LAST WEEK STRAIGHT UP: 13-3
LAST WEEK vs. SPREAD: 10-6
SEASON STRAIGHT UP: 30-18
SEASON vs. SPREAD: 26-22
To think that if the Steelers had a kicker with two legs, I'd have gotten my upset special on Thursday. But that's why kickers are almost never heroes and are almost always goats. Just ask Super Bowl champion Scott Norwood.
There's not a whole lot to say about the Seahawks' 26-0 blanking of the Chicago Bears at the Clink anymore than there was their 27-17 loss in Green Bay the week before that. Just as nobody expected us to hang one on Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau, where he never loses, so nobody thought Seattle wouldn't, or was even capable of not, breaking through into the win column against once of the worst teams in professional football. And so we didn't and did, respectively.
But it was still hugely underwhelming, although all on the offensive side of the ball. With Kam Chancellor back, the Legion of Boom was back, which is why the Bears punted on all ten of their possessions. Although the lack of a single turnover - and, if memory serves, the absence of a single interception in the first twelve quarters of the season - is more than a little concerning.
But let's talk about the offense. Let's talk about Seattle only being up 6-0 at halftime. Let's talk about Marshawn Lynch's nagging injuries that are beginning to become a bigger deal than just missing a first quarter here and there (back, calf, hamstring pull). Let's talk about the slow starts that, while I get the part about finishing being more important, are still a recipe for falling behind and making how they finish irrelevant. And let's talk about the difficulties they're having getting all-pro tight end Jimmy Graham involved in the offense beyond his being a mediocre blocker at best.
Sure, burgeoning Rookie of the Year candidate Tyler Lockett's 105-yard second half kickoff return for a touchdown (his second in three weeks) opened the floodgates, and Graham wound up with seven catches for eighty-three yards, and rookie tailback Thomas Rawls rushed for 104 yards in the second half, but even then the offense could only get in the end zone once all game. And Russell Wilson got sacked four times by a Bears D-line that hadn't had a sack at all until they visited the Pacific Northwest, putting the $87.6 million man on pace to be demolished sixty-four times this season. And it only takes one of them to blow out a knee or break a shoulder and terminate this season for good, and maybe beyond.
That's why I have no real feel for the Monday Night contest at Century Link against Detroit. I'm taking the 'hawks and the points because that's what my numbers say, but I haven't seen a truly dominant performance from this team since last November. And that, frankly, is what I'm looking for. I want to see us blow the Lions' doors off, like 42-7 or worse. With another 10AM road game at undefeated Cincinnati next in the queue, the ex-Champs could really use some momentum.
Straight up picks indicated by asterisk (*); picks against the spread in parentheses (x). And no, don't bet the farm on these picks; they're just for my amusement and your aggravation. Or vice versa. We'll see how it turns out, now, won't we?
San Diego* (-7.5)
Green Bay* (-8.5)
N.Y. Jets* (-1.5)