Tag Archives: Arizona Cardinals

Seahawks – Critical Games for 2016 Season

Cool Seahawk Logo

With the NFL pre-season underway, I thought I would take a peek at the regular season schedule and check for 6 critical games for the Seahawks.

Week 2 – at LA Rams

No matter what record the Rams have, they always seem to give the Seahawks fits.  This will be the home opener for the Rams at the Memorial Coliseum.  Rams last played in LA in 1994 so you know they are going to be hyped up.  Jeff Fisher always has a trick or two up his sleeve so Hawks need to be prepared for that.  I think a heavy does of Christian Michael and Thomas Rawls will be on the menu as well as some play-action fakes to keep the Ram defense honest.  As always, the game will be close and a win here is critical for both teams.

Week 3 – San Francisco 49’rs

I do believe the rivalry will be re-ignited with the presence of Chip Kelly, the new head coach for San Francisco.  And I really hope the Seahawks just pound the living snot out of the 49’rs to wipe that condescending and  smarmy expression off Kelly’s face.  San Fran isn’t much of a threat to the Hawks but they still need to remain wary.  Pretty sure (about 90% sure) this will be a win for the home team.

Week 7 – at Arizona Cardinals

A lot of mutual respect between the Hawks and the Cards.  Good, hard-nosed football between 2 innovative coaches who put faith in the players to perform rather than a system.  Toss up as to who will win but it won’t be by more than a field goal.  Depending on the standings, this could decide the NFC West despite having eight games left in the season.

Week 10 – at New England

Seahawks need to control their emotions because if they use revenge as a motive to try and beat New England, that’s just what Bill Belichick wants them to do.  Master of mind games, he will use that motivation to force the Hawks into mistakes.  Hawks defensive line needs to pressure Brady as much as they can and the secondary must have an exceptional game covering those pesky receivers that Brady throws too underneath.  They need to make Brady throw before he wants to.  They may get one or two sacks but if they can pressure him, they can force him to make bad throws.  I, as much as any Seahawk fan, would love if the Hawks can steal a victory here but they have to play smart and not get caught up in getting revenge for them stealing a Super Bowl from us.

Week 13 – Carolina Panthers

You don’t think the Seahawks watched Super Bowl 50 and took notice what the Broncos did to make Newton pout like a baby?  Look for Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril to pressure and contain Newton as well as Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel to come up the gut and get in his face.  I also see Frank Clark being a difference maker as he has the speed and strength to deal with Newton if he tries to take off and run.  It will come down to defense vs. defense and a last second field goal.

Week 17 – at San Francisco

One can only hope the Seahawks have secured their playoff spot by the time they get to San Francisco because you know darn well that Chip Kelly will want to end the season with a win over a division rival.  Regardless of where the Hawks are at by the end of the season, a sweep over the 49’rs is always sweet (it was sweetest when Harbaugh was there, right?) and would put a nice finish to the regular season.

Looking forward to hearing a lot of fireworks going off after every game.  The 12’s are some of the greatest fans in the NFL.

Go Hawks!

Seahawks Season Ends With Loss to Panthers 31-24

We didn’t lose the game, we just ran out of time….Vince Lombardi.

I use the quote by the great Vince Lombardi because it is the perfect metaphor for the game they played against the Carolina Panthers…they just ran out of time.

This game was an example of how the season went.  Giving up 31 points in the first half seemed like a very deep hole to dig out of but the resiliency of this team showed they just don’t give up.

But there is a reason why the Carolina Panthers are a 15-1 team.  They took care of business early on with Washington native Jonathon Stewart ripping off a 75 yard run on the first play of the game to set up the first Carolina touchdown.

The defense came up big on the very next series when Luke Kuechly picked off an ill-advised Russell Wilson pass and ran it in for a pick six to go up 14-0 barley four minutes played.

And the Panthers continued to pour it on, scoring 17 more points in the second quarter.

But the Seahawks regrouped in the second half.  The defense came up huge by shutting out the Panthers in the second half and allowing the offense to crawl it’s way out of the deep hole they dug for themselves.

Some great individual efforts and the one effort I want to point out is the one by Jermaine Kearse.  His play in the second half was stellar, catching two clutch touchdowns and making great catch after great catch to finish with 11 catches for 110 yards to go along with the 2 scores.

Another is rookie Tyler Lockett.  His TD catch was clutch and his receiving technique on a crucial third down situation was nothing short of amazing.  Seahawks have found a treasure in this kid.  He had only 3 catches for 75 yards but his 50 yard return to open the second half was a spark the Hawks desperately needed.

Marshawn Lynch was a non-factor in this game and I don’t feel he will be back in a Seahawk uniform next season.  I admire his running style and they way he fights for every yard he can get.  But he is at point in his career where he is starting to break down.

About the only way he comes back to the Hawks is a re-structured contract and a reduced role with the offense.  It appears to me that Thomas Rawls has the inside track to be the featured running back.

While I admire Pete Carroll’s mantra to run first, I also have to admire his adaptability to open up the passing game and put the team on the shoulders of Russell Wilson who showed the rest of the NFL that he is capable of carrying the team when needed.

Wilson showed remarkable leadership skills this game as well as the second-half of the season.  His decision making became sublime in his historic second half run.  At one point, over a 5-game stretch, he had 19 touchdowns with zero interceptions, something that no quarterback in the history of the game ever accomplished.  And there have been some great quarterbacks over the past 96 years the NFL has been in existence.

As always at the end of a season, there will be some hard choices to make.  With the Seahawks it will be with the following players:

Marshawn Lynch – No one can dispute when the Seahawks made the trade for the mercurial running back in 2010 that it was going to be Lynch to be the face of the Seahawks.  Lynch came through time after time, putting the Hawks on the playoff map with his seismic Beast Quake run against the New Orleans Saints later that same year.  But next year will be Lynch’s 10th year in the NFL and will be 30 years old.  Just coming off his first ever surgery and is one of the highest paid players in the NFL.  It may come down to a business decision to release Lynch to free up salary cap for younger players.  If Lynch decides to retire, Seattle should throw him the biggest freaking party it can…but it would be a coin toss if he showed up for it.

Russell Okung – Okung is considered one of the top left tackles in the game.  Issue I have with him is that we’ve never gotten a full season from him.  He was the Hawks first pick in the 2010 draft and landed a six year contract worth $48 million dollars with more than $29 million of it guaranteed.  Now that he’s up for free agency, he is going to command an even higher salary.  My opinion, while Okung is a good left tackle and I would hate to disrupt that line, Hawks need to part ways with Okung and find another left tackle in the draft, perhaps Jack Conklin out of Michigan State or Jerald Hawkins of LSU.  Okung is going to be way to expensive for the Hawks to keep.

J.R. Sweezy – This is a guy I think we need to keep.  He brings solidity to the right guard spot and is an good run blocker.  He is at the end of a 4-year, $2.1 million dollar contract.  If the Hawks can keep him with a 3-year at about a $5 million dollar contract, it will be less disruption on the offensive line which took a while to come around in 2015.

Jermaine Kearse – Over the last two years, Kearse has come up with some very clutch catches.  All of us can remember the acrobatic catch he made in the 2014 Super Bowl against the Patriots.  And this game, coming up huge with his performance against the Panthers.  Hawks need to keep him so the receiving corps of Kearse, Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Luke Wilson and yes, Jimmy Graham are kept intact for the 2016 season.

Brandon Mebane – An absolute monster in the middle but may have to be a causality  of the business.  Gotta love the effort he puts out every game and how effective he is bottling up the middle against the run.  As much as I’d love to keep him, it wouldn’t be cost-effective to do so.

So here is to yet another great season the Hawks gave us and here is to hoping they continue to finds ways to keep finding players to maintain the level of excellence all Seahawk fans come to expect.

And while I applaud the Carolina Panthers season and their ability to survive the game against the Hawks, I will be rooting for the Arizona Cardinals next week…and if the Cards can get past them, I will be rooting for them against the AFC team they face in the Super Bowl.  Love to see one of the classiest players in the game, Larry Fitzgerald, get a Super Bowl ring.

GO HAWKS!

Seattle Seahawks Must Play Championship Football vs. Cardinals

Seahawk Shining

I know the headline is an obvious statement but it needs to be said.

When the Seahawks enter the University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday to face the Arizona Cardinals, it has to be as though they are playing in the Super Bowl.

We as fans, need to stop worrying about the offensive line and what the defense gives up.  Nothing we can do about it anyway.  But if there was ever a time this city needs to rise above any doubt about the Seahawks, now is the time.

The 12’s are what’s gonna get this team the lift they need to make their 3rd straight Super Bowl appearance.

I know, the shoddy showing they had against the Rams makes it difficult.  But this team has always had a rough time against the Rams, which has a very good defense and now looks like they have a marquee running back in Todd Gurley.

We also know that the Seahawks, at least over the last few years, rarely lay an egg two weeks in a row.

They march into Phoenix to face a Cardinal team that is the number one offensive team in the NFL.  The Hawks have some solace in the fact when they played them in Week 10 and were down 22-7 at the half, they came back against this team to take a 29-25 lead early in the fourth quarter.

It is my belief the reason why the Hawks lost this game is because the defense was gassed.  They played their hearts out to hold down the offensive juggernaut known as the Cardinals until 1:48 left in the game when Andre Ellington ripped off a 48-yard touchdown run that sealed the game.

Despite the loss, the Seahawks went on a record setting 5-game stretch to vault themselves into playoff contention, beating the 49’s and Steelers at home, Vikings and Ravens on the road and then dismantling the Browns at home before self-destructing against the Rams last week.

Right now, the Seahawks are the Number 6 seed going into the playoffs.  That points to heading to hallowed ground, facing the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.  Perhaps not the best scenario but not the worst either.  Seahawks and Packers have had games filled with controversy and while going 4-6 against them over the past 10 games, the point differential between the two teams is 12 points over that span.

Another possible opponent would be the Minnesota Vikings of which the Hawks have a 6-4 record over the past 10 games.  The last game played between these two teams was the Week 13 38-7 blowout in Minnesota.   They focused on stopping Adrian Peterson and dared Teddy Bridgewater to beat them.  The result was holding Peterson to 18 yards on eight carries and the only reason the Hawks didn’t shut the Vikings out was the 101-yard kickoff return by Cordarrelle Peterson in the third quarter.

The third possible playoff opponent would be the Washington DC based team.  They have a 4-6 record against them over the last 10 games but have beaten them twice at FedEx Field in Landover, including a 24-14 playoff victory in 2013.

Regardless of who the Seahawks play in the opening round, the Seahawks cannot take this game against the Cardinals lightly.  Pete Carroll has stated in the press they are looking at this game as a championship game and won’t be holding anything back.

Hawks are going to have to rely on Christine Michael, Bryce Brown and Fred Jackson to get the running game going as well as QB Russell Wilson using his legs to keep the Cardinal defense honest.

The offensive line will need to get back to the caliber of play during that 5 game stretch and allow Wilson the time he needs to connect with receivers Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Cooper Helfet, Tyler Lockett and perhaps Anthony McCoy.

The defense will need to get through the Arizona O-Line and make Carson Palmer uncomfortable.  Sacks would be good but I am looking for the Hawks front four to get him off his spot and force him into making bad decisions which would play into the heart of the Seattle D, the Legion of Boom.

It’s going to be a good game and I don’t see Bruce Arians pulling any of his starters to save them for the playoffs…unless the Seahawks put the game out of reach by the 4th quarter.  As much as I would love that scenario, I don’t see it happening.

But I do see a Hawks victory, 38-35 with Steven Hauschka kicking the game winning field goal with no time left on the clock.

GO HAWKS!

Seattle Seahawks – Team of Destiny? I’m In!

Seahawk Im In

From the few who’ve read articles I’ve written on Beer Thinker Sports, it’s a known fact that I am an unabashed Detroit Lions fan. And make no mistake, this article is me jumping on the Seahawk bandwagon…I admit it freely.

While most of my articles have been about the Lions, I’ve also written about my second hometown team, the Seahawks. Let me tell you that the Hawks recent success has buffered the pain and agony of being a Lions fan.

This season though, had me worried of being a fan of both teams. Lions started out the season 1-7 despite having success of an 11-5 season last year. Seahawks weren’t much better over the first 8 games going 4-4, including a game saving win by Kam Chancellor over the Lions in week 4.

If you look at both teams, on paper, one could say that they are pretty evenly matched. But the one distinct advantage the Hawks have over the Lions: Heart.

The 2015 Seahawks may be the most exciting team Pete Carroll and company have put together yet. He continues to stick to his guns and play rookies and undrafted free agents that have a quality that he looks for. Again, heart.

And just what is the definition in this respect? In my opinion, it’s the player that won’t give up, isn’t afraid to make a mistake but learns from them as to not repeat them and will give his all until the final second ticks off the clock.

Perfect example is that victory over the Lions in week 4. Lions had the perfect play drawn up against a tired Seahawk defense when Lions QB Matthew Stafford found Calvin Johnson at the 8-yard line with an open lane to the end zone with about 1:45 left on the clock.

Trust me here when I say I was on my feet yelling “Yes!” at the top of my lungs when the play developed. Johnson was hit at about the one but leaning forward over the goal line when it happened.

Kam Chancellor, in only his second week, clinging to Johnson punched the ball from his grasp…and sealed the victory for the Seahawks.

I was devastated. But had to admire Kam’s heart. He never gave up, never stopped and found a way to make a play.

I figured that if the Lions had scored on that play, they were going to win the game. After all, the Lions defense had harassed Russell Wilson all day and sacked him 6 times. And after giving up only a field goal in the second half, the defense was primed to give the Lions a rare West Coast road win.

But the collective heart of the Seahawks, as well as Kam’s ability to dig deep, denied the win.

Was it a turning point for the Hawks? I’m not sure. While the win evened their record at 2-2, they did lose the next two games to be at 2-4. There was the epic meltdown against the Bengals, blowing a 17 point lead in the fourth quarter as well as the 15 point lead against the Carolina Panthers at home.

The Seattle press wasn’t really lambasting the Seahawks but were beginning to question Pete Carroll’s coaching decisions. Allowing the offensive line to be in rebuild mode, with several players that were being defensive linemen converting to offensive line which resulted in an alarming rate of sacks on Russell Wilson. At one point, with the rate of sacks being allowed, the Seahawks were on target to give up over 65 sacks over the season.

Where I think the turning point for this season was the home loss against the Arizona Cardinals in week 10. The Cardinals came out hot in the first half, building a 22-7 lead. But the Seahawks made some adjustments and starting to peck away at the Cardinal lead. At the end of the third quarter, it was 25-17 as the Hawks gave up only a field goal in the third.

And in the fourth quarter, Marshawn Lynch scored on a 3 yard run and Bobby Wagner recovered a fumble and ran it back for another TD. Both 2 point conversions failed but the Hawks were right back in it, leading 29-25.

But Carson Palmer playing out of his mind this year, tossed a 4th quarter TD and Andre Ellington busted a 48 yard TD run to re-take control of the game.

But the heart of the team became evident in this game…and I think it brought them together to reel off 4 straight wins and all in pretty convincing fashion. Hawks averaged just over 35 points a game over the stretch of the 4 games and the defense allowed just 14 points a game.
The offensive line has finally come together and Wilson has only been sacked 10 times in that 4 game stretch. With the line playing as it is, it has allowed Wilson to show just how talented he is. He’s thrown for 16 TD’s and no interceptions over the last 4 games. That puts him with only 2 other quarterbacks in NFL history to accomplish that feat, those being Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Not bad company to be in.

He is the first Seahawk quarterback to have two 5 touchdown games in a season. He is also the first Seahawk QB to have at least three touchdown passes in four straight games. He is the only quarterback in NFL history to have four straight games with at least 3 touchdown passes, no interceptions and a 70% completion rating.

Wilson isn’t the only Seahawk to play at a historic pace. WR Doug Baldwin, an undrafted free-agent who came to the Seahawks in 2011, put up some fantastic numbers over the last 3 games: 17 catches for 321 yards and eight touchdowns. He is on pace to be the first 1,000 yard receiver for the Seahawks since Bobby Engram accomplished that feat in 2007.

And the defense, the Legion of Boom, is back. Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin are getting after QB’s. Along with rookie Frank Clark, the rest of this season is going to be very tough on opposing quarterbacks. Kam, Bobby Wagner, Richard Sherman and Deshawn Shead have brought back the attitude of the Legion, that nothing is going to get by them and no team is going to score on them. And if they do, they will pay for it.

And the dismantling of the Cleveland Browns on Sunday just clarifies each point. Russell Wilson added to historic pace with 3 more TD’s with Doug Baldwin catching two of them. Jermain Kearse made some very clutch catches and caught 7 passes for 110 yards.

And what about Christine Michael? Coming off the scrap heap for a second chance with the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2013 draft? Once a promising RB with comparisons to Adrian Peterson, he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys as the Seahawks felt, and rightly so, that Thomas Rawls beat him out as back-up to Marshawn Lynch.  He played sparingly with Dallas before being released in November. He signed with Washington as a practice squad player but was released November 17th, his career seemingly over at age 25.

The Seahawks and Pete Carroll are all about giving players another chance.  And Michael responded well to this opportunity, heeding safety Earl Thomas’ advice to reel it back and play without pointing fingers at himself for doing well. The result was 16 carries for 84 yards and a repentant Michael gave credit not to himself, but to the offensive line for his success.

Perhaps this will be the window of opportunity for Michael to have a successful career in the NFL.

Who knows, right? I don’t see Lynch coming back in 2016 as he is breaking down. I think the smart thing for him would be to retire now while most people can remember just what a remarkable running back he was.  With a tandem of Thomas Rawls and this version of Christine Michael, the running game would be in good hands.

The Hawks are 9-5 right now. If they can win out, that will put them at 11-5 which most likely will put them as the number 2 as a wild card. They will most likely travel to the NFC East division champion, most likely the team from Washington which I see them as winning.

Next up are the St. Louis Rams, a proverbial thorn in the Seahawks side if there ever was one…if they can win that game, I believe there will be a re-match with the Patriots and this time, the outcome will be very different.

I’m in!

GO HAWKS!

Seahawks at Cardinals: Hawks Win 10-7

Steven Hauschka will be everyone's favorite Seahawk after Sunday's Win!
Steven Hauschka will be everyone’s favorite Seahawk after Sunday’s Win!

The man in the picture above doesn’t seem like hero material, does he.  I mean, he’s not what the typical hero should look like.  Someone who is at least 6’5″ and 240 pounds with a stare that could cut granite.

Believe it or not, Steven Hauschka is 6’4″ but comes in at 220 lbs. with a stare that could make people laugh.  But don’t let that demeanor fool you.  He has ice in his veins and has come through in many, many clutch situations.

While he may be a well-traveled kicker (the Hawks are his sixth NFL team, plus he had a season kicking for the UFL’s Las Vegas Locomotives), since 2011, Hauschka has found a home with Seattle.

As for the game this Sunday, I have a gut feeling that this is going to be a classic throwback defensive struggle.  Points are going to be at a premium with both teams scoring only one touchdown.

And it’s all going to come down to Hauschka’s right foot with less than 30 seconds to play…and he will come through with a 48 yard field goal to win it.

He may be the hero of the moment but the hero of the game is going to be that Seattle defense.  They will harass and  annoy the Cardinal’s third string QB Ryan Lindley, causing him to rush his throws and keep him off his game.

The secondary will clamp down on the Cardinal receivers.  Not sure if they will get any picks but for the most part, a lot of broken up passes and sure handed tackling as to mitigate any big plays.

I guess that would be one of the keys to the game.  If the defense can force the Cardinals into 3rd and long situations and get Lindley to throw downfield, opportunities for turnovers will increase.  I am fairly confident that Cardinals coaching staff will have Lindley on a short leash throwing a lot of screen passes and short passes over the middle to tight-ends and running backs.

And that just plays into perhaps the strongest part of the Seattle defense, the linebacker corps.  Bobby Wagner and Malcolm Smith need to key in on those screens and passes over the middle.  If there are going to be any picks in this game, I predict they will come from the linebackers.

But the game will come down to Hauschka’s foot…and it will be one of the sweetest wins for the Seahawks this season!

Go Hawks!

Today, I Am A Patroits & Falcons Fan!

Yep, I admit it.  Today I am a New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons fan…but for all the right reasons.

First, lets start with the reason why I am an Atlanta Falcons fan:

Falcons Helmet

The Arizona Cardinals visit Atlanta to take on the Falcons.  Most people would see a 9-2 coming to play a 4-7 team as pretty much game not worth watching.

However, with no team in the NFC South having a winning record (Falcons and New Orleans Saints lead the division with 4-7 records), the Falcons desperately need a win to take control of the division.

Which would do a huge favor to the 8-4 Seattle Seahawks who are peaking just at the right moment to make a run at taking the NFC West crown for the second year in a row.

The Cardinals are exposed.  Carson Palmer is out for the season and MSU alum Drew Stanton, performing admirably in his place, doesn’t have quite the accuracy and game experience that Palmer brings.

Also questionable is Larry Fitzgerald who will be a game-time decision.  And while Fitzgerald may no longer be the number one receiver for the Cards, there is no question that he indeed is the heart and soul of the team.

I need to mention that this game is going to be a tough one for my wife Nancy.  She is a huge New Orleans fan but is also very supportive of the Seahawks.  But she has such a great disposition about life, regardless of the outcome, she’ll see it as a win.

Now on to why I am a New  England Patriots fan:

Patriots Helmet

Let me point out right now that I have never like Tom Brady ever since he played for those arrogant assholes, the University of Michigan Wolverines.  Being a Michigan State fan, about the only time I root for the Wolverines is when they play those clowns from Ohio State University…so I was sad to see OSU spank U of M 41-28 yesterday.

But today, I will root for Brady and the Patriots as they visit (think of ESPN’s Chris Berman when you read this) the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

Our Detroit Lions have an opportunity to go 3-0 over the next 3 games with 2 home games against the Tampa Bay Bucs and the Minnesota Vikings and a road game against the hapless Chicago Bears, heading to Lambeau at 11-4.

Green Bay has a tougher schedule, starting with today’s game against New England…but not as tough as one would have hoped.

I can see the Packers going 2-2 over the next 4 games with losses against the Patriots (a rare home loss indeed) and a loss against the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo, depending on which Bills team shows up.

That would give the Packers a 10-5 record with the Lions coming to town…with the Lions in the drivers seat.

But it starts today with the Patriots putting together a great defensive and offensive game plan to beat the Packers in Lambeau.

Go Falcons and Go Patriots!

 

Seattle Seahwaks and Detroit Lions: Interesting Day of Football

If you would have told me at the start of the season that this weekend was a pivotal one for both of these teams, I probably would not have believed you.

Let’s start with the Seattle Seahawks…only because if they win against the Kansas City Chiefs, they will become the biggest fans of the Detroit Lions as they take on the 8-1 Arizona Cardinals.

The Seahawks seemed to have righted themselves after a rocky start.  I think it was a wake-up call when they traded Percy Harvin to the Jets.  It allowed the team to get back to what they are:  a team that needs to establish run and play solid defense.  Hang around until the 4th quarter and then take over the game.

I have found it very interesting over these past few weeks listening to sports talk shows, mainly the Danny, Dave and More show on 710 ESPN radio here in Seattle.

There is an understated sense of panic about these Seahawks.  At the start of the year, the Hawks changed the focus of their team and got away from what had made them so successful last year when they build the offense around Percy Harvin.  There is no denying that Harvin is a special talent.  But to paraphrase a famous line from Bull Durham, “million dollar talent but a .10 cent head” sums him up perfectly.

I applauded the quick reaction taken by the Seahawks when it just wasn’t working with Harvin…they cut their losses and got back to being the team they were last year, giving the ball to Marshawn Lynch as well as letting Russell Wilson take command of the team late in games.  It’s no surprise the Hawks are 3-1 since the departure of Harvin.

We must also take into consideration the considerable amount of talent that left the building after the Super Bowl.  Many of the second team players on the squad last year could have started on a lot of teams.  And every player in the NFL wants to be a starter.

Also, did everyone expect all other teams not to improve?  Arizona already had one heckuva defense as well as the Rams.  The Cardinals are winning because Bruce Arians is one helluva coach and they made some very smart moves to improve the offense.

The Seahawks have a very tough game ahead of them in Kansas City, one I would consider a must win.  Both teams are set up similarly, with great running backs (Hawks with Lynch and Chiefs with Jamal Charles).  Both teams have quarterbacks that make few mistakes with the ball, Russell Wilson of the Hawks and Alex Smith with Kansas City.

So what is it going to take for the Hawks to win?  First and foremost, they have to take the crowd out of the game.  Opening drive needs to be a long, sustained drive with seven points on the board.  The defense needs to keep the Chief offense off the field.  Smith loves to throw to his running backs and tight-ends so it would be wise to cover them.  They are a “move the chains” team and while they do take their shots down the field, that would play into Seattle’s strength, allowing the secondary to make some big plays.

As for the Lions against the Cardinals, all I can say is this is going to be one heck of a game.  The Lions appear to have shed the image of not being a good road team.  They did play flat against the Falcons in London for 3-1/2 quarters but came alive to win that game.

We may have caught a break with the injury to Carson Palmer…but ex-Lion Drew Stanton has the backing of Bruce Arians has he convinced the team to go after him in free agency.  Arians has so much confidence in Stanton, he feels that he should be a starter in the NFL.

No player wants to see a teammate get hurt but many times, it’s the only way to get your shot.

Lions will need to put the game in Stanton’s hands by stopping the run game and putting the Cardinals in 3rd and long situations.  Stanton is only completing 49% of his passes so the more pressure put on him, the better off the Lions will be.  But they will need to contain him since he can run.

I imagine that after tomorrow, I am going to be pretty hoarse…I’ll be nervous and jittery as I cheer on my two hometown teams.  But my heart will be mostly with the Lions.

Enjoy tomorrow everyone…this is what NFL football is about!