Don’t expect Seahawks-Jags game to be a blowout
By Jim Moore
Last week I had the top 10 reasons why the Seahawks would beat the 49ers 28-17. They won 29-3, so I was off by what, 15 points?
Oh well, they covered the 3-point spread, making me 1-1 against the spread this year after going wide right in the first game – I took Carolina plus-3.5, and the Panthers lost to the Seahawks 12-7.
This week it would be idiotic to list the top 10 reasons why the Seahawks will beat the Jaguars when everyone knows there are a million reasons why that will happen. So let’s go with a different list and call this one …
The top 10 reasons why Jacksonville will cover the 19-point spread:
10) Whenever there’s a spread this high in the NFL, more often than not – as in 90 percent of the time – the big underdog loses but the game is much closer than expected. There’s historical proof of this, or so I’ve heard – I didn’t personally check it out.
9) Maurice Jones-Drew is an elite back who will have some effective runs and at the very least help the Jaguars get in position for two or three field goals, maybe even a touchdown. Yes, he’s questionable with an ankle injury. But if he plays, remember that he’s a quality back who rushed for more than 4,300 yards in a three-year span from 2009-2011.
Jags running back Maurice Jones-Drew has an injured foot and is coming off a down season, but he has three Pro Bowls and a rushing title on his resume. (AP)
I’ve never forgotten the game at Husky Stadium in 2004 when he rushed for 322 yards and five touchdowns in a big UCLA win. What a night that was.
8) Even if MJD can’t play, Justin Forsett could provide some darts here and there. You know this because you remember what Forsett was capable of when he played for the Seahawks. You also know I’m reaching when I include Justin Forsett among the top 10 reasons why Jacksonville will cover the 19-point spread.
7) Here’s a smaller reach: Denard Robinson. If there’s a former quarterback from Michigan who will have a big impact on this game, it’s likely to be Robinson over Chad Henne. In fact, Henne is No. 1 on someone else’s list of the top 10 reasons why the Seahawks will blow out the Jaguars. But Robinson, he’s on my list because of how quick and elusive he is. If I’m Jags coach Gus Bradley, I try to get the ball to him as much as I can and take my chances, even if it’s an unconventional approach.
6) Speaking of Bradley, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll won’t run up the score on his former defensive coordinator.
5) The Seahawks are No. 1 in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 113 yards a game. Guess who’s No. 2? The Jags! They’ve allowed an average of only 142.5 yards against Kansas City and Oakland. And Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s been a little erratic.
4) Penalties. The Seahawks are averaging 9.5 flags and 91.5 penalty yards a game. Expect that to continue this week. Why? With Carroll putting such an emphasis on cleaning things up? Because there’s little chance that the Seahawks will be completely focused on a vastly inferior opponent, increasing the probability of another yellow-flag fest.
3) Human nature. Carroll can talk all he wants about using the same approach every week no matter the opponent. But his players aren’t ignorant idiots – they watch ESPN and the NFL Network. They know that Jacksonville’s terrible. They can’t possibly be as up for this game as they were for the 49ers.
2) Human nature II: On the flip side, the Jags watch ESPN and the NFL Network, too. They’ve heard how awful they are from all the pundits. They could be one of the worst teams ever. They might go 0-16. I mean, come on, they lost to Oakland. How could they possibly beat the Seahawks? If I’m a Jacksonville player, I hear this crap and I’m mustering up every ounce of motivation I have to make a good showing on Sunday and prove the doubters wrong.
1) The loss of Russell Okung. Why is this the No. 1 reason? I don’t know, it’s as good as any, isn’t it? How will the Seahawks deal with the absence of their starting left tackle? They’ll probably survive without him this week, whether it involves Paul McQuistan for most of the game or cameo appearances by Alvin Bailey and Michael Bowie. Whatever the case, it’s a downgrade from Okung, increasing the likelihood of Jacksonville getting pressure on Wilson.
Prediction: Seahawks 31, Jaguars 13.
Season record against the spread: 1-1.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.