Remember whenGolden Tate
played for the Seahawks? Yeah, so do I. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
After struggling to find their footing the first two weeks of the season, the Seattle Seahawks methodically overpowered the Chicago Bears last week and recorded their first victory of the year by a score of 26-0.
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The Seahawks earned a much-needed win – not only for their organization and fans, but for those who wagered on the prohibitive favorite to cover the 15-point spread. Rejoice, friends!
This week, Seattle hosts the scuffling Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football and are currently 10 point favorites.
The Lions come into this game 0-3 with the worst rushing offense in the NFL at 45 yards per game. They are calling uninspired plays on offense that opponents are apparently able to identify and call out pre-snap.
The game also marks the return of The One That Got Away, wide receiver Golden Tate – who sure would have looked good running that slant-in on the last offensive play of that game back in February. Of all the free agent defections from Seattle, Tate is by far the best player that got away and the one management should have done a better job of finding a way to keep. They instead gambled on Percy Harvin and lost big in a number of ways, including but not limited to having to try to win a Super Bowl by throwing to Ricardo Lockette.
The Lions, not unlike Seattle, have endured several changes to their offensive line, which are primarily to blame for the struggle to move the ball consistently in Motown. It is rendering their still-impressive collection of skill position players (WR Calvin Johnson, Tate, TE Eric Ebron, RB Ameer Abdullah, etc.) useless by inadequately protecting the enigmatic quarterback, Matt Stafford, or providing enough room to let the ultra-quick and exciting Abdullah to roam free.
Defensively the Lions have talent, but it’s banged up at the moment. Pro Bowl outside linebacker DeAndre Levy has not played yet this year, but stated last week that he is making good progress from a shoulder injury. Practices this week will determine whether he can make it in time for the game, or if the Lions will wait until next week to unleash Levy on the Arizona Cardinals. Let’s play it safe, DeAndre. Focus on Arizona! UPDATE: Levy has practiced in full Thursday and Friday, which means he is likely to make his 2015 debut on Monday night.
Ziggy Ansah is a freak athlete at defensive end that could give Seattle’s tackles fits all night, though he too is nursing an injury (groin) that forced him to exit last week’s game against Denver early. Ansah joined his teammates at practice on Friday and should also be available versus Seattle.
Underrated FS Glover Quin patrols the back end of the defense along with hard-hitting James Ihedigbo at strong safety, leaving ancient Rashean Mathis as the preferred DB to target on the outside, while the slot position manned by one-time Seahawk Josh Wilson is in flux with Wilson nursing a lower leg injury.
For betting purposes, this Detroit team is tough to figure out. They have several uber-talented pieces on the roster, but seem to be having trouble getting everyone to mesh as one cohesive unit.
They also have a head coach in Jim Caldwell that has won every staring contest he’s ever entered, so don’t try him. If you want a head coach that expressionlessly gazes straight ahead for hours without blinking or moving a muscle or reacting to absolutely anything happening in front of him, Wild Jim Caldwell is your guy. Can someone like Caldwell keep his distressed ship afloat until the seas calm? We’ll find out on Monday night.
This week’s wagering focus is on a trend that is likely to continue as long as Pete Carroll is the head coach in Seattle. This organization has a theory, and it goes something like this:
You can’t win a game in the first quarter. Can’t win it in the second quarter, or the third. Games are won in the fourth quarter, and Carroll’s staff treats each contest as such, regardless of opponent.
In other words, these slow starts that drive us fans batty have no affect on the team or their game preparation. They use the first half of a game to gauge the opponent and find out what they need to do to win it in the last stanza. That’s just how they do it, and how they always will do it as long as the Robber Baron is here.
It’s like a really good boxer that’s willing to give away the first few rounds of a fight just to get the opportunity to see what the opponent has in his repertoire. He takes inventory of his opposition’s speed, power, movement skills – everything- and uses it to identify what the best course of action will be to win the fight in the championship rounds.
Well, if that’s how it’s going to go down, let’s take advantage of those early rounds.
Seattle is a 7 point favorite in the first half of Monday’s game. The Lions are likely to come out of the tunnel spitting fire, knowing their season hangs in the balance as they stare a possible 0-4 record in the face.
I can easily see the Seattle O-line (again) having problems dealing with the freshness of a first half defense that watches film and sees the many ways this O-line can be exploited. Ngata will be hard to move early. Ansah’s power/speed combo will be difficult to suppress when his gas tank is full. Levy will seemingly make every tackle that occurs outside the hash marks and his swift teammates won’t lack the energy to take on blocks in the first 30 minutes.
Seattle’s offense is still sputtering as they continue to try to find a rhythm becoming of a playoff team and may also have to play this game without its focal point, Marshawn Lynch – who is currently listed as questionable with a balky hamstring. Rookie back Thomas Rawls flashed a nice blend of power and quickness last week against the Bears, which may have been a surprise to most, but not to those who read up on the roster rankings before the season! Though he ran for over 100 yards in the game, Seattle’s first half possessions were marred by the offense being able to convert exactly zero third downs and putting up just six points.
It would only be a surprise if the offense came out guns-a-blazin’ and jumped out to a big lead early on the Lions. More likely is a repeat of just about every Seahawks game – lots of punts, lots of defense and either a small lead or deficit heading into the locker room at halftime.
Hopefully, the skilled boxer fighting in his hometown on Monday night can once again find a way to earn yet another victory when the final bell sounds.
Prediction: Halftime score- Detroit 10, Seattle 7. Final score- Seattle 20, Detroit 13.
Wager: 100 credits on Detroit +7 in the first half.
Season to date: -100 credits