Thursday, October 22, 2015

NFL Picks, Week 7 - Thursday Night Edition

This week's NFL TV maps: 506sports

The majority of the country (in terms of map coverage, not necessarily number of households) will see 
New York Jets at New England (CBS, 1 PM)
New Orleans at Indianapolis (FOX, 1 PM)

The entire country will see 
Buffalo "at" Jacksonville (Yahoo Livestream, 9:30 AM) - this game is being played in London
Dallas at New York Giants (FOX, 4:25 PM)
Philadelphia at Carolina (NBC, 8:30)
Baltimore at Arizona (ESPN, 8:30 *Monday*)

Note, all times above are Eastern. 

SAN FRANCISCO (+6.5) over Seattle

The Seahawks are in the midst of a severe downward spiral. They have held the lead in the fourth quarter in all 6 of their games so far this season...but that has translated into just 2 wins. Granted, this defense has always had trouble holding 4th quarter leads, but the offense did a better job of killing the clock or bailing the defense out. This year the offense is wildly inconsistent, but when it's bad it is atrocious. I have seen the statistics about how rare it is for a team to rebound from a 2-4 start to make the playoffs. That doesn't concern me much. As rough sledding as these 6 games have been, the Sehawks are 2 games back of the Cardinals for the division with 2 head-to-head games still to play, and 1.5 games back of the Vikings for the final wildcard spot with a head-to-head match-up still to come. Basically, it comes down to whether Seattle can correct and/or hide some of their flaws and become the team we have grown to expect to see over these last 2.5 seasons. 

If the Seahawks are to maintain a realistic shot at the playoffs, they need to snap out of their funk tonight. If they are to snap out of their funk, it usually happens one of two ways. 
1) The execution catches up to the effort, and a blowout win results, relieving tension and allowing the players to relax. 
2) Not much changes, but the team finds/wills a way to win. While the players may not relax, they can focus all of their attention to bettering their execution, without having to a) explain how another winnable game slipped away and b) worry whether even if they do right the ship, that they've left it too late for this season. 

I desperately want to expect scenario #1. I've had enough sitting on the edge of my seat for the previous 6 games, only to end up disappointed. But two main factors make me lean towards expecting #2. 
1. This game is on the road - Seattle has not yet shown the ability to go on the road and put together a full game. The Bengals game was close, but then that 4th quarter happened. Granted, the 49ers are by far the weakest opponent they will face on the road this season, but it remains a cause for concern. 
2. They made a limited quarterback look like a world beater last week. Cam Newton drove 80+ yards down the field 4 times against this Seahawks defense. Colin Kaepernick is a similarly limited quarterback (probably more so), and this defense needs to bounce back quickly to ensure he doesn't have a similar performance. 

All of that leads me to believe that this game will be an ugly slugfest, and I will be pacing the house for the enitre 4th quarter. Hopefully this ending will be different. 

2015 Midweek Games: 2-3-1

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