Super Bowl XLIX – Close Game: Seahawks 27 – Patriots 24

Super Bowl 49

I have been somewhat hesitant to make a prediction on this game. Most of the NFL pundits have the Super Bowl at a “pick-em” level and I am inclined to agree.

But I feel that I have an obligation to make a prediction simply because of how close I was on the last two playoff games involving the Seahawks.

Back on January 10th, I predicted the Seahawks would beat the Carolina Panthers 31-14. Game was played on January 11th with the Hawks winning 31-17.

The next game, the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers, perhaps one of the greatest games I have ever witnessed, I had predicted on January 14th the Hawks would win in a nail-biter over the pack 28-24. As everyone knows, Seattle beat the Pack in overtime, 28-22…and it indeed was a nail-biter.

To be honest, I didn’t take much into account other than the fact the Seahawks were on a roll at the end of the regular season and they would be playing in front of the rabid 12’s. Seattle feeds off the energy they get from their fans and gives them a hug advantage.

The current odds show the line as favoring the Patriots as a one-point favorite. And I think, and hope, that this will be a well-played game and not have any officiating determine the outcome.

This is the first time since 1975 that two number one seeds will be facing off in the Super Bowl. Because of that, this should be an epic and unpredictable game. But I keep seeing a 27-24 score with the Seahawks winning in the closing seconds of the game.

Both teams have their strengths common to each other. Patriots have Darelle Revis and former Seahawk Brandon Browner giving them one of the best secondaries in the NFL. On the flipside, the Hawks have the highly-touted Legion of Boom with Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas as the core members.

Both teams have a strong running game with the Pats LeGarrette Blount being resurrected from the Steelers and of course, the Seahawks mercurial and controversial Marshawn Lynch.

But it’s going to come down to the quarterback play. And while both have had success this year, the disparity in the way these guys play couldn’t be farther apart.

In order for the Hawks to beat the Patriots and Tom Brady, they cannot allow him to stand back there and go through his progressions. They need to hit him a few times to get him out of the pocket and give him happy feet.

They will also need to contain his favorite target, Rob Gronkowski. I would say have Kam Chancellor spy Gronkowski for at least the 1st quarter and hopefully he can get a Vernon Davis type hit on him to perhaps give him the short-arm syndrome.

It’s not a guarantee that this method will give the Seahawks the win but the offense runs through Brady and he’s the one they have to stop.

On the flip side, the Patriots have to try and stop the 2-headed monster of a running game, the main factor being Marshawn Lynch and the spot running of Russell Wilson. For the most part, the Patriots want to make Wilson a pocket passer.

Difference in the game? The Seahawk receivers must come up big…Doug Baldwin, Jermain Kearse, Luke Willson, Ricardo Lockette and Robert Turbin must take pressure off the running game. If the passing game goes anything like it did for the first 57 minutes of the NFC Championship game, the Hawks will have no chance.

But I just don’t see the Hawks having back to back bad games…both teams will be primed and ready.

My wife and I will be enjoying this game, as I have the past 2 Super Bowls, in the coastal town of Sequim with two other couples. We’ll be there for five days and I am sure there will be a lot of golf played at The Cedars of Dungeness golf course, plenty of great food, lots and lots of stuff to drink mixed in with much laughter…and oh yeah, cheering at the top of our lungs for our Seahawks!

Seahawks 27 – Patriots 24.

Kam Chancellor – The “Boom” in The Legion of Boom

The Heart of The Legion of Boom
The Heart of The Legion of Boom

We have all heard about “The Legion of Boom” right?  We know that Earl Thomas is the will of the Legion and that Richard Sherman is the mouthpiece.

But when you want to talk about the heart of this unit, you point no further than Kam Chancellor.

Here is a link to a video of Chancellors top hits:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-unD33mV8Os

One of the most memorable hits that I can recall was against San Francisco’s tight end Vernon Davis.  It had to be one of the most pure hits I’ve ever seen.  And regardless of the fact that Kam was flagged for the hit, it was, according to Chris Collinsworth, an “outstanding defensive play.”

Regardless of what anyone says, if it was a clean hit or not, at that very moment, the Legion of Boom made it’s presence known and Kam “Bam, Bam” Chancellor made a game changing hit.

In fact, since that time, Vernon Davis has caught the dreaded short-arm disease whenever he plays against the Seahawks.  He hears Chancellor coming…Kam is in his head.

Kam also set the tone early in last year’s Super Bowl against the vaunted Denver Bronco’s offense.  At 9:46 in the first quarter, Seattle up 5-0, Denver has the ball.

Manning drops back, finds Demaryius Thomas on a short crossing pattern.  Kam came up after Thomas catches the pass and knocks Thomas five yards back.  It was at that point that Kam sent the message to the Denver Bronco’s passing game:  That ain’t gonna happen.

Kam is also the emotional leader of the Legion.  When the Hawks lost to the Kansas City Chiefs to drop to 3-3 on the year, many NFL pundits had written the team off.  There had been much turmoil in the locker room.  The fact of the matter, it was that the team essentially lost it’s identity with a healthy Percy Harvin.

It’s not fair to place the blame solely on Harvin’s shoulders.  But he was the main protagonist.  And I have to applaud the decision by the Seahawks to trade Harvin when it was realized that despite all of his talent on the field, his off the field antics were destroying the chemistry in the locker room.

It was Chancellor who gathered the team together and gave an impassioned speech about playing for each other and to not let down the man next to you both on and off the field.  To trust each other, take care of each other and taking accountability.

Hard to dispute the facts but after that speech, the Seahawks haven’t lost a game since.

It showed up big time in the conference championship against the Green Bay Packers.  While the Seahawks kept getting knocked down, they never were knocked out.  They kept getting back up and just would not give in to defeat.

It shows me that Chancellor has two ways to deliver hits:  Physically and emotionally.

I will be wearing my newly purchased #31 jersey proudly on Super Bowl Sunday.  Bam Bam is going to be a key player against the Patriots and I almost pity Rob Gronkowski when he takes that first hit from him.

Go Seahawks!

 

 

 

New England’s Deflategate – How Stupid Has This Become?

All this crap over an under-inflated football!
All this crap over an under-inflated football!

I wasn’t going to write about this because I find this becoming more idiotic with each passing day.

I understand that the Patriots have a past of skirting, bending and at times, even breaking the rules.  But in the grand scheme of things, isn’t this being taken to the extreme considering past scandals in the NFL?

OK, I concede that there is a standard as to what the NFL footballs need to be set at a certain PSI.  But did the use of the underinflated footballs really have that much of a bearing on New England’s 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts?  Doubtful.

Case in point:  It has been determined that if the underinflated footballs were used, it would have been in the first half as the footballs were checked at halftime and filled to the proper settings.

At that time, the Patriots were ahead of the Colts 17-7 with the Colts very much in the game.

But New England exploded for 21 points in the third quarter, using properly inflated footballs, made the Colts one dimensional by forcing them to revert to strictly a passing game and were able to harass Andrew Luck into making poor decisions.

Now, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that New England did in fact use the under-inflated footballs.  But did Belichick or Brady or any member of the coaching staff have any part in actually ordering someone to make these footballs illegal?

Let’s examine a few irregularities.  The footballs were checked nearly 2 hours before game time.  Why would they be checked that far in advance?  Wouldn’t they be checked as close to game time as possible?  It can’t be they didn’t have the time.  At half time, which is only 12 minutes long, they had the ability to gather all 24 footballs, check them and pump them up to standard specifications.

To ensure that the footballs were set to standards, couldn’t they have been checked and set at standard specifications much, much closer to game time?

And why on earth would the starting quarterbacks have any say as to which ones should be for their use and ones they reject be used for the kicking game?

But what is really getting my dander up is the media frenzy surrounding this so-called “scandal.”

You can be damn sure that more stringent checks will be in place for Super Bowl 49.  So we can be assured that the footballs used in the game will not have any effect on the outcome of the game.

It’s time to stop this nonsense.  The NFL has made a huge mistake in letting this drag out for an entire week.  Roger Goodell and whoever is in charge of checking the equipment should have had this all wrapped up in 24 hours.

If the investigation found that the Patriots did have any part in it, the NFL should levy a fine against them that would hurt the pocket book to the extreme.

Forbes has valued the Patriots at $1.4 billion dollars.  The fine should be 1/4 of their worth which would turn out to be $350,000,000  million dollars.  And for good measure, they lose their first and second round draft picks for the next 3 years.

Extreme?  To be sure.  But it would send a message to the rest of the NFL that cheating of any kind will not be tolerated.

However, what if it was an equipment manager took it upon himself to let some of the air out of 11 footballs because he had heard that Tom Brady likes softer footballs?

Well, that person is an employee of the New England Patriots.  And it just goes to show, that if it indeed is true an employee of the Patriots is responsible for getting the footballs to the football field, we have what is know as the fox guarding the hen house, don’t we?

If that’s the case, we can reduce the fine drastically as well as not lose any draft picks.  Naturally the equipment manager is terminated and banned from ever getting another job with another NFL team,

Either way, this nonsense goes away in a day and the focus goes back to what is important.

The Super Bowl.

On to the game please.

Seattle Back In The Super Bowl, Beat Packers 28-22

The Seattle Seahawks pulled off one of the most improbable wins in NFC Championship history.

Before I get to the Seahawks, hats off to a very classy and well-prepared team, the Green Bay Packers.  This team played on helluva game and should be commended for how they came in to Century Link Field and took it to the Seahawks.

Another thing I want to say is that I am so glad that the officiating never played a part in the outcome of this game.  Last thing the NFL needed was yet another week of controversy heading into the Super  Bowl.

All right, on to the Super Bowl bound Seattle Seahawks.

Starting with the defense, while they may have been put back on their heels in the first half and part of the second half, it came down to the defense coming together as a unit.  It wasn’t one player who stepped up, it was eleven.

ShermanChancellorThomas

I will focus in on what I feel are three different players who are the heart and soul of the defense…Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas III.

We all know the game that Chancellor had last week against the Panthers, culminating with the 90 yard pick six he last week.

But this week, it wasn’t about a single individual.  It was about the leaders stepping up their game and getting the defense to quit get pushing them around…I would imagine that Sherman, Chancellor and Thomas all spoke to the defensive unit with the message to play for each other and lay it all out right now.

To set the example, both Thomas and Sherman both were injured during the game but played on, feeding the warrior mentality to the rest of the defense.  Sherman was literally playing with one arm…and yet the Packers still couldn’t beat him.

WilsonKearseLynch

Now on to the offense.  In the first half, lets face it, they absolutely stunk up the place.  Russell Wilson, for the game, threw 4 interceptions.  Doug Baldwin fumbled the first kick-off they received.  They just could not get anything going.

But Russell Wilson being Russell Wilson, didn’t  let any of that get to him.  After their first touchdown, a fake field goal that punter John Ryan threw a TD to Garry Gilliam, Wilson began to play his game.

He stepped up his game to an amazing level at the last part of regulation and then again in OT.

Which ties in nicely to start talking about Jermaine Kearse.  Want to talk about redemption?  Here is a guy that Wilson threw to and 4 of those attempts were interceptions, two of which bounced off Kearse’s hands.  But who catches the game winning touchdown in OT?  Jermaine Kearse on a 35 yard post play.

And what can be said about Marshawn Lynch that hasn’t been said already?  There is no quit in the man.  25 carries for  157 yards and throw in 26 yards receiving, he kept the Seahawks alive when they needed him the most.

Is this a team of destiny?  I’m not sure about that but they are a team to be reckoned with.  Be it the Colts or the Patriots in two weeks, you can damn well be sure this Seahawks team will not be intimidated.

On to the Super Bowl!

NFC Championship: Nail Biter But Seattle Beats Green Bay, 28-24

Wilson and Rodgers

The road to the Super Bowl for the NFC runs through Century Link Field in Seattle.

This game is going to come down to the quarterbacks.  And forgive me Packer fans, with Aaron Rodgers at less than 100%, I don’t see the Packers winning this game.

Not that Rodgers won’t give a valiant effort.  But his inability to extend plays is going to limit his scoring chances.  The Seahawk defensive line will be after him all game long…and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn won’t be putting in any special blitz packages.  He is going to rely on the defensive line, as he has all year long, to pressure Rodgers and allow the linebackers and secondary to take care of the receivers.

If the Seahawks win the coin toss, this may be the time we take the ball instead of deferring to the second half.  Packers have the 23rd ranked run defense in the NFL.  I could see Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevel getting the rock to Marshawn Lynch early as well as Robert Turbin.

Russell Wilson, if he plays as effectively as he did against the Panthers he should do well against the Packers.  Pack finished 10th in the league on pass defense but that may be skewed as teams may not have thrown as much because they ran the ball more.

Packers have allowed 50 passing plays of 20 yards or more and 8 yards of 40 yards or more.

Playoff experience doesn’t come into play for this game.  Both teams have great playoff records but the Seahawks come into this game healthier than the Packers which will make the difference.

And for those of you who know I am a Detroit Lions fan, no, I am not picking the Hawks because of the Packers being a division rival.  I am picking the Hawks because right now, they are the better team.

I have a ton of respect for the Packer organization and really, this game could go either way.  But I like the Seattle defense to take care of business in this game.

Go Hawks!

Seattle Hitting Their Stride, Win Over Panthers 31-17

Seahawk Shining

Seattle has it going on again with a solid 31-17 win over the Carolina Panthers.

I wrote yesterday that the Seahawks were going to win 31-14.  Naturally, I heard from several Carolina Panthers supporters that questioned my sanity.  With good reason since the last three times these teams played, Seattle won by a combined 13 points.

However, all of those games were played in Carolina.  It was time for the Panthers to come to Century Link and despite all what they may have been told, there is nothing like 67,000 fans cheering as one.

The Panthers did everything they could to take the 12th Man out of the game.  But the Seahawks were going to have none of that.  They took it to the Panthers.  They forced 3 turnovers and intercepted Cam Newton twice, the back-breaker coming in the fourth quarter when Kam Chancellor stepped in front of a pass and returned it 90 yards for the game’s final touchdown.

Yes, the Seahawks played an excellent defensive game.  But I want to talk about how well Russell Wilson played yesterday.  15 for 22, threw for 268 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.  The line hardly tells how special of a game Wilson played.

His first touchdown came on a 3rd and 9 from the 16 yard line.  Doug Baldwin caught a beautiful floater for the games first score.

Touchdown number two was perhaps his best throw of his career.  Again, on third down from their own 37 yard line, Wilson backed up and saw Jermaine Kearse streaking down the seam.  Wilson let the pass fly and Kearse made a great one-handed catch.  Wilson could not have placed the ball any better even if he hand handed it to Kearse.

His last touchdown, again on third down came in the 4th quarter.  From the Panthers 25 yard line, Russell dropped back and saw Luke Willson in the flat.  He gunned an absolutely perfect passed at the 20 yard line.  Willson had no defenders around him and used his 4.5 speed to get into the end zone.

I also want to point out how great a game that Kam “Bam Bam” Chancellor had.  While the 90 yard pick six was a thing of beauty, Chancellor was all over the field.  Too say that he left it all out there is an understatement.

How bad did Kam want to win this game?  Did anyone see his two jumps over the line in attempts to block field goals?  That alone tells me just how much heart Chancellor has.

I don’t really care which opponent comes to Seattle next.  I am kind of hoping it’s Dallas since I want to have the Seattle defense wipe that goofy look off of Romo’s face.  But I just can’t see the Cowboys beating the Packers in Lambeau.

Take care all and Go Hawks!

 

Seattle Will Take Care of the Panthers, 31-14

Seahawks Will Have Their Eyes On The Prize!
Seahawks Will Have Their Eyes On The Prize!

All I can say to the members of the Carolina Football team is welcome to the Thunder Dome!

Over the past week, I have had to go thru some rather intense therapy sessions to get over the fact my hometown team, the Detroit Lions, got royally screwed in their playoff against the Dallas Cowboys.

With a lot of alcohol and some really top-notch swearing, I got thru my disappointment and now can focus on my adopted team, the Seattle Seahawks.

This game, while it may start out as a battle, is going to end up a blood bath with the Hawks coming out on top 31-14.

I predict that on Sunday, the media is going to be talking about the offense and how well they were able to distribute the ball to Paul Richardson, Doug Baldwin, Like Willson and Jermaine Kearse.  In fact, I predict that Richardson is going to catch a bomb from Russell Wilson early on and it will go down as at least a 60 yard TD.

I have no worries about that defense, ranked number 1 in the NFL.  They are going to get to Cam Newton…they are going to frustrate him and they are going to contain him.  There will be no “Superman” poses at Century Link.  I’m pretty sure at the start of the fourth quarter, there will be camera shots of Cam Newton on the sidelines with a Gatorade towel over his head so no one can seem…well, you can fill in the blanks on that.

This game will be a message to the rest of the playoff teams that the Seahawks are just getting started.

Bring some earplugs cause the house is gonna rock!

Go Seahawks!

Detroit Lions Lose at Dallas – It All Started With Green Bay

Ashamed Lion

A hard fought game yesterday surrounded in controversy.  What a shocker!

There isn’t anybody out there in the Lion’s Nation that was more heartbroken than I was yesterday.  But surprisingly, I was pretty stoic about it.

The reason for my stoicism?  The Lions shouldn’t have even been in Dallas.  They should have been at home, being the #2 seed in the NFC waiting for their opponent to come see them at Ford Field this upcoming weekend.

The Lions laid a big, fat, stinky egg at Lambeau Field against the Packers on the last day of the 2014 NFL season.  If they had put together the same type of effort they did in the first half of the playoff game, they could have beaten the Packers, won the division and have had a home playoff game.

But that isn’t the Lions way, is it?  They went into Lambeau knowing no matter the outcome of the game, they were in the playoffs and they let up.  They let up against a team that knows a thing or two about winning Super Bowls and what home field advantage means.

While first-year coach Jim Caldwell and his staff did a fine job this season, I have to lay the blame at Caldwell’s feet for this one.  There should have been reminder after reminder that the Green Bay game was the start of the playoffs for the Lions and it should have been viewed as a must win game for them.

As for the Wild Card game, the Lions came out very hot, putting up 14 points in the Cowboys.  But again, they let up on the gas.  Someone needs to send these guys a memo:  There is no such thing as too many points scored in the NFL, especially if you are on the road and in a playoff game.

I will not point to the call as the reason for the Lions losing this game.  The call occurred with over eight minutes left in the game and the Lions still had the lead.

I will point to the decision to line up after the call to try and hard count the Cowboys into a false start on 4-1.  This is the playoffs, you win or go home.  In my opinion, they should have snapped the ball and given it to Joique Bell.

I will also point to the 10 yard shanked punt.  That gave the Cowboys the ball in great field position and it was the mistake the Cowboys were waiting for the Lions to make.

Despite all of that, I am still very proud of this Lions team and the great job that Caldwell did.  This was a much more stable team in recent years and if they can play smart with the draft and upcoming contract negotiations, they will again be a threat to take the NFC North.

I am a Lions fan…now and for as long as I live!

 

Join Beer Thinker Sports and Support Your Team!

I have been getting a lot of likes on Facebook but I overlooked one important aspect of what I was hoping boosting posts would do for the site:  Get Members!

I want to give anyone an opportunity to write about their favorite sports team.  I am a die-hard Lions fan and a huge Seahawk fan as well.  But there are many other teams in the NFL and most of the sites out there all seem to be writer based with fans perhaps posting their responses to articles.

Those are OK but do they really get out what you want to say?

This isn’t going to be a site for sportswriter wanna-be’s.  The intent of this site is to have fans give their thoughts about their teams, be it good or bad.

Trust me, when I first got into writing about the Lions, it was during the days of the FireMillen.com site.  I wrote a lot of articles for that site as well as the Bleacher Report.

So you got something to say, come say it!

Lions Will Stun Cowboys – Seahawks Next?

Stafford & Romo are the engines for their teams success
Stafford & Romo are the engines for their teams success

So here we are, in the NFC Wildcard game against the Dallas Cowboys.

I can’t say that I wasn’t disappointed in the way the Lions performed last week against Green Bay.  To have the opportunity to take the NFC North division, get a bye week and host a playoff game in Detroit for the first time in 24 years should have been motivation enough to play your guts out.

However, the Lions are in the playoffs with an 11-5 record.  And we have a pretty good success rate against the Dallas Cowboys.  Including playoffs, the Lions are 12-13 against the Cowboys.  Granted the Lions record at Dallas 3-8, I have to point out the Cowboys home record this year.

We’ve all heard the Cowboys have gone 8-0 on the road, they are a mediocre 4-4 at home.  They haven’t protected their home turf very well at all.

The Lions can’t take anything for granted tomorrow.  They need to play like it’s the last game…because it is.  Win or go home.

It’s time for our stars, Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Reggie Bush and most importantly, Matthew Stafford to play like we expect them to

I suspect that the Green Bay game was a wake-up call for the Lions.  They are hanging on the edge and if they want to make this season special, they need to stay out there and lay it all out on the line…Win or go home.

No amount of coaching is needed now.  It’s game on.  These guys should have already played this game in their heads, now they just need to execute…win or go home.

Go Lions!