Robert Meachem. Devery Henderson and Lance Moore provide very good fourth and fifth options for a team that can also role out a stable of talented running backs with speed man Darren Sproles, talented back Pierre Thomas and slam back Chris Ivory. All those weapons plus an underrated D make the Saints a sneaky Super Bowl pick.

Now to the other sideline: San Francisco. Due to my heavy biased approach to Seattle I have to bash the Niners a little bit, or a lot. I’d be an idiot to say San Fran’s D isn’t good. It’s a very good defensive team with some excellent linebackers like NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis. Carlos Rogers and Donte Whitner were and are excellent free agent finds for Jim Harbaugh. Then we get to the other side of the ball, ehhh. Frank Gore is a perennial Pro Bowl player who consistently racks up big games. And he’s great, don’t get me wrong. But he’s the Niners’ crutch. Everything runs through him. If he’s off then the 49ers will have a lot of problems. Alex Smith is a game manager. I know it, you know it, hell even Harbaugh probably knows it. He isn’t going to light up the score board, more or less he’s going to lite it up. Smith hasn’t topped 300 yards once this year. That includes a schedule with teams like Tampa Bay, Washington, St. Louis (twice), Cleveland and the Eagles. Yikes. He has only put up 3 TDs once in a single game this season. That was in a 48-3 win over Tampa in which he managed only 170 yards. When you score 48 points you should probably have a little more than 170 passing yards. Vernon Davis is a solid tight end, Michael Crabtree is a viable option, but is likely only the third or fourth option if he were on the Saints team.

Prediction: Saints 48 49ers 21

Now we finally get to Mr. Tebow. Tebow prevailed against the defending AFC champs in round one. Granted the Steelers were banged up, a win is a win, especially in the playoffs. Denver takes its rag tag bunch into New England to face a Patriots team that made a hiring that is curious to say the least. First, let’s set it up for people who have lived under a rock for the last couple years. Denver’s head coach is John Fox. Denver hired him after firing Josh McDaniels. McDaniels went on to run the offense in St. Louis this season before he was hired by the New England Patriots as their Offensive Coordinator for next year seeing as they will lose their current one to be the next head coach at Penn State. Did I mention that McDaniels was hired after the season ended? And he will serve as an offensive assistant or something of the like for the rest of the playoffs. You make the call on the shady-ness of that one.

New England, amid all that hoopla, has a guy named Tom Brady. Not sure if you’ve heard of him. They also roll out an offense that might only be rivaled by those in New Orleans and Green Bay (certainly not San Francisco). The Pats do have a porous D that could pose problems for New England.

Denver has the underdog factor. That, Tebow, a resurgent Willis McGahee and a strong defense makes for a nice upset pick of sorts. The underdog’s luck has run out in the divisional rounds in recent years. It’s also hard to pick against Tom Brady and a full arsenal of weapons with the man they call Gronk at the forefront.

Prediction: New England 35 Denver 23

Houston and Baltimore, your playoff rookies and playoff vets, this one probably screams blowout for a number of reasons. One, the Ravens have one of the better defenses in the league. Two, Houston is down to their third string QB and has been forced to sign Jake Delhome and Jeff Garcia as a result. No typo there, Jeff Garcia is the Texans third string QB. But they do have a very effective running game with the dynamic duo of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. That also gives them an extremely efficient play action attack that is one of the better ones in the league, TJ Yates or no. Oh yeah, Andre Johnson is also their number one receiver.

Baltimore’s defense is very good. Their offense is the key. Ray Rice, is the key to their offense. So to boil it down, Ray Rice is the key. In a loss in Seattle, Rice got five carries and lost 22-17. Rice needs to get it going if Baltimore is going to have any chance at winning. This is going to be a grind it out game, lots of running and lots of defense. Look for the Ravens running and D to prevail.

Prediction: Baltimore 23 Houston 17

The defending Super Bowl Champs are taking on the G-Men. The Giants held, or rather gave, the Falcons all of two points in the opening round. The Packers on the other hand sat and watched the wildcard round in the comforts of their own homes.  New York has a lot of weapons to surround Eli Manning, while they aren’t near the level of the weapons that Aaron Rodgers has, they’re good weapons. Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, upstart Victor Cruz and the two-headed running back monster of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs.

The Packers roll out tons of weapons that go right at the other defenses: Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley, (go ahead catch your breath, there’s more) Donald Driver, Randal Cobb, James Starks and John Kuhn. So to sum that up, the Pack can score. Their defense on the other hand is the key. Their D has been a struggling unit. They are good against the run (14th), but their passing defense is last in the league. Yep, last.

This is going to be a passing clinic. The Packers are last in pass D and the Giants are 29th. It doesn’t help when the two guys at QB are both pro bowlers. Like I said, this is going to be a shoot out.

Prediction: Green Bay 42 New York 35