Beat The Man - Week Eight

"So as we continue the struggle to get ahead here at BTM, weekly nail-biting has resulted in a tiny bit of black on the ledger...Add to that...the X-factor of solid teams haphazardly going average and allowing geeked-up teams to catch them sleeping."

Last Week’s Results: 3-2
Season to Date: 15-12

So as we continue the struggle to get ahead here at BTM, weekly nail-biting has resulted in a tiny bit of black on the ledger. Hardly anything to boast about. However, a quick pass at this year’s weekly picks unveils I have had only one losing week (3-2 in wk5). Perhaps slightly above .500 is more suitable than any single week of gambling devastation? (The law of Schleprock demands I now go winless this week for pointing out some semblance of success. Ooops.)

Add to that the fact I historically struggle through the NFL’s mid-season – due to the X-factor of solid teams haphazardly going average and allowing geeked-up teams to catch them sleeping. Picking those occasions is the key to winning the mid-season. Which I guess I’m not very good at cuz I’m a seeker of the truth, the valid, the sincere, and the worthy. (Wait… tell me again why I’ve been a Seahawk fan since the early-80’s? Maybe I need some more visible bread-crumbs… Har!)

Without further ado, let’s get to this week’s consistent mediocrity…

NE –3 @ PIT
Speaking of consistency… has there ever been anything more dictionary-defining than New England? I mean, they’ve just met 2 of the league’s hottest teams, gunning to take them down, the media on board for a loss – and emerged victorious again. Neither victory was particularly impressive, but isn’t that how they’ve been doing it since the streak started? Their continual get-by approach even has the bookmakers disrespecting them. Who could conceive that a team on a record-winning streak would find themselves giving only 3 to a team with little to fear? Is that fair respect? Hardly. I truly felt the Hawks had the goods, and the Jets had the juvenile juice to get underneath the spread the last 2 weeks, with a chance for a win. Alas, neither did achieve. Is that an accident, or do we need to stop clouding the reality that America’s red-white-and-blue crew…understand winning? Truly – they are the essence of The Patriot. Led by Tom Brady, The Minuteman. They answer the call. Every time.

Now, beCAUSE of the last 2 opponents – this game rightly has “trap game” marked upon it. Two games at home vs. headline opponents, met success, and now the champs hit the road to face the quietly successful Steelers, the proper hunter to trap the rabbit’s foot. They’re playing pretty good ball. Four straight wins. None of them adorned by 4-leaf clovers. They’re feeling pretty good about themselves and earning the win each week. They’d be the team to pick here, if not for the fact they’re playing a team that has proven themselves immune to such passive appearances. Therefore, we throw our fear of the “trap” out the window.

The reality here is that media darling rookie QB, Ben Roethlisberger, after finding success vs. such “championship caliber” teams as MIA, CIN, CLE, and DAL - is about to meet the NFL’s most confusing and brain-castrating defense. Welcome to the NFL…

JAX +1.5 @ HOU

Did I say the Jagz were looking for respect vs. the Colts in last weeks BTM? I believe I did. Do you respect them now? Did QB Byron Leftwich continue his consistent weekly growth? Yes, yes he did. Cherry on top – RB Fred Taylor finally busted out of the cellar and announced he’s ready for the season. I got news for you: The Colts played well. Regardless, they got beat by a team that has thought about NOTHING but another shot at them since their last meeting (which explains their inept performance in San Diego).

The Jagz, with a collective sigh of relief and comfort – now face a scrappy Texan team that likely have the same burn for “validation” as the Cats did prior to the Colts game. Another “trap game”… right? Hmm, the answer to that would lie in whether the Jagz are resolute to compete – or satisfied enough to taste champagne for 7 days.

Let me go on record as saying the Texans remind me of why I became a Seahawk fan (aha – there’s the bread crumb!). They dig down deep, and want to compete. They like the fact you don’t think they can – it gives them strength (apparently, our beloved Hawks suffer from this same disease. Which explains our demand for the scratch-and-claw position. We’re not ready for success. And perhaps we never will be). There’s an essence to the Texans that’s been there since they served a remarkable upset upon the Cowboys in their inaugural game to the NFL. They like being the small kid on the playground who busts an uppercut to your chin when you least expect it. (And plus – they have the most unique uniforms since some team got groomed back in ’76.) However… they’re not ready – and the Jagywyyyyyyres are.

The Jagz will make the playoffs this year. And this game will prove it (playoff proof is when a team follows a groundbreaking win with a clear win on the road. One where they execute as expected)…

GB – 2.5 @DC

This is one for the odd-book. Here we have 2 teams most times I’d avoid, since they’re both struggling and more importantly - unpredictable. However, looking at the 2 of them vs. each other, and what’s come before, you have to like the Packers’ chances here.

The Pack has been losing with porous D. Yet, they HAVE been putting up some pretty consistent offensive numbers. The last couple weeks Favre has been a man possessed. Much too proud and accomplished an athlete to not demand a little more from himself when the team is struggling. That’s been the difference. Their opposition, the Redskins, have been playing absolutely contrary to the Pack – consistent Defense, defeated by a porous offense led by bumbling Brunell. One that consistently bogs itself down at key moments. Looking at the teams these competitors have played, the Pack has put their points up against relatively weak defenses (Indy, Detroit, and this year’s versions of Tennessee, Dallas, and Carolina). While the Skins have put the breaks on relatively weak offenses (Tampa, Cleveland, Baltimore, Chicago, etc). Hmm… so how do we pick a side? Momentum.

The Pack is on the rebound, led by the great Brett Favre. The Skins are led by a giant question mark after sneaking past the feeble Bears. They say you win with Defense, but when push comes to shove in this contest of average – the Pack can score and the Skins can’t. That should be enough to bank on… (the thing to fear in this game is Clinton Portis. Will he show up and steal our greenbacks?)

ATL +7 @ DEN
56-10, eh? That’s about as nasty as a girl that gets rejected on Howard Stern. Wait, I’ll do that one better – that’s about as nasty as Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf’s drawers after an appearance on Howard’s show. Check that – what’s the name of that deranged drunk dude who wears the Cowboy hat and they chained up to that poor Mexican girl for a week? That’s how nasty 56-10 is. Does this mean Atlanta sucks? Nope.

We’re getting an enormous amount of points from Denver, coming off a loss, for an Atlanta team that has stuffed the run all year long but for an aberration in Kansas City. (Yes, I’m aware they also stumbled in Detroit.) This is a Falcon team still trying to find their footing – but I do believe they are a talented team that matches up QUITE well in Denver. ParTICULARLY since they just got embarrassed to the Nth degree last week.

We’ll find out what Coach Mora is made of this week. I believe he’s got the goods to get his boys up and fighting, not only for their own pride – but his as well (something Mike Holmgren lost sight of a long, long time ago. You’ll need to hang it up if you don’t get our boys ready to roast Panther this weekend, Mike. There’s simply no excuse for the way we’ve performed since that Rams meltdown. I don’t want to hear about growth anymore. We’re ready. Suit ‘em up properly. Responsibility lands squarely on your shoulders, sir. You’ll need to look deep inside yourself to understand why YOU are failing. The reflection suits you). Atlanta is worth its record. It’s not a fabrication.

On the other side, let’s be clear, Denver did not prove they suck vs. the Bengaygirls last week. Cincinnati was simply jacked-up. Long lost Monday Night lights. Hell, they could have beaten Philly! No, the Broncos are not a poor team because they lost to the Orange. They are simply not as GOOD a team as their record shows. And Atlanta is.

That’ll be this week’s upset pick.

49ers +1.5 @ CHI
In keeping with our favorite beer, we’re back on the Niners’ this week because… um, it’s the Sunday Night Bailout game and they do have a Red Stripe on their uni’s. (Bail-outs go better with beer.)

But seriously, with the exception of that long lost game against the Seahawks, the Niners have been playing their asses off with the lamest roster in all of the NFL. Sort of reminds me of that team we fielded with Kelly Stouffer at the helm, and a Raider as HC. You remember, when we had a Defense that just refused to drop – no matter how many 3-and-outs our offense dealt them. Remember that team? Rufus Porter and Eugene Robinson. Tez when he was wicked. Terry Wooden. Remember that Sunday Night ESPN game when Stouffer turned the ball over after our Defense practically gave them the endzone, and Porter finally snapped – ripping into Stouffer like he had the wrong jersey on? Let me tell you something…

I’d rather field that team than the one I’ve been watching the last 2 weeks. Without question.

The 49ers are fighting for respect each and every week. I respect it. I’ll ALWAYS respect that far and beyond above a team that has all the talent in the world – and doesn’t give a %&#$ about showing up on Sunday.

It’s time to slap someone, Mike. Coddling time is over and done with. It’s time to DEMAND!!!!!

I’d slap yourself first, and then rip into the team the way General Patton would some sissy that wants to cry while the room is full of heroes. “Account for yourself, *epithet*’s! There is no *epithet* tomorrow! There is only yourself, honor, what you’re protecting, and the enemy!”

In this case, the enemy being - ourselves. Kill it where it lives…

Kill defeat.

This week’s epithets:
NE –3
JAX +1.5
GB – 2.5
ATL +7
49ers +1.5

Beat The Man… because… someone’s got to pay for our Seahawk angst.

G. Scott Jones is a freelance writer who contributes regularly to Seahawks.NET. Reaction of any sort is always encouraged at Top Stories