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Posts Tagged ‘seattle seahawks’

Sunday’s NFL playoff undercard is a matchup that you immediately want to write off as one-sided.  The Seahawks, who still don’t have a .500 record after winning a playoff game, travel to Chicago to face the Bears, who finished the season 11-5 and had a bye last week.  But after what the Seahawks were able to do against the defending champion Saints in the Wild Card round you cannot write them off.  Add to that the fact that Seattle has already won in Chicago this year, 23-20 in week six, and this game becomes a whole lot more interesting.

Cedric Tillman at snowy Soldier Field

Cedric Tillman and the Bears defense will not be the pushovers that the Saints were.

The Seahawks have demonstrated a lot of resolve by beating the Rams and Saints in consecutive weeks with their backs against the wall.  Very few NFL observers picked them to win either game.  Last Saturday night against New Orleans it was Matt Hasselbeck who had one of the finest games of his career, completing 22 of 35 passes for 272 yards and four touchdowns.  And it was Buffalo castoff Marshawn Lynch who clinched the game with a determined 67-yard touchdown run that thwarted the Saints fourth quarter comeback attempt.

Chicago had its doubters throughout the season, especially after that home loss to Seattle was followed by another home loss to Washington.  But they solidified their need areas during the bye week and finished the season winning seven of their last nine games against a tough schedule. 

The Seahawks win if: They can exploit the Bears’ formerly struggling offensive line to sack Jay Cutler and force him to rush his passes.  The Bears allowed 56 sacks this season, more than any other team in the NFL.  The Seahawks defense was in the top half of the league with 37 sacks and were led by Chris Clemons who had 11.  Seattle had six sacks in the first matchup.

The Bears win if: They take care of the ball and do not turn it over.

Who do I like: Bears 27-13

Why: The Bears team the Seahawks will play in this game is not the same team they matched up with in week six.  Chicago has solidified its offensive line and worked the running game into its offense more.  The Bears should completely shut down the Seahawks running game forcing Hasselbeck into third-and-longs that will enable their pass rush to get good pressure.  I expect the Bears to build a safe lead and cruise to the victory.

Photo source: The U.S. Army

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The NFL Playoffs start Saturday afternoon when the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks kickoff at 4:30.  These two teams played in Week 11 with the Saints dominating the Seahawks 34-19 in New Orleans.  Drew Brees threw for 382 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Saints to victory.  Matt Hasselbeck had one of his best games of the season, completing 32 of 44 passes for 366 yards.

New Orleans Saints timeout

Drew Brees and the Saints offense should have a prolific day on Saturday.

New Orleans comes into this game on a down note, having lost to Tampa Bay last week at home.  But that came right after a solid 17-14 win over the number one NFC seed and division rival Falcons.  After winning the Super Bowl last year the Saints clearly know what it takes to go all the way.  The question will be do they have the horses to do it again.

As you’ve probably heard a million times, the Seahawks are the first NFL team with a record below .500 to make the playoffs.  They lost five of their last seven games but still won the NFC West.  They certainly don’t have playoff caliber talent so I think you’ve got to give a lot of credit to head coach Pete Carroll in his first year in Seattle.

The Saints win if: They take care of the football.  Brees was second worst in the NFL with 22 interceptions.

The Seahawks win if: Leon Washington really catches fire and pulls off a miraculous three returns for touchdowns.

Who do I like: Saints 35-10

Why: New Orleans is better than Seattle at every position on the field besides special teams.  The Seahawks were 27th in the NFL in pass defense and they’ll be facing the third best passing offense in the Saints.  I think Brees will come out hot early, quiet the great Seattle crowd and New Orleans will cruise to victory.

Do you see any scenario in which the Seahawks win?  Share your thoughts by posting a comment below.

 Photo source: smoorenburg

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With the three Thanksgiving games behind us, it’s time to start getting fired up for week 12’s 12 Sunday matchups.  I’ve already individually previewed the two games I think are the most important, the Packers visiting Atlanta to play the Falcons and the Eagles taking on the Bears in Chicago.  As the playoff picture is becoming clearer there are a number of games that have important implications.  Instead of just tackling one more in-depth, I’m going to take the approach of asking one big question and providing an answer that I think will determine the result.

Air Force Honor Guard

It's almost time for NFL Week 12 to begin

Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Giants

Q: Will the Giants and Jags set an NFL record for most combined turnovers in a game?

A: No.  While Jacksonville is currently ranked 28th in the NFL in turnovers and New York is dead last, I think the Giants will finally right the ship, cut down the turnovers and get a much needed win.

Minnesota Vikings @ Washington Redskins

Q: Will the brand new head coach phenomenon propel the Vikings to victory in Washington?

A: Yes.  The Redskins really should have lost last week to the Titans but Rusty Smith was completely imcompetent.  With Leslie Frazier now at the helm, a steady dose of Adrian Peterson should be enough for the Vikings to get the W.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Seattle Seahawks

Q: Can the Chiefs steal a win in one of the toughest places to play in the NFL?

A: No.  Kansas City is 1-4 on the road while the Seahawks are 3-1 at home.  Seattle needs this game to stay on top of the NFC West and I believe the 12th man will help them get it.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Baltimore Ravens

Q: Are the Bucs legitimate contenders?

A: No, and the Ravens will handle them easily.  Tampa Bay has built up its 7-3 record against the eighth easiest schedule in the NFL.

San Diego Chargers @ Indianapolis Colts

Q: Will Philip Rivers further solidify his MVP candidacy with a win in Indianapolis on Sunday night?

A: Yes.  It surprises even me to say this but I’m taking the Chargers to beat the Colts.  San Diego is making its late season run and Rivers has been incredible with a receiving unit made up of castoffs.  With Vincent Jackson back and Ryan Mathews healthy the Chargers are very well positioned.

What are your thoughts on these five games?  Do you agree with my answers?  Am I asking the right question?  Let me know what you think by posting a comment below.

Photo source: NYCMarines

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Halloween was all treats and no tricks for me as I got to watch the Rams beat the Panthers.  It was the first time I’ve watched them since they beat the Redskins.  I saw a lot of positives and will share my observations below in the Quick Takes.

Let’s get right to the Average Guy’s NFL Week Eight Awards:

Waving the Packers flag

The Packers got a huge win on Sunday

Most Impressive Win

Green Bay Packers – 9-0 over the New York Jets

Most Important Win

San Diego Chargers – 33-25 over the Tennessee Titans

Worst Loss

Dallas Cowboys – 17-35 to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Dallas

Biggest Surprise

Oakland Raiders

Biggest Disappointment

Washington Redskins

They Are Who We Thought They Were

Arizona Cardinals

Offensive MVP

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions – 9 receptions 101 yards 3 TDs

Defensive MVP

Aqib Talib, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 45-yard interception return for TD 2 interceptions 5 tackles

Special Teams MVP

Dan Carpenter, Miami Dolphins – 5 field goals

Most Surprising Performance

Jason Campbell, Oakland Raiders – 15 completions 27 attempts 310 yards 2 TDs 120.9 QB rating

Most Disappointing Performance

Seattle Seahawks offensive line

Offensive Rookie

Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams – 25 completions 32 attempts 191 yards  TDs 112.4 QB rating

Defensive Rookie

Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions – 17-yard fumble recovery return for TD 2 sacks 5 tackles

Most Impressive Performance in a Loss

Brandon Lloyd, Denver Broncos – 7 receptions 169 yards 1 TD

Welcome Back Mike Williams

Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 4 receptions 105 yards 1 TD

Quick Takes

  • From watching the Rams I can tell you that when he gets some more talented receivers around him, Sam Bradford is going to be unbelievable.  He makes good decisions, puts the ball where it needs to be, buys time by scrambling and exhibits strong leadership.
  • I was really impressed with the Rams defense.  It has improved quite a bit just in the weeks since the win over the Redskins.  Chris Long and James Hall are getting good pressure, the linebackers are reading plays quickly and the secondary showed some good one-on-one skill and an eye for the ball.  The only concerning thing was their two-minute defense, which gave up some big plays.
  • The tackling from both the Rams and Panthers was excellent.
  • Today was Isaac Bruce day in St. Louis.  It was great to a see a player who was one of my favorites for about a decade back on the Rams’ sideline.
  • This is now almost a weekly thing – I have to give big props to Steven Jackson for being out on the field and turning in an inspired performance just four days after having surgery on his left ring finger.
  • The two games that shocked me the most – Green Bay shutting out the Jets and Oakland blowing out Seattle.
  • I think the third down conversion statistic is one of the most important stats in the game.  Consider: Buffalo converted 11 of 23 third downs and almost beat Kansas City; San Diego converted on 12 of 18 third downs and beat Tennessee; and Seattle was one of 16 on third downs and lost to Oakland.

One BIG Question

Can Mark Sanchez find the form that helped him lead the Jets to wins over the Patriots and Dolphins?

What performances did you think were Sunday’s best?  Let me know by posting a comment below.

Photo source: Paul Kehrer

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I was traveling much of Sunday so my ability to stay on top of all of the NFL happenings was limited.  By watching highlights and scanning box scores I’ve caught up on the matchups and performances of the day.  I had hoped to settle in for a great battle with the Giants and Colts playing Sunday evening, but unfortunately that game was never close.  

NFL week two was highlighted by a lot of superb individual performances on both sides of the ball.  It also featured some teams (Jets, Bengals, Colts) getting wins they really needed.  Here are the Average Guy’s NFL Week Two Awards (before the Monday night game):  

Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez led the Jets to a huge win in week two.

Most Impressive Win

 New York Jets – 28-14 over New England Patriots

Most Important Win

Cincinnati Bengals – 15-10 over Baltimore Ravens  

Worst Loss

Carolina Panthers – 7-20 to Tampa Bay Buccaneers  

Biggest Surprise Team

Chicago Bears  

Biggest Disappointment

Minnesota Vikings  

They Are Who We Thought They Were

Seattle Seahawks  

Offensive MVP

Matt Schaub, Houston Texans – 38 completions 52 attempts 497 yards 3 TDs 1 interception  

Defensive MVP

Jason Allen, Miami Dolphins – 2 interceptions 11 tackles  

Most Surprising Performance

Jason Snelling, Atlanta Falcons – 24 carries 129 yards 2 TDs 5 receptions 57 yards 1 TD  

Most Disappointing Performance

David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars – 15 completions 23 attempts 173 yards 1 TD 4 interceptions  

Offensive Rookie

Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions – 17 carries 78 yards 2 touchdowns 9 receptions 154 yards 1 TD  

Defensive Rookie

Sean Weatherspoon, Atlanta Falcons – 9 tackles 1 sack  

Most Impressive Performance in a Loss

Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins – 28 completions 38 attempts 426 yards 1 TD  

Quick Takes

  • Darren McFadden has gotten off to a good start for the Raiders.  While many of his 150 yards rushing and receiving against the Titans last week came after the game was already decided, he came back in week two with 145 yards on 30 carries in a win over the Rams.
  • A couple of rookie defensive backs had excellent stats in the Chiefs-Browns game.  Eric Berry had 7 tackles, including two for losses for Kansas City.  T.J. Ward had 11 tackles for Cleveland.
  • The Dallas offensive line is really letting them down.  With the running backs on the Cowboys roster they should be embarrassed to only gain 36 yards on 20 carries against the Bears.
  • Were the Bills auditioning Marshawn Lynch for the Packers?  After getting just three carries last week he had 17 against Green Bay on Sunday.
  • I seriously underestimated the Pittsburgh defense.  The way the Steelers D has carried them through these first two games has been extremely impressive.  They only gained 127 total yards against Tennessee today but still won the game because of their defense.

One BIG Question

The Eagles allowed Shaun Hill to throw for 335 yards?  Seriously?  Shaun Hill?  

What are your thoughts on week two?  There were a lot of excellent performances – which ones would you pick for the top awards?  

Photo source: Seamus Murray

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NFL Flag

Time to Fly the NFL Flag

The opening weekend of the NFL is always a fun one.  I had to explain to my daughters that Sunday was like Christmas for Daddy.  Unfortunately the Rams could not deliver a gift-wrapped win for me.  But on the plus side, I am perfect on my NFL week one predictions going into the Monday night games.

I watched all of the Vikings-Saints game and the Colts-Texans game.  I watched parts of many others.  Here are the Average Guy’s NFL Week One Awards (before the Monday night games):  

Most Impressive Win

New England Patriots – 38-24 over Cincinnati Bengals  

Most Important Win

Houston Texans – 34-24 over Indianapolis Colts  

Worst Loss

San Francisco 49ers – 6-31 to Seattle Seahawks  

Biggest Surprise Team

Seattle Seahawks  

Biggest Disappointment

Atlanta Falcons  

Offensive MVP

Arian Foster, Houston Texans – 33 carries 231 yards 3 TDs 1 reception 7 yards  

Defensive MVP

Adrian Wilson, Arizona Cardinals – 2 interceptions 1 sack 2 tackles  

Most Surprising Performance

Matt Forte, Chicago Bears – 7 receptions 151 yards 2 TDs and 17 carries 50 yards  

Most Disappointing Performance

Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons – 19 carries 42 yards 1 reception 7 yards  

Best Debut Performance

Aaron Kampman, Jacksonville Jaguars – 1.5 sacks 3 tackles 6 QB hurries  

Offensive Rookie

Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams – 32 completions 55 attempts 253 yards 1 TD 3 interceptions  

Defensive Rookie

Sean Weatherspoon, Atlanta Falcons – 8 tackles  

Best Coaching Debut

Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks  

Observations

  • I thought the Vikings defense played well enough to win.  They slowed down the high-powered Saints offense.  The Vikings just could not generate scoring drives.  Their passing game looked rusty, or more like they just hadn’t worked together – that’s probably because they haven’t.  I thought they should have used Adrian Peterson more in the second half.
  • Two solid performances by Saints linemen, one offense and one defense, really caught my eye – left tackle Jermon Bushrod and defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis.
  • Wes Welker looked completely healthy and ready to go for the Patriots.
  • The pass rush of the Texans was relentless all day against the Colts.  Mario Williams was constantly in Peyton Manning’s face.  What looked like a season ending injury for Connor Barwin will hurt them though.
  • The way the Texans ran the ball in the second half was also very impressive.  Arian Foster will get the pub, and he deserves it, but the offensive line did a great job opening up holes.
  • I absolutely cannot believe the Seahawks beat the 49ers the way they did.
  • If the Steelers wanted to win two games during Ben Roethlisberger’s early season absence they needed to beat the Falcons – they did, impressively.
  • The Eagles got a lot of pressure on Aaron Rodgers.  I couldn’t quite figure out if it was because their pass rush is really good or if the Packers offensive line was regressing.
  • I really liked the Eagles throwback uniforms.

One BIG Question

Is there any way that the Eagles can start Kevin Kolb over Michael Vick next week?  

What are your thoughts on the first weekend of the 2010 NFL season?  Let me know in the comments section below.  

Photo source: sixoone

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Steven Jackson Doing Work

I realize most people would not start their NFL season previews with the NFC West.  But, being the faithful St. Louis Rams fan that I am, there was no doubt where my preview of the upcoming 2010 NFL season would begin.  So let’s jump right into it and look at what can be expected in the NFC West in 2010.  

Division Winner

San Francisco 49ers

As much as it pains me to do this – I think the 49ers will be the class of the division.  They will have enough weapons on offense with Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis to support their excellent defense.   

MVP

Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers

While I think there has to be some concern that Gore will break down this year (he’s 27 with a lot of miles on the tires), the Niners should be able to spell him enough with second year back Glen Coffee to keep him fresh and effective.  An improved offensive line with rookies Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati will also help.   

Most Important Player

Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers

Like a phoenix, Smith was resurrected from the ashes last year and had a respectable season.  With San Francisco being picked by many as the favorite to win the division there will be much more pressure on him this year.  For the Niners to meet those expectations Smith has to continue to improve and to show some leadership on the field.   

Offensive Player of the Year

Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals

I expect Wells to have a breakout season for the Cardinals.  Now that Kurt Warner is no longer behind center Arizona will be moving to a more ground-based attack.  Even while sharing time with Tim Hightower, Wells will be a force to be reckoned with in the NFC West.   

Defensive Player of the Year

Patrick Willis, LB, San Francisco 49ers

This one is easy.  Willis will continue to dominate on the defensive side just as he has in his previous three years in the NFL.   

Top Newcomer   

Leon Washington, RB/KR, Seattle Seahawks 

I know it’s dangerous, but I’m going to assume that Washington recovers well from the ghastly leg injury he suffered last season.  His explosiveness out of the backfield and ability to create on special teams will be key components for the Seahawks.

Top Rookie   

Russell Okung, T, Seattle Seahawks   

I’d love to be able to pick Sam Bradford here but I think that ultimately Okung will have a better rookie season.  Many he thought he was the best tackle of a strong group entering the draft.  He “slid” a bit down to the sixth pick and Seattle was excited to add him at a very important need position.

Most Improved   

Aaron Curry, LB, Seattle Seahawks

Curry showed a great deal of promise early in the season but seemed to suffer after Lofa Tatupu was injured.  With one year under his belt and a new defensive-minded coach in Pete Carroll I expect Curry to have a breakout season.  He is just too good athletically not to.

Most Pressure   

Matt Leinart, QB, Arizona Cardinals   

So this is it.  It’s time for Leinart to either put up or shut up.  Most people thought Leinart was crazy to go back for his senior year at USC when he was being projected as the first pick in the NFL Draft.  Looking back on it we have a lot of evidence that supports that decision.  Leinart has been anything but steady during his time in the huddle over the past two seasons.  The Cardinals ability to be competitive will rely a lot on Leinart’s success in managing the game. 

Biggest Loss   

Kurt Warner, QB, Arizona Cardinals

There is no doubt that Warner will be greatly missed in Arizona.  His natural leadership and belief that he could always bring the team back were critical to the recent success of the Cardinals.  Besides his coach, the person that will miss him the most will be Larry Fitzgerald.

Let me know what you think – share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Photo source: Monica’s Dad

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