Seahawks Insider

Hawks have to prove it

Post by News Tribune Staff on Nov. 30, 2006 at 9:32 am with 36 Comments »
November 30, 2006 9:32 am

11 30 2006 Picks Week 13.jpgOur picks are in for Week 13. Not a lot of variety. My wife and I disagreed on only one game this week. She took the Packers at home against the Jets.

I expected a few more disagreements given that I took chances on the Giants and Raiders this week. She happened to agree on those.

We both picked against the Seahawks. We didn’t really pick for the Broncos, who are struggling, but it’s tough to pick Seattle on the road given its problems this season. Generally it takes no justification to pick the Broncos at home. This one feels a little different given Mike Shanahan’s decision to stick a rookie QB in the lineup.

Seattle should continue to improve with Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander back in the lineup. But until the Seahawks beat a quality team, they don’t get the benefit of the doubt. Note: Seattle owns one victory this season over a team that currently has a winning record (Giants). The Seahawks have beaten teams with a .338 winning percentage. Only three teams — Green Bay, Arizona and Oakland — have a lower “strength of victory” percentage.

Leave a comment Comments → 36
  1. But until the Seahawks beat a quality team, they don’t get the benefit of the doubt.

    I couldn’t agree more. I think this is a very winnable game for the Seahawks but as my ma used to say – the proof is in the pudding.

  2. chuck_easton says:

    This game was the toughest for me to pick in my football pool this week. While I too am waiting for the Seahawks to break out on the road against a quality team I also had a difficult time going with a true rookie QB starting his first NFL game.

    Unfortunately, non of the above isn’t an option in my pool so I went with the Seahawks for no other reason than 31 years of blind loyalty. But I don’t exactly feel positive about this choice.

  3. I’m going with the ‘Hawks based on the fact that having Shaun & Hass back increases our offense’s ability to control the game and, more importantly, the clock. This should give our defense an edge they haven’t had in recent games….

    Week 1 (at DET) – 32:25
    Week 2 (AZ) – 31:53
    Week 3 (NYG) – 38:00
    Week 4 (at CHI) – 24:28; No Alexander
    Week 5 (BYE)
    Week 6 (at STL) – 27:55
    Week 7 (MIN) – 27:41; Hass injured
    Week 8 (at KC) – 17:45
    Week 9 (OAK) – 35:39
    Week 10 (STL) – 26:08
    Week 11 (at SF) – 23:48; Alexander back
    Week 12 (GB) – 36:07; Hass back

    Notice how we dip below the 30 minute mark once Shaun goes out and don’t get back above it until Hass gets back.

    Mike, not to put extra work on you, but could you dig up the win/loss stats on the teams we played *at the time we played them*? We seem to have this weird thing going where, once we beat a team, they nose-dive…leaving pundits to opine that we haven’t beaten anyone of substance…when in reality, we were the team that brought the other guy crashing back down to reality.

  4. dcrockett17 says:

    Note: …The Seahawks have beaten teams with a .338 winning percentage. Only three teams — Green Bay, Arizona and Oakland — have a lower “strength of victory” percentage.

    –> This is nitpicking, but endulge my rant against the league’s reporting of dumb stats here for a second. I find it incredible that the league even bothers to calculate “victory strength.” It’s not just useless. It’s worse. It can penalize a good team for being in a weak division; or more likely, it rewards a mediocre team just for being in a strong division while penalizing an equally mediocre team just for being in a weak division.

    In the NFC where 7 teams, almost half the conference, are all within a game of .500 it’s likely that the difference between some team that finishes 8-8 over another who finishes 9-7 will be *entirely* a function of when both played a common opponent.

    Seattle isn’t as good as the Cowboys right now but take Romo, Julius Jones, either of their lame tackles out of that lineup for the same amount of time as Hass, Alexander, and Locklear and they wouldn’t win another game. This week they’ll likely beat the hell out of a completely different Giants team than the one we beat. They are likely to get a much “cheaper” quality win than the one we got. Sure, they beat Indy in a close game at their place but we won’t get a team of that quality at our place this year.

  5. luckman15 says:

    Strength of victory in the NFL isn’t a huge factor in my picking. This is the NFL…”Any given Sunday…” The Hawks will win and prove it.

  6. tribfan1 says:

    I find Mike Sando to be a typical sports journalist, what a shame. I guess I was “fooled” into believing you were much better. The one NFL media expert out there that seems to have some analytical ability is Steve Young, but I shouldn’t be surprised since he’s a former NFL QB and one of the smartest one’s in league history. His statement on the Monday night pre-game show is exactly the same mantra I’ve been spouting the past three years. The reason Seattle is better than their record is the symbiotic relationship between their running, passing and defense. When the offense gets the consistency going with both the running game and passing game then the defense if also healthy will play at the same high level. Only more injuries will derail the Hawks the rest of the way. This offense has never been healthy and has missed a lot of key players for extended periods. The league MVP was injured in the first minutes of the season and was playing behind a line that hadn’t come together yet because of training camp injuries. Hass is an MVP type QB. He can’t be replaced on this roster. Bobby Engram is the most consistent receiver. Womack, Locklear and Pro Bowlers Tobeck are difficult to replace and maintain any offensive rhythm. This defense needs to get off the field and struggles when constantly forced to play big minutes. When given the rest a consistent offense brings the defense is top 10 caliber. Shaun and Matt are looking like they are getting the rust off. I thought that was obvious in the 2nd half Monday. The defense also looked better too. Last year’s defense was a bend but don’t break type of D. This year’s is too, except they’ve been given less field to defend a lot more often. Unless injuries continue to strike the key players, I expect better play the rest of the way.

  7. tribfan1 says:

    Every team has to prove it, every game.

  8. Hey tribfan – I believe that Steve Young was singing Mike’s song on Monday night. Mike has been saying on this blog for weeks that the Seahawk’s defensive woes are partly due to our offensive woes.

  9. lsquire56 says:

    ‘typical sports journalist, what a shame. I guess I was “fooled” into believing you were much better’

    tribfan? That’s an ironic username… Mike’s the BEST – take it to the bank!!!

  10. Mike,

    Mark my words, Hawks will win this Sunday night at Denver.

  11. Off-topic, but check this out:

    Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck doesn’t appear to have a broken finger, as was reported by a local television station Tuesday. Hasselbeck wore a glove over his left hand in practice Wednesday and took just one snap, by accident as he put it. The rest of the time he was either handed the ball or kept one in his hands. His throws looked strong.
    — Seattle Times

    Who is right? Is this information warfare or what?

  12. Mike tries to be objective on the Seahawks and he’s getting ripped for it. Facts are facts. The Seahawks have benefited from an incredibly weak schedule, as has been the case much of the Holmgren regime.

  13. And yet…we have nothing to do with the schedule. In fact, I have yet to hear that we actively pursued being traded to the NFC West. Last I knew, we were cast out of the AFC so as to make room for Houston, who had been promised a spot in the AFC when their shiny new franchise started up. So forgive me if I don’t hold the Seahawks accountable for the failures of the teams we were scheduled to play 5 years ago.

    It’s one thing to be objective…it’s quite another to decide that “Seattle’s really not that great because they haven’t beaten any good teams”. I don’t think Sando’s done that, but it’s the majority of Seahawks coverage I *do* hear in national media outlets.

    The Giants *were* good…then they lost to us and went on a skid. Lately they’ve been battling the injury bug as well. Was that our fault? And if the Giants really weren’t that good, why do I *still* have to listen to stories about how good they are every day?

    The Rams *were* good…then they lost to us twice and I guess they couldn’t handle the strain. Supposedly Linehan had his OC make the calls for the last game…their first win in 6 games. Was that our fault?

    The Cardinals were supposed to have been an improved team this year. Two killer receivers and a star college 1st-round QB…all of which nearly gave the Bears their first loss. Nearly. Are the Seahawks to blame for them being 2-9?

    I’ll grant you, this year’s performance hasn’t been as stellar as last year’s (when we beat all those poor teams also), but then again, we didn’t go through the middle of the season without our 1st string QB & RB. We had injuries at positions which were much more easily covered skill-wise (Jurevicius for Jackson, Hackett for Engram, Hannam when needed, etc). We have done well to have weathered the storm and barring any further injuries, should be showing marked improvement week by week.

    Sorry if I’ve tread on any toes, but I’ve never approved of the “weak schedule” sophistry.

  14. nighthawk2 says:

    Call me a homer, but I say Seattle wins this game, 21-17 or 24-20. A rookie QB, a banged up Tatum Bell, and no real go-to receiver means Denver loses.

    Going with the underdog this weekend. I’m taking: Titans, Cardinals, Vikings, Texans, Redskins. I’m also taking the Cowboys (what have you been smoking to possibly pick the Giants?). You’ve ignored my victory over your picks, so read ‘em and weep.

  15. nighthawk2 says:

    OK, so Javon Walker is a go to receiver, but the rest holds true. So there.

  16. PapaHawk says:

    Subject: Hawks schedule. You cannot control your schedule. It would be great to have a strong “strength of victory” but you can’t control it, so who cares? Its a tie-breaker only after several more meaningful categories are knotted up.

    Mike does a nice job of providing his bloggers a variety of stats to look at to draw their own conclusions. Sometimes he chimes in with his opinions, which usually are pretty close to being on the money. To be a great team you have to break through and win a tough game on the road. Seattle did that last year, although it was not against teams with great records, but just teams that gave them all they had. You can count on the Broncos to give them all they have as they play for their playoff lives. This is a HUGE game for the Broncos and will be tough for the Hawks to win. A win here will make up for the Vikings debacle. At least this game doesn’t kick off at 10:00am PST. Stop the run, run the ball, Seattle wins the game.

  17. We have quite a colorful group when it comes to this strength of victory discussion. It is interesting because this statistic doesn’t really mean much other than generating a topic to discuss around the water cooler, or providing material for the talking heads. The NFL is about deciding who is better on the field. If the Seahawks keep winning then we will get to see how they do in the playoffs against better teams. If they don’t keep winning then we can spend the off season figuring out what went wrong. At the end of the day, strength of victory doesn’t really matter.

  18. tribfan1: You sound like a typical fan, upset when someone picks against your team. But I know you’re better than that. Otherwise you wouldn’t spend 17 hours a day here. Look, I won’t be surprised if the Seahawks win the game, but Denver needs this one more and the Hawks are a shaky 7-4. Denver, for all its struggles, won at New England by double-digits this season. The Hawks turned it over four times in the first half against a bad team at home … within the last four days! They made the 49ers look like a great, smashmouth, power running team. The burden of proof is on the Hawks.

  19. martygivens says:

    Mike S – wow, want to get a reaction; just go against the Hawks!

    I think they will win…IF…the put together a defensive package that no one on the Bronco’s staff has seen before.

    I think the Bronco’s D will shut down SA and make MH try and beat them. Maybe he’ll be able to pull that off but not if the D can’t shut down Cutler and the Bronco running game.

  20. Mike, I don’t mind the burden of proof being on the ‘Hawks. What I do mind is that, if we win, we will hear that it didn’t matter because the Broncos aren’t really that good after all. As for the rest…

    The 49er game pointed out glaring weaknesses with our defense, which hopefully have been addressed. However, using that game to disparage the offense holds no water…we no longer have that same group of players.

    Arguments involving the Green Bay game only hold about a half-glass…you decide if it’s half-full or half-empty. But consider, the 4 turnovers took place in the first 2 quarters of Hass’s first game back…there were none in the 2nd half. Add to that the facts that the defense kept the Packers from running away with the game, the Special Teams (a la Josh Brown) kept us *in* the game, and the offense came back and won the game and I’ll go with half-full until I see differently.

  21. nighthawk2 says:

    The Donkies also lost to the Rams, couldn’t score a TD on the Chiefs at home (and only 1 on the road), blew a lead at home against San Diego and squeeked by the Raiders. They don’t scare people.

  22. aelliott11 says:

    A new QB in Denver is the biggest wild card. He could go out there and play like your typical rookie, or he could spark the offense like Romo has in Dallas. Heard on ESPN radio the other day that Shannahan is finally glad to have a QB who can run his WC offense – someone to plant his feet and throw – rather than running so many bootlegs for Plummer. And that Cutler provides an energy to the offense that Denver has been missing. The O could really rally around him this weekend.

    Not saying we can’t beat them, just saying it will be tough. In Mile High, with Denver’s very stout defense (esp vs the run), and a rejuvenated offense.

  23. aelliott11 says:

    Oh, and we’re on a short week. With the Monday Night letdown.

  24. martygivens says:

    It’s going to be all about confusing their first time starter. If the coaches don’t get that right then the Hawks lose.

  25. It seems like Sando’s status as a high quality sports journalist ought to be based on something other than his ability to pick who will win every week (although he’s not doing too bad at that either.)

    I think we might want to evaluate that on the basis of his journalistic activities, which I find to be pretty good. He’s gotten pretty tricky with his sports blog here, incorporating not just his own reporting, but audio reports, interviews with players, and other fun stuff that have the lot of us setting this blog as our home page and figuring out RSS aggregators etc.

    Right now I think Sando is setting the bar for sports journalists online. The only thing I haven’t seen him do yet is online video, but I figure it’s coming. (I have visions of Brock breaking down defensive plays using one of those TV chalkboard things…) Video podcasts, come on Sando, we know you’re thinking about it.

    That said, I think the Bengals will take the Ravens, the Redskins win at home, the Eagles win at home and the Hawks win on the road.

  26. dcrockett17 says:

    I suppose, since I started this mess, I ought to clarify. Strength of victory does not matter in any practical sense. It is way down on the list of potential playoff tiebreakers.

    I just can’t figure out how anyone at the league office thought it was a good idea to even have it be one of the tiebreakers at all–admittedly, a purely philosophical/academic point. You’d be better off flipping a coin by the time you get to the strength of victory tiebreaker; and at least a coin flip would be an unbiased measure. S of V is totally biased. It treats two teams differently who do the same thing (i.e., win) based on factors beyond their control (i.e., who they play and when). And, on top of that, it doesn’t tell you anything. Last year’s Panthers had several narrow victories over good teams while Seattle had few victories over good teams but numerous blowouts over bad teams. We see how that one turned out.

    The silliness of the NFL’s stats are just a pet peeve of mine. It’s like it’s somehow unmasculine to come up with more informative stats. QB rating is insightful because it’s an index of a number of important factors. That’s good. Yet defenses are still rated solely by yardage–no allotment for score, field position, or turnovers. That’s just silly, and it drives me crazy.

  27. Think most people picked Hawks to lose in Denver from the time the schedule came out. Hawks haven’t played well there for some time now. Hope Hawks do well, but haven’t really expected them to.

  28. ElPerroGrandeDos says:

    I’d put it slightly differently:

    Until the Hawks beat a mediocre or better team ON THE ROAD they don’t get the benefit of the doubt.

  29. The Rams were 4-1 when we played them in St. Louis, and we were missing Shaun Alexander. Our defense didn’t play well, but if either Shaun were healthy or Morris had held onto the ball, we win that game easily by 10 points, even though they had a big half-time lead.

    They were more than “mediocre” when we beat them.

  30. PapaHawk says:

    The burden of proof is actually on both teams this weekend. The Hawks need it to set themselves apart from the mediocre. The Broncos need it to stay alive. Staying alive is more important, so that edge should go to the Broncos. However, a West Coast offense doesn’t click in one week, we know that. The Seahawks defense is certainly on the spot. I agree with Sando in that you cannot pick against the Broncos at home when their opponent has proven nothing of its ability to win on the road against a quality team. All Hawks losses look the same:
    1) can’t stop the run consistently
    2) Allow big pass play to keep drives alive
    3) Turnovers by the Seattle offense.

    All four losses basically look the same. We’ll know after 20 minutes of football whether this game will be a win or a loss. Not by the score, but by the way the game is being played. You knew the Hawks would win the GB game, even at halftime. The Hawks were winning the line of scrimmage.

  31. Sando is just like Skip Bayless of ESPN and all the others who constantly put down the Hawks.

    Look,they were without their 2 best players for over a month! At least they hung in there. Schedule, smedule. All these teams are in the NFL and supposed to have the best players and coaches in the world.

    The East Coast media dogged them all season last year (when they even noticed them) and they made it to the Super Bowl. We all know what happened there.

    Give them a break! Quit micro analyzing them! Maybe try enjoying the game and being a true fan. Especially you in Seattle.

  32. vichawkfan says:

    we don’t turn the ball over, run for over 150yrds, and sack Cutler more than 3 times = win.

  33. cpblessing says:

    “The Hawks were winning the line of scrimmage.” I repeat that statement.. I could tell in the first half we would beat the packers.. We won the battle up front..

  34. Marinerman1979 says:

    how are the hawks a shaky 7-4??? I thought they had injury problems…woops!

  35. ElPerroGrandeDos says:

    Sando is only 1/2 the idiot Skip Bayless is (kidding) … Skip is probably one of the biggest moron’s on TV (not kidding) …

  36. tribfan1 says:

    Sando, you spend 17 hours a day here, not me. You are a reporter not an analyst. I’m not upset you aren’t picking the Hawks to win. Any reporter would pick them to lose on the road to a 7-4 team. This team isn’t playing Seneca Wallace at QB at Denver. Matt had his warm up game against the Packers. Shaun is finally in the groove. The OL has been playing the best it has all season. Their consistency in the 2nd half of the Packer game got the defense off the field. The defense responded in kind. They aren’t playing at 10:00 am, it’s a night game. And they are playing against a rookie QB who has never started or played more than a couple snaps. Also, they are playing against a QB who is not an injury replacement. If he makes mistakes early you’d think perhaps the team may begin to question the head coach. No I don’t expect you to understand that. You are a reporter. But I like you a lot. You are the true Seahawk Insider. I don’t always expect the Hawks to win. The games Seneca started I only picked the Hawks to win one of them (Raiders). I just don’t like it when reporters or fans give opinion and can only back it up with the team has sucked when they had a lot of key players out. Every team has to prove itself every week.

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