LAST WEEK STRAIGHT UP: 11-4
LAST WEEK vs. SPREAD: 8-7
SEASON STRAIGHT UP: 115-60-1
SEASON vs. SPREAD: 87-89
So, the NFC West effectively decided, their playoff chances all but extinguished, the Seahawks entertain the league-best 9-1 Arizona Cardinals at Century Link today. And, season records notwithstanding, the matchups are not encouraging....for the Cardinals.
-Me, a week ago
I told a friend at church this past Sunday that the Champs would either lose to the Cards and Niners or we would beat them both. By this Sunday evening we could be a game up on San Fran and a game back of Arizona with the proverbial wind at our backs. And with no true dominant team in the NFC this year, momentum at the right time may be all it takes to get back to the promised land once again.
-Me, three days ago
I'd say I pretty much nailed them both, didn't I?
What a difference a week can make, much less two. Going into the Kansas City game, the last seven games of the season looked like a murderers' row in which the Champs would be doing well to win three games at most, with the not inconceivable possibility of losing six in a row, and maybe even a seven game skid to close the season with a losing record. 9-7 looked like the best outcome, and that mediocre a record would certainly not get them back to the playoffs.
Now? We're a game up on San Fran and a game and a half back of Arizona with the proverbial wind at our backs, and who knows what can happen in an NFC with, as I said a few days ago, no truly dominant team? Much has been written the last few days about the team meeting after the Chiefs loss where the 'hawks came back together, re-cemented the "We're all we got/We're all we need!" bond that was at the core of their championship run a year ago. And now, almost suddenly, the Champs have that same swagger back, as even the humble, unassuming quarterback Russell Wilson put it earlier this week.
Especially on (#1) defense. Just ask the 49ers, suffocated to a humiliating 164 total yards, 43 on the ground. Ask running back Frank Gore, stuffed for 28 yards on 10 carries. Ask quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who only got into triple-figures in passing yardage late in fourth-quarter garbage time and threw two more picks to All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman. Ask Coach Jim Harbaugh, who looked uncharacteristically shell-shocked in his post-game presser. It was that comprehensive an ass-kicking.
The 19-3 final score didn't reflect it because, as usual, Seattle's offense can move the ball between the twenties but invariably bogs down in the red zone. Kicker Steven Hauschka kicked eight field goals in five days. No big deal against two bottom-half NFL offenses, but it probably won't cut it at Philadelphia next week against the Eagles' #4-ranked offense.
But that's for next week. Today I'm going to flip back and forth between Patriots-Packers and Cardinals-Falcons, root for the Pats and (other) Red-birds, and enjoy the show.
[Straight up picks indicated by asterisk (*); picks against the spread in parentheses (x).]
New England* (+3)
Kansas City* (+1)
N.Y. Giants* (-2.5)
St. Louis* (-7)