LAST WEEK STRAIGHT UP: 9-7
LAST WEEK vs. SPREAD: 6-10
SEASON STRAIGHT UP: 156-84
SEASON vs. SPREAD: 129-111
Which means that after we get done scalping the 'Skins, we're most likely coming to Charlotte for our "receipt". And that next week's NFC West rematch at the Toaster is quite possibly an NFC Championship sneak preview.
That was a great final third of the season, a helluva five-game run - record-breaking, as I've discussed in recent weeks - and a harkening back to the 2013-2014 days of glory. But whether it was another juggernaut steamrolling into and through the playoffs like the past two seasons or just finally getting to feast on a stretch of weak opponents after having had the toughest schedule in the league for the first half of the season remained to be seen.
Last week we saw. Dismayingly. Depressingly. The Rams are always a tough matchup for us, especially at their place, but up here at Century Link, we usually handle them. Not this time. We actually got swept by the bleeping, woebegone St. Louis Rams, who suck ass against pretty much every other team in the league, for the first time in eleven seasons. And for the same reasons we lost to them in Week 1: The LOB couldn't get stops when we needed them, and the offensive line, which had actually been decent during the now-distant-memory win streak, reverted to its early season mis-form, we couldn't run the ball at all (especially with Thomas Rawls out for the year with a broken ankle and Marshawn Lynch not back from abdominal surgery yet - not that either would have made much of a difference trying to punch through a brick wall), Russell Wilson was once again running for his life and on one sack came up gimpy, though fortunately he was able to walk it off. Even the bounces refused to go our way, as on what proved to be the Rams' winning touchdown drive, they fumbled twice in close succession and not only did they recover both of them, but they gained additional yardage in the process.
Other record-long streaks came to a brutal end last Sunday. Seattle failed to lead in a game for the first time since the 2011 season. The Seahawks' streak of having one hundred yards rushing as a team ended at twenty-five games. And Seattle lost at home for the third time in a single season, the first time since, yes, 2011.
And this week? We get our rematch with the best team in the NFL, the guaranteed Super Bowl L champions, and the team that most resembles ourselves from two years ago, the NFC West Champion Arizona Cardinals:
POWER RANKING: #1
TOTAL OFFENSE: #1
RUSHING OFFENSE: #6
PASSING OFFENSE: #3
TOTAL DEFENSE: #5
RUSHING DEFENSE: #4
PASSING DEFENSE: #7
At their place. With them having top seed in the NFC possibly on the line. Without Marshawn Lynch, Thomas Rawls, Paul Richardson, Ricardo Lockette, Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson, Cooper Helfet (i.e. we have no healthy tight ends on the roster), Kam Chancellor, Jordan Hill, possibly Michael Bennett....
Here, by the way, is the only streak the 'hawks have left: The last time we lost a game by more than ten points was on October 30th, 2011, at Century Link, 34-12 to the Cincinnati Bengals. Four years, two months, and four days. It's become the trademark of the Pete Carroll-era Seahawks: It's difficult to beat us, but if you do, it won't be by much. We compete to the end. We, plainly and simply, do not get blown out.
Remember during our first big run down the stretch in 2012, one of which was a 58-0 beatdown we laid on the Cardinals up here at the Clink? Bruce Ariens, Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, et al are going to exceed it. They're not going to take the pedal off the medal until they hang a hundred on us and keep us from getting across our own twenty yard line, and force a dozen turnovers, and put our entire roster on injured reserve, and get Pete Carroll fired, and force Paul Allen to sell the team to Clayton Bennett and move it to Oklahoma City alongside the NBA franchise he stole from us, and....
Well, you get the idea.
And then we get to go one and done in the playoffs. What a great send-off for Marshawn Lynch, huh?
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?
New England* (-8.5)
Kansas City* (-7)
N.Y. Giants* (-3.5)
St. Louis* (-3.5)