By Jim Moore
If I’m going to boast about being 9-1 against the spread in the first 10 Seahawks games, I deserve to get it back in my face, and it’s been delivered Richard Sherman-style.
I went wide right with the Miami game, taking Seattle minus-3. Then I went really wide right with the Arizona game, taking the Cardinals plus-10. In between, I did connect with the Seahawks plus-3 against the Bears.
So that puts the season mark at 10-3, but I admit to losing confidence in picking Seahawks games. I mean, come on, who in their right mind could’ve taken the Cardinals and the points against the Seahawks? In hindsight, that wasn’t a bad pick, that was a horrible pick.
Bills defensive end Mario Williams has come on strong after a slow start, totaling six sacks over his last four games. (AP)
It’s affected the way I’m looking at the Buffalo game. I don’t know if I should just throw out the Seahawks’ 58-0 victory over Arizona because the Cardinals are terrible and probably quit in the second half or whether I should look at Pete Carroll’s team as being suddenly invincible.
I also feel like I’m overanalyzing this stuff – when you look at these two teams, if they were to play 100 games, wouldn’t the Seahawks win 90 to 95 times?
The Seahawks are 8-5; the Bills 5-8. The Seahawks are on the rise with a chance to finish as the No. 2 playoff seed in the NFC. The Bills were supposed to be good this year, and they’re not.
The Seahawks should have gained confidence from their overtime win at Chicago – it’s bound to help them as they try to win their third road game this week.
The Bills? They’re trying to salvage their season while columnists in Buffalo are clamoring for the coach and general manager to be fired.
What’s the mood in the locker room? Will they play hard for their coach? Will they play hard even though they’re out of the playoff race?
The Bills do have some positive trends going. In the last five games, they’ve allowed 273 yards a game, second only to the Steelers. They’ve been especially stingy on the ground, allowing 78 yards a game.
The Seahawks need to be concerned about sack specialist Mario Williams and running back C.J. Spiller, who projects to have a 100-yard game since he’ll be the featured back after a knee injury sidelined Fred Jackson.
Look out, too, for Rian Lindell – the Coug has made 19 of his 20 field-goal attempts this year. Lindell has a special wing in the Go 2 Guy Hall of Fame. His 47-yard field goal in the 1998 Rose Bowl didn’t beat Michigan but it allowed the Cougs to beat the spread.
Seattle might be without Sidney Rice (foot), but I don’t expect that to hurt the offense too much. It’s versatile enough to compensate with Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and improving targets at tight end.
Lynch should have a big day against his former teammates. I’m guessing he’ll have a little extra incentive this week, unleashing his inner Beast Mode to go with the outer Beast Mode we see week after week. Expect Lynch to punish the Bills and their supposedly improved run defense.
Another factor in the Seahawks’ favor: I like that the game’s in Toronto. Bills coach Chan Gailey admitted to Seattle reporters that it’s more like a road game than a home game. It’ll be like playing at a neutral site, and the Rogers Centre holds only 45,000 for football, so how loud and distracting can it be for opponents?
Plus, how many of the fans will be there to see the Gangnam Style guy’s halftime show? Maybe more than those who will be there to watch the game.
As I write this sentence, I really have no idea which way to go. Should I take the Bills and 5 or take the Seahawks and give the 5?
I guess if I’m going to talk about the Seahawks having a good shot at winning the NFC West and earning the No. 2 NFC playoff seed, I’ve got to pick them to beat the Bills and cover the spread. But they’ll have to grind it out.
Prediction: Seahawks 20, Bills 13.
Season record against the spread: 10-3.