By Charles Jay
I’ve been following the Seattle Seahawks. So the fact that they could be leading the NFC West after tonight, leaving the San Francisco 49ers in a position where they might have to play in the road in the post-season, has not come so quietly to me.
At the same time, I realize that when you look at the stats, the metrics, the analytics if you will, the Seahawks don’t quite figure, whether it’s in this Monday night game against the Minnesota Vikings or overall in the playoff race.
And we have spent years listening to establishment-type announcers, not necessarily trained in the new age of football statistics and analysis, who will tell you about players, coaches and/or teams who “just find a way to win” and you realize that it might just be the case here.
So as a very horrible week in WagerWAR comes to a conclusion (or a much better week begins, depending on how you want to look at it), I have thoughts like that very much on my mind.
The game begins, as usual, at 8:15 PM ET at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, and it’s on ESPN. The numbers I got the game at are as follows:
Seattle Seahawks -2.5 (-120)
Minnesota Vikings +2.5 (+100)
Over 48.5 points -110
Under 48.5 points -110
I should mention that the game later went to Seattle -3 at an even money price, then to -105, but I acted at -2.5. I did manage to hit the total later when it dropped to 48.
Not to sound too graphic about it, but I have statistics coming out my ass on this one, and a lot of them would favor the Vikes. For example, Kirk Cousins is comfortable and making the Minnesota system work for him, as he is completing passes at a 70.6% rate with a sizzling 21-3 ratio of TD’s to INT’s. He hasn’t thrown an interception in the last five weeks. Dalvin Cook has 1017 rushing yards, and obviously that’s sensational.
Seattle has experienced some difficulty with its offensive line. And that could make Russell Wilson somewhat vulnerable. But don’t be deceived; when he takes a sack, most of the time it is because he chose to do that rather than throw an ill-advised pass.
What Wilson does is stretch the defense out. He is not afraid to go down the field to make plays, and that is different than a lot of quarterbacks. He did not have a great game last week against Philadelphia, as he was just 13 of 25 with an interception. But the defense rose to the occasion. And that’s another thing about this Seattle team – they have been getting better on that side of the ball. They were concerned about Ziggy Ansah working himself into football shape, and he had a big day last Sunday. Jadeveon Clowney has had a hip injury, but he’s going to play through the pain and delay surgery. He’s the guy most likely to put pressure on Cousins. If you listen to the people around the Seahawks’ camp, safety Quandre Diggs is a real difference-maker. When he came from Detroit, his ex-teammate Darius Slay HATED that the Lions let him go.
Pete Carroll and the Seattle management seem to be always looking for something to improve the team, and they aren’t afraid to pull the trigger. Case in point – Josh Gordon. New England puts him on IR, and he eventually becomes a free agent. Now Wilson has guys with speed like Gordon, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett to attack secondaries with. Guys like Wilson and Carroll – they just know how to win. What can I say?
Kirk Cousins is 0-7, straight-up and against the spread – on Monday Night Football. That says a lot. And the Vikings, who are beasts against the number at home, are 3-13-1 ATS on the road against winning teams. Not good. Meanwhile, Pete Carroll is 18-2 in prime-time situations, which includes Mondays and Thursdays (and maybe some others).
So while I understand and recognize Cousins’ numbers, and I’m sure a lot of fantasy team owners like him, he seems to freeze sometimes with the lights on. And I just wonder how long he can continue to overachieve without having someone like Adam Thielen (113 catches last year) around.
Power ratings are great. Analytics are great, and we use ’em, for sure. But I like certain situations. And this situation tells us to go in the way of the Seahawks and their “action green” jerseys. So that’s where we begin our WagerWAR comeback. Wish us luck.
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