Sunday, December 20, 2015

NFL Week 15 Predictions

by JASmius


SEASON vs. SPREAD: 112-96

Another week, another blowout victory.  I'm starting to remember how easy - and nice - it was to get used to this.  And given that next up is the #30-ranked Cleveland Browns and their feckless, sideline-flipper-offer, Snickers-snarfing signal-caller at the Clink today, I'm booking Seattle's fifth straight victory right now.

The bigger picture concern is, as usual, the injuries that are piling up.  Losing rookie running back Thomas Rawls (aka Beast Mode, Jr.) to a season-ending broken ankle (with ligament damage, Intern G-hart helpfully adds) is a huge blow given the production he was providing in the 'hawks' run-first offensive attack and the uncertainty of when, or if, Marshawn Lynch will be able to return this season from his sports hernia surgery.  We've re-signed Christine Micheal after he bounced around the league this season, since he already knows the 'hawks' offense, but, well, he bounced around the league this season after getting cut in training camp traded to Dallas with the addition of Mr. Rawls, and he never started in the preceding two seasons, so draw your own conclusions.

On the defensive side of the ball, defensive tackle Jordan Hill is out (again) with a toe injury, and all-pro strong safety Kam Chancellor - Captain Holdout, if you'll recall - is a game-time decision with what's being described as a "pelvis injury" that they had hoped he'd shake off by this past Friday, to no avail.  He's probably out today by that baseline, but as this thing is unfolding, who's to say that it isn't a bigger problem than just week-to-week?  We don't need Bam-Bam against the lowly Browns, but in a couple of weeks down at the Toaster, and in the playoffs?  Yeah, we do.

Just as a third straight Super Bowl run looked to be shaping up, back come the doubts.

But the reason for that "New Hope" (still waiting for the check, Disney) is the top-rated passer in the National Football League.  No, not Peyton Manning, not Tom Brady, not Aaron Rodgers, not Drew Brees, not Andy Dalton, but, "Yeah, that's right, I said it!"....Russell Wilson.  Look it up for yourself.  During this four game winning streak, the Eighty-Seven Million Dollar Man has put up annualized numbers of over forty-five hundred yards, sixty-four touchdown passes, zero interceptions, and a 77% completion percentage.  After losing all-pro tight end Jimmy Graham to a season-ending patella tendon tear against the Steelers three weeks ago, RW3 hasn't missed a beat.  Suddenly wide receiver "Angry Doug" Baldwin isn't so "pedestrian" anymore.  Rookie wideout Tyler Lockett is lighting up opposing defenses like a Christmas tree.  It continues to be a sight to behold, and so thoroughly enjoy that after each game these days I have an overpowering urge to smoke a cigarette, for some strange reason.

Is this a "coming out party" for the Alaska Airlines Chief Football Officer?  Not necessarily.  I think he's always been capable of putting the offense on his back and carrying the team; he's just never had to fully do that before.  And now - and I know what I said about our O-line earlier in the season, but damn it, back then it was true - he's actually getting decent pass protection to where he can actually sit back in the pocket and pick defenses apart like a master.

As I say, it is a sight to behold, and an offensive dimension that the rest of the league has to quakingly fear, because now opposing defenses can't just stack the box with eight defenders, or with seven and put a "spy" on Wilson, and consider the Seahawks stopped.  For three-plus seasons he's beaten team after team with his legs, or with his legs and his arm; now he's doing it with JUST his arm.  And if the Seattle offense can be this productive without the league's best running attack, and with the league's best defense....

Well, nobody is going to want to draw us in the playoffs.

But I do hope Beast Mode can get back on the field in the next two weeks.

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?

Jacksonville* (-3.5)

Arizona* (-3.5)

Washington (+0)

Carolina* (-6)
N.Y. Giants

Chicago (+5)

Cincinnati* (-4)
San Francisco

Seattle* (-14.5)

Pittsburgh* (-6)

Green Bay* (-3)

Houston* (+1)

Kansas City* (-7.5)

San Diego* (-1)

New England* (-14)


Detroit* (+3)
New Orleans

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