Super Bowl Prop Bets

The guys over at Fansided did a great job compiling 115 of the best Super Bowl prop bets. The Super Bowl is a completely different animal when it comes to sporting events because it is one of the unique events, along with the Olympics, that can unite sports fans and non-sports fan.

Usually around 100 million people watch the Super Bowl every year and all usually have their own reasons for following. Whether you are a fan of the teams, a fan of the players, want to watch the commercials, have money on the line or you just want to attend a social gathering with friends on a Sunday, the Super Bowl offers something for everyone.

One of the more popular Super Bowl gambling games is Super Bowl squares, where a person purchases squares on a grid after which each row and column is randomly assigned a number. This game is fun, but the problem is the only real fun occurs at the end of each quarter when the last digit in each team’s score determines the winning square.

Instead, I have an alternative game you can play that involves each person who attends your party, or just a group of friends, throws $5 in a pot and makes their picks on 60 prop bets for the game. At the end of the game, the person who picks the most correct picks wins all of the money; or second place gets some; maybe you could award money to the top-3 if there are enough people.

I am going to start this game and will make my selections below. If you want to play as well, pick your selection of prop bets and have your friends fill them out. Then enjoy the Super Bowl with a March Madness-esque atmosphere as people check off correct picks throughout the day.

Prop Bets

    Passing

  1. Peyton Manning: over/under 289 yards
    OVER__ UNDER_X_
  2. Russell Wilson: over/under 210 yards
    OVER_X_ UNDER__
  3. Manning 78 yards or more passing, head-to-head vs. Wilson
    YES_X_ NO__
  4. 20% chance Wilson throws more than 3 TD passes
    YES__ NO_X_
  5. 37% chance Manning throws more than 3 TD passes
    YES__ NO_X_
  6. 54% chance Wilson throws an interception
    YES__ NO_X_
  7. 63% chance P. Manning throws an interception
    YES_X_ NO__
  8. Total Rushing Yards (over/under)

  9. Seattle team: 129.5 yards
    OVER_X_ UNDER__
  10. Denver team: 93.5 yards
    OVER__ UNDER_X_
  11. Marshawn Lynch: 92 yards
    OVER_X_ UNDER__
  12. Knowshon Moreno: 59 yards
    OVER_X_ UNDER__
  13. Russell Wilson: 33 yards
    OVER_X_ UNDER__
  14. Receiving Yards (over/under)

  15. Demaryius Thomas: 73.5 yards
    OVER__ UNDER_X_
  16. Eric Decker: 61.5 yards
    OVER__ UNDER_X_
  17. Wes Welker: 55.5 yards
    OVER_X_ UNDER__
  18. Julius Thomas: 51.5 yards
    OVER__ UNDER_X_
  19. Golden Tate: 48.5 yards
    OVER_X_ UNDER__
  20. Percy Harvin: 46.5 yards
    OVER_X_ UNDER__
  21. Doug Baldwin: 40.5 yards
    OVER_X_ UNDER__
  22. Will there be a score in the first 90 seconds of the game
    YES__ NO_X_
  23. The game will go into overtime
    YES__ NO_X_
  24. There will be a safety
    YES__ NO_X_
  25. There will be a successful two-point conversation
    YES_X_ NO___
  26. Richard Sherman gets a taunting penalty during the game
    YES__ NO_X_
  27. Peyton Manning throws a “Pick 6”
    YES__ NO_X_
  28. The game is decided by exactly 3-points
    YES__ NO_X_
  29. Percy Harvin is knocked out of the game by injury
    YES__ NO_X_
  30. MORE THAN two players combined will throw a pass
    YES__ NO_X_
  31. Seattle scores in all four quarters
    YES_X_ NO___
  32. Denver scores in all four quarters
    YES__ NO_X_
  33. At least one quarter will be scoreless
    YES__ NO_X_
  34. Richard Sherman will intercept a pass
    YES_X_ NO___
  35. BOTH teams kick field goals of 33 yards or longer
    YES_X_ NO___
  36. There will be a special teams or defensive touchdown
    YES_X_ NO___
  37. There will be a lead change in the second half
    YES_X_ NO___
  38. Total points in game will be an ODD number
    YES_X_ NO___
  39. There will be a missed field goal
    YES__ NO_X_
  40. The first score of the game will be a touchdown
    YES__ NO_X_
  41. The team that scores first will win the game
    YES__ NO_X_
  42. 50/50 Props (odds say either side of these props has exactly a 50% chance)

  43. Will there be a score in the first 6.5 minutes of the game?
    YES_X_ NO___
  44. Will the shortest touchdown be more or less than 1.5 yards?
    MORE_X_ LESS___
  45. Will the score be tied AFTER 0-0?
    YES_X_ NO___
  46. Will Denver score a rushing touchdown?
    YES_X_ NO___
  47. Will player who scores first touchdown have a jersey number above or below 79.5?
    OVER__ UNDER_X_
  48. Will Wes Welker drop a pass during the game (based on official statistics)?
    YES_X_ NO___
  49. Will any Red Hot Chili Peppers member be shirtless during the performance?
    YES_X_ NO___
  50. Over/Under . . .

  51. Over/Under for longest touchdown of the game: 44 yards
    OVER__ UNDER_X_
  52. Over/Under for longest made field goal of the game: 43.5 yards
    OVER_X_ UNDER__
  53. Over/Under for shortest made field goal of the game: 24.5 yards
    OVER_X_ UNDER__
  54. Over/Under for number of points in highest scoring quarter of game: 20 points
    OVER__ UNDER_X_
  55. Over/Under for largest lead of the game by either team: 14 points
    OVER__ UNDER_X_
  56. Over/Under for total number of interceptions by both teams combined: 1.5 interceptions
    OVER_X_ UNDER__
  57. Over/Under for net yards by both teams combined: 702.5 yards
    OVER__ UNDER_X_
  58. Over/Under for Renee Fleming to sing the National Anthem: 2 minutes and 23 seconds
    OVER_X_ UNDER__
  59. PICK YOUR MVP
    • P. Manning: __
    • R. Wilson _X_
    • M. Lynch __
    • D. Thomas __
    • K. Moreno __
    • P. Harvin __
    • R. Sherman __
    • E. Decker __
    • W. Welker __
    • J. Thomas __
    • D. Baldwin __
    • E. Thomas __
    • G. Tate __
    • Other __
  60. Wacky & Unusual Props (via Bovada)

  61. Knowshon Moreno cries during National Anthem
    YES_X_ NO__
  62. It will snow during the game
    YES__ NO_X_
  63. Erin Andrews will interview Richard Sherman live after the game
    YES_X_ NO__
  64. Temperature at kickoff OVER 32 degrees
    YES_X_ NO__
  65. First Bruno Mars song . . .
    • Locked out of Heaven: __
    • Treasure: _X_
    • Just the Way You Are: __
    • Gorilla: __
    • Marry You: __
    • The Lazy Song: __
    • Other: __
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Raise your hand if you are a sucker for emotional sports moments

I know I know, I just posted a video of Knowshon Moreno, but I just had to highlight those gushing, emotional, manly tears flowing down his face.

I’ll admit, I am a huge sucker for emotional sports moments. I’ve been brought to tears time and time again by stories like a high school football manager with down syndrome getting one carry in a football game and the other team letting him score a touchdown or the terminal cancer patient visiting his favorite team and meeting his favorite player. These types of moments choke me up.

Before the NFC Championship two weeks ago, my wife and I were eating breakfast and she said “I don’t know why, but I have this weird feeling that I’m going to cry today.” Later in the evening, right after Sherman tipped away that final pass and Malcolm Smith brought in the interception, I turned around to my wife in the bar and said “that’s it, we did it. We’re going to the Super Bowl.”

My statement was apparently enough to create an emotional release that resulted in joyful tears. This Sunday, I’ll let you know right now that I will probably end up shedding a tear or two, whether happy tears or sad tears, and I can confidently say there is nothing wrong with that.

Therefore, when I saw these two videos today and laughed and cried a little along with the people in the videos, I figured I had to share them with everybody in case they hadn’t seen the clips.

Nearly every year there is some big sporting event to which one person gives another person tickets and films the reveal. A year ago, a lifelong Alabama fan received a Bear Bryant fedora inside of which were two tickets to the national championship. A grown man was brought to tears because he was going to watch his favorite team play in the biggest game of the season.

Now that the Seahawks are in the Super Bowl, that big ticket reveal involved a lifelong Seahawks fan who just couldn’t believe what her son was giving her. If you are a Seahawks fan, try to watch this whole video without tearing up. It’s okay if you cry, it shows you feel some of those emotions that mother is feeling. Could you imagine your reaction if someone surprised you with Super Bowl tickets?

Moving on to the second video. Remember that story last week about the two twin girls who wear hearing aids and wrote a letter to Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman, the same Derrick Coleman who was featured in the Duracel commercial? Not only did those girls get a hand-written response back from their new favorite player, but that wasn’t the end of the feel good story.

If you aren’t sure what happened next, watch this video; but at this point I’m sure you could guess what’s coming next.

I’ve been thinking/saying it all year that something about this 2013-2014 Seahawks seems different. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it’s almost as if the players on the roster are fully aware of how blessed they are to be playing in the NFL and want to give back to the community as much as possible. Man, I love the Seahawks.

Is it Sunday yet? #GoHawks.

Meet the Denver Broncos

Meet the Broncos Offense | Defense | Special Teams


If you thought the 49ers were the biggest rivals in Seattle Seahawks history, then you probably don’t know much about the team prior to 2002. After playing their inaugural season in the NFC West in 1976, the Seahawks switched conferences and joined the Raiders, Chargers, Chiefs and Broncos in the AFC West where they remained until the beginning of the 2002 season.

Between 1977 and 2001, The Seahawks and the Broncos played each other 50 times in the regular season, but have met only three times since – 2002, 2006 and 2010 (they have played preseason games each of the last two seasons). In those 53 total regular season games, the Broncos hold a 33-18 edge and are 1-0 in the playoffs. In my lifetime, the Seahawks have only beaten the Broncos 11 times in 33 games.

Of all the teams and all the games the Seahawks have played throughout their 38-year history, 31 teams and 619 games to be exact, the Seahawks have the worst winning percentage against the Broncos – 34.6 percent. Seahawks fans hated the Broncos since before it became cool to hate the Niners.

But these Broncos are a far different team than the Broncos of yesteryear – the John Elway-Mike Shanahan Broncos (those were the ones I despised anyway). Okay well I guess John Elway is still with the Broncos, he’s just the president now, not the quarterback.

So who then comprises the 2013 Broncos? Who are the eight different players who caught receiving touchdowns this season? You may have heard of Von Miller or Champ Bailey, but are there any other players on the defense you should know about? Let me try and answer as many questions you have about the roster right……. now.

Offense

Quarterback:

Starter: Peyton Manning
Backup: Brock Osweiler

I think it’s safe to say Peyton Manning is one of the biggest sports celebrities in the country right now. He’s been in the league since he was 22 and is about to complete his 16th season. He’s had four neck surgeries since 2010, has two soldered-together vertabrae in his neck, and missed the entire 2011 season following neck surgery, nearly costing him his career. This year, though, he’s been insanely good. Setting records for passing yards (5,477) and passing touchdowns (55) in a season.

What to watch for: During the 2013 postseason, Peyton Manning has not been sacked, nor hit. During the AFC Championship, Manning was able to throw for 400 yards against the Patriots, largely because of his protection in the pocket. No matter how good the Seahawks secondary is, Manning will excel if he avoids pressure. I’d expect a lot of short, quick throws early to slow the Hawks pass rush a bit.

Running Backs

Starter: Knowshon Moreno
Backup: Montee Ball

Entering last season, Knowshon Moreno was on nobody’s radar when it came to naming a feature back in Denver – he played in only 7 games in 2011. Willis McGahee was the starter and Ronnie Hillman was the upstart rookie out of San Diego State. Then, McGahee broke his leg, Hillman underperformed and the former-first-round-pick Moreno had his opportunity. Since taking over as the starter in week 12 last year, Moreno has carried the ball 318 times for 1,721 yards in 25 games and caught 85 passes for 758 yards, scoring 17 total touchdowns. Against the Patriots early this year, Moreno had the game of his career, rushing 37 times for 224 yards and one touchdown, averaging 6.1 yards per carry and yet his long run of the game was only 18 yards.

What to watch for: Despite Moreno’s first 1,000-yard rushing season, I think the key man out of the backfield will be the NCAA career leader in rushing touchdowns, Monte Ball. After his 37-carry effort on November 24, Moreno has only carried the ball more than 15 times once and Ball has reached double digit carries in five of the seven games while having only three such games in the first 11 games of the season. Why is this important? Because despite Ball averaging 4.7 yards per carry this season, he lost fumbles in the second and third games of the season and again against the Patriots, nearly costing his team the game. If Ball gets double digit touches, look for the Seahawks defense to aggressively try and force a fumble.

Wide Receivers

Starters: Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker
Backups: Andre Caldwell, Trindon Holiday

This is by far the most talented position group on the Denver Broncos. Thomas, Decker and Welker combined to catch 252 passes for 3,496 yards and 35 touchdowns. In fact, there were only two games all season (week 11 against the Chiefs and week 15 vs. the Chargers) in which Thomas, Decker and Welker were all held out of the end zone. Otherwise, at least one of the three has a touchdown catch in every game and there were six games in which one or more had multiple touchdowns.

What to watch for: The Broncos excel in short passes within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage including the dreaded “pick play” where two receivers run crossing routes with one receivers goal to “accidentally” block the other receiver’s defender. During the Patriots game, Wes Welker took out Aqib Talib, NE’s best pass defender, on a pick play. Aside from watching out for the pick play, if the Seahawks can successfully shut down this trio, they still have to look out for Andre Caldwell who caught two touchdowns in the loss to San Diego when the other receivers were shut out of the endzone.

Tight Ends

Starter: Julius Thomas
Backups: Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreessen

If the wide receiver position is the most talented on the Broncos, the tight end position is the most dangerous. Denver converted 46% of third downs in the regular season and better than 60% in the post season. The big reason why is the 6’5″, 250 lb. Julius Thomas. It’s Thomas who I believe will have the biggest impact on this game. During the regular season, he caught 65 passes for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns. In the postseason, he’s been kept out of the endzone but has hauled in 14 passes for 161 yards.

What to watch for: Third down conversions are the name of the game this week and I don’t think there is a quarterback better at converting on third down than Peyton Manning. The reason is that Manning has always had a good rapport with his tight ends. Against the Chargers, Manning to Julius Thomas killed the Chargers on third down. If the Hawks want to win, they have to shut down Manning’s third-down security blankets.

Offensive Line

Starters: (LT-LG-C-RG-RT) Chris Clark, Zane Beadles, Manny Ramirez, Louis Vasquez, Orlando Franklin

I should first clarify that, no, it’s not that Manny Ramirez playing center for the Broncos. Okay moving on. Each of the aforementioned linemen played more than 1000 snaps this season and, combined, they allowed just 11 sacks and 23 hits on the quarterback. During their two playoff games, the Broncos o-line has not allowed a sack nor a hit on Manning. The Seahawks can’t afford to let that happen again.

What to watch for: We all know Manning loves to change the play at the line of scrimmage and this Sunday will be no different. What I’m going to watch then is how the Seahawks defensive line disguises their rush before the snap and then how the Broncos o-line responds after the snap. Last week LT Chris Clark gave up two holding penalties instead of allowing a sack. I’d expect more of the same from all five if Manning is in danger.


Defense

Defensive Line

Starters: (LDE-DT-NT-RDE) Malik Jackson, Sylvester Williams, Terrance Knighton, Shaun Phillips
Backups: Jeremy Mincey, Mitch Unrein, Robert Ayers

As a team, the Broncos had 47 sacks this season (counting six in the playoffs) and 73 percent came from the defensive line with former Charger Shaun Phillips leading the team with 12 sacks. The Broncos d-line doesn’t just excel against the pass, the defense was also the 7th-best in the league against the run, giving up just 3.9 yards per carry. Since allowing 177 yards to the Chargers in week 15, the Broncos have allowed just 70 yards per game since.

What to watch for: Looking at the numbers, the Broncos allow just 2.91 yards up the middle and 2.72 yards per carry off right tackle. The right end though is where they are most vulnerable, allowing 4.24 yards per carry. On the left, it’s 3.77 off left tackle and 3.9 off left end. Based on those numbers, I see the read option and Harvin’s fly sweeps being a big factor for the Seahawks offensively.

Linebackers

Starters: Nate Irving, Wesley Woodyard, Danny Trevathan
Backups: Brandon Marshall, Paris Lenon, Steven Johnson

The biggest name not listed is Von Miller, who recently had ACL reconstruction surgery and is out for the season. Trevathan, who plays on the weak side, led the team in both total tackles, 142, and solo tackles, 99. Not only was he a tackling machine, but he also intercepted three passes, had 10 pass deflections and forced three fumbles.

What to watch for: The best way to stop the read option is to have your defensive ends and linebackers switch roles to confuse the quarterback’s read. If the D-end crashes and Russell Wilson keeps the ball, the linebackers should fold over the top, to the outside, to pick up Wilson. If the defensive ends play up field and Wilson gives to Beast Mode, it’s much easier to block the linebackers to open a running lane up the middle.

Secondary:

Starters: (Corners) Champ Bailey, Dominique Rogers-Cromatie; (Safeties) Duke Ihenacho, Mike Adams
Backups: Quentin Jammer, Kayvon Webster, David Bruton

One big name left out is cornerback Chris Harris, who tore his ACl in the first round of the playoffs and played 1,042 snaps during the regular season, the most of any Broncos defensive player. Like Sherman, Harris excels by shutting down his receiver to the point opposing teams don’t throw his way often. After he went down against the Chargers, though, Keenen Allen broke out with 123 yards receiving and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter against Jammer.

What to watch for: Bailey used to be the best in the league, but he’s in his 15th season and missed 11 games this season because of a foot injury. Jammer doesn’t like to get physical and is in his 12th season and Rogers-Cromartie has already said he’d contemplate retirement if the Broncos win. This unit is going to be the easiest to exploit and I’d expect the Seahawks to use a lot of play action to keep the secondary guessing.


Special Teams

Kicker: Matt Prater
Punter: Britton Colquitt
Kick Return: Trindon Holliday
Punt Return: Trindon Holliday/Eric Decker

Matt Prater was the only kicker in the league this year who had a better field goal percentage and scored more points than to-the-Hauschka and he also booted an (altitude-aided) NFL-record 64-yard field goal. On kickoffs, Prater had 81 touchbacks but Denver allowed 29.7 yards per return on non-touchbacks. Colquitt has been very consistent this season, averaging 45 yards per punt (66 punts total) with only three touchbacks and 23 punts inside the 20-yard line.

What to watch for: 5’5″ 150lb. Trindon Holliday is potentially a big difference maker in the kicking game as he returned one kick and one punt for a touchdown this year (105 yards and 81 yards respectively). He also had one each last year. He averaged 27.7 yards per kick return this year, had 21 kick returns of 20+ yards and averages 8.5 per punt return. The Seahawks need to win the field position battle and it starts with limiting Hollidays returns.

Is it Sunday yet? #GoHawks

Richard Sherman is quickly becoming my favorite player

I think it’s amazing that at the beginning of the year Richard Sherman agreed to write a weekly column for Sports Illustrated/MMQB and by the end of the season, not only is his team in the Super Bowl, he had become one of the most polarizing/popular players in the NFL. His jersey was the 10th-best selling jersey in the NFL this year.

If you’ve read any of his articles this year (my favorite to this point was his piece on concussions) you’ll know that he is a very well-written, Stanford graduate who has provided unique insight into the mind of a top NFL player.

Last week, Sherman had the opportunity to respond to his haters following his postgame rant on Michael Crabtree. This week, Sherman used his column to show what he was able to learn during the past week of controversy, communication and criticism.

If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you do so now. If not, you can read what I found most interesting about it and then go read the column. Below are the my five takeaways from Sherman’s column.

  1. “If I could pass a lesson on to the kids it would be this: Don’t attack anybody. I shouldn’t have attacked Michael Crabtree the way I did. You don’t have to put anybody else down to make yourself bigger.

    Sherman’s biggest regret following his postgame rant was that he took attention away from the other players who played a phenomenal game and personally attacked Crabtree. The last thing that he would want is for young kids to think what he did was cool and that they need to put down their opponents to make themselves feel better.

  2. “Every time a game ends on a controversial call or somebody loses it on camera, it’s free advertising for the NFL. It’s not just my name being talked about on all the shows; it’s the NFL’s logo on all the shows.”

    It’s easy for Sherman to see the bigger picture. He recognizes that his interview not only put the Seahawks on the national, non-sports radar, it also put the entire league in the spotlight as well.

  3. “You’re anonymous until you put yourself out there or show up in a big game. I did both.”

    In today’s NFL, if a great player wants to be noticed for being great they often need to stand up and tell the world how great they are. It’s how they follow that up that then determines whether the fans will buy in. When Sherman went after it with Skip Bayless he was standing up and saying he was the best in the league. Then he led the league in interceptions and proved his point.

  4. “Maybe if I looked more acceptable in conservative circles, my rant would have been understood as passion. These prejudices still play a factor in our views because it’s human nature to quickly stereotype and label someone. We all have that.”

    On Monday, following the NFC Championship, the word thug was used some 600+ times on TV and Sherman later said the use of the word thug is the modern form of the n-word – I do tend to agree with him. Sherman didn’t swear and was not outwardly, physically aggressive (save for smacking his pads once or twice) and I believe that was intentional. It’s not like he has no clue about race relations in modern America.

  5. “We didn’t paint the Super Bowl logo on the practice field or anything like that. We stuck with the theme of the program: Every game is a championship opportunity. We’ve been treating it like that for 22 games. He’s been preparing us for this moment so that we wouldn’t even notice we were playing in the Super Bowl.”

    Pete Carroll is the perfect coach to lead the Seahawks – this specific Seahawks team – into the Super Bowl. People criticized Carroll’s decision to jump from USC to the NFL and after two failed chances with the Jets and Patriots, not many people thought the third time would be the charm. But instead, Carroll has put together one of the best young teams in the NFL without a bevy of high draft picks or agressive free agent spending. Carroll had success managing the talent and egos while at USC, it’s no surprise then that he’s had success in Seattle doing the same thing.

Okay it’s time to read the full column now. Is it Sunday yet? #GoHawks.

Hey 12’s, Welcome to Super Bowl Week!

I tried a couple times last week to write a post recapping the NFC Championship, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. For starters, I was riding such an emotional high going in to that game that I’ve been hungover on football for the past week. I couldn’t bring myself to care about the Pro Bowl even, focusing instead on the 2014 Royal Rumble.

However, now that I’ve had an entire week to recover from the joys of making the Super Bowl and take some time away from football, it’s now Super Bowl week and that means I need to get this going again. We’re only six days away until the biggest game the Seahawks have ever played and I’m already getting antsy.

NFC Championship Recap

To quickly recap last Sunday’s game, before it become too distant a memory, the box score displayed some very similar statistics from each team:

  • Each team had 11 offensive drives.
  • Each team gained 308 yards.
  • Seattle ran 54 offensive plays (5.3 yards per play), San Fran ran 58 (5.7 yards per play).
  • Both teams scored just three points off turnovers.
  • Both teams had eight first downs passing and one from penalties.
  • San Fran was penalized 7 times for 65 yards, Seattle was penalized 8 times for 66 yards.
  • San Fran threw 24 passes and rushed 28 times.
  • Seattle threw 25 passes and rushed 29 times.

Previewing the Broncos


The upcoming Super Bowl should be decidedly less similar for both teams offensively as Seattle comes in with the league’s 17th-best offense while Denver’s is the best in NFL history. No seriously, if you haven’t checked out the eye-popping numbers for Denver this year look at their stats. Let me highlight the records broken or tied this season and some other interesting factoids.

  • The Broncos set the NFL record with 606 points scored (37 ppg)
  • Tied an NFL record with three games scoring 50+ points during the regular season
  • Scored an record 76 touchdowns this season
  • Peyton Manning set the record for touchdown passes with 55
  • And set the record for passing yards in a season with 5,477 (342 ypg)
  • Despite throwing the ball 675 times, they still rushed for 1,879 yards as a team.
  • Five players scored double-digit touchdowns, Knowshon Moreno (10 rushing, 3 receiving), Demaryious Thomas (14 receiving), Julius Thomas (12 receiving), Eric Decker (11 receiving), Wes Welker (10 receiving).
  • Five players had 60 or more receptions
  • Eight different players caught a touchdown pass

That’s it for today; short and simple. Check back tomorrow and throughout the week when I introduce the Denver Broncos and tell you who to care about and highlight certain players to keep an eye on during the Super Bowl.

Is it Sunday yet? #GoHawks.

12 Things to Watch in NFC Championship

I’ve received some flak for thrice posting lists of “11” during the lead-up to the biggest game the Seahawks have played in Seattle since hosting the Carolina Panthers in 2005 with an XL trip to Detroit on the line. Okay, okay, yes in hindsight I should have been posting lists of 12.

To make up for that, today, you all are getting a 12-item list. I’ve already covered why the Seahawks “suck,” I’ve given you 11 fun facts and explained why I “hate” the 49ers.

But now it’s the weekend, the game is tomorrow and I know all you 12’s out there are ready to burst with excitement. To improve your viewing pleasure tomorrow, I wanted to prepare you with another list, the 12 things to watch for on Sunday. The team that excels in the most categories of these 12 will most likely win the game.

  1. Open field tackling

    Naturally, this is going to be a very physical game with the potential for a lot of big hits and gang tackles. If the Hawks want to win, they can’t afford to miss tackles in the open field. If Brandon Mebane gets into the backfield and doesn’t bring Frank Gore down immediately, that’s the not end of the world. But if LaMichael James sneaks out of the backfield and catches a screen pass, the defense has to tackle James at the first opportunity.

  2. Audibles

    With the noise level at CenturyLink, the ability for the San Fran offense and the Seahawk defense to call pre-snap audibles, and avoid pre-snap penalties, is going to be very important. Seattle’s defense is used to this noise and should know how to effectively change plays using hand signals. San Fran, on the other hand, better come up with a way to effectively change the play at the line of scrimmage or they’re SOL.

  3. Keep Contain

    Near the end of the San Fran – Green Bay game two weeks ago, Green Bay brought a corner blitz on 3rd and long and when Kaepernick pump-faked, the defender left his feet, was blocked toward the pocket, broke contain and Kaepernick escaped the pocket to his left for a first down, essentially sealing the victory. In this contest, neither team can afford to let the quarterbacks outside the pocket and defenders NEED to keep contain when they are rushing the quarterback.

  4. Third down conversions

    During the last two games against San Fran at home, the Seahawks converted 16 of 29 (55%) third downs to San Fran’s 6 of 23 (26%). On the road , Seattle has converted just 9 of 25 (36%) third downs to San Fran’s 8 of 24 (33%). It’s clear that on third downs Seattle has to convert on offense and hold on defense to win

  5. Points off turnovers

    During the regular season, the Seahawks forced a turnover on an astounding 20% of drives, were +20 in turnover differential and scored 115 points off turnovers – allowing only 33. San Fran, was only +12, scored 121 points off turnovers and allowed 37. Simply getting a turnover isn’t enough in this game, scoring after a turnover is imperative.

  6. Holding Penalties

    It’s often said that there is holding on every play. Recently it’s been said the Legion of Boom commits a penalty on every play. At the end of the day, I think flags thrown for holding in the backfield will be far more influential than flags thrown for holding in the secondary.

  7. Game Changing Plays

    Sadly, the Seahawks once again take the field without Percy Harvin, preventing one of the league’s best game-changing players from influencing the outcome of this game. Who then, on either side, will step up and make the first Big Play. I’m talking about a kick return for a touchdown, a 70-yard catch-and-run or a pick-six. Whichever team has more Big Plays wins the game.

  8. Play-action Passing

    It’s no surprise that San Fran and Seattle love to run, they rank 3-4 in the league, respectively, in rushing yards per game. Both quarterbacks are known for the read option and their abilities outside the pocket. That being said, it’s going to be important for both teams to use the run to set up the pass and there’s no better way to do that than effective play action fakes.

  9. Field Position

    The Seahawks averaged only 21.2 yards per kickoff return but 11.1 per punt return; they allowed 24 and 3.8 respectively. Meanwhile, the Niners averaged 22.7 yards and 8.9 yards per kick and punt return, allowing 24.6 and 8.3. The Seahawks need to win the field position game both offensively and defensively to win.

  10. Kicking Game

    In order to win the field position battle, the Seahawks need a strong game from punter Jon Ryan. Ryan has been one of the best in the league the past two seasons limiting return yardage and avoiding touchbacks. Meanwhile, Steven to-the-Hauschka was near-perfect this season, making 33 of 35 field goals with only one true miss. Phil Dawson made 32 of 36 but is already 6-for-6 in the postseason and kicked four field goals when these teams last met.

  11. Communication

    I separated this from audibles because it involves more than just pre-snap reads. During a game with this much on the line, regardless of fan noise, Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh are going to be taking in a lot of information from coaches, officials and players and will need to communicate well with others in order staying focused, operate within the game plan and avoid costly mental errors.

  12. 12th Man

Is it Sunday yet? #GoHawks

11 Reasons I “Hate” the 49ers on #BlueFriday

Richard Sherman was recently asked why the 49ers and Seahawks hate each other so much. His answer was rather surprising.

sherman

Maybe it’s something unique to sports, but it seems that hatred toward another group of people is acceptable in a competitive environment. I hate the Lakers. I hate the Yankees. I hate USC. I hate the 49ers. Doesn’t it seem like, more often than not, people hate good teams? Maybe I should smile every time I hear somebody say they hate the Seahawks – it could be seen as a sign of respect.

During the past couple seasons as both the Seahawks and 49ers have risen to the top of the NFL, I have heard more and more Seahawks fans say “I HATE the Niners.” Granted, I have also uttered this phrase on occasion (often followed by the word “fans”), I think it’s important to discuss why I “hate” the 49ers. If you are going to hate something, there should be a valid reason… right?

No, I’m not talking about reasons like:

  • They suck
  • They are annoying
  • They are stupid
  • Just because

I’m talking about the legitimate reasons that a Seahawks fan would feel one of the many definitions of hate. Why do I hate the 49ers? Although it could be summed up in one sentence, that’s boring, so I figured I’d expand on that with a list.

I hate the 49ers because:

  • Their fans purchased a billboard in Seattle Fife, and all additional proceeds went to charity. Resulting, weeks later, in this awesome competition.
  • They finished the season 12-4 but only lost to playoff teams: Seattle, Indianapolis, Carolina, New Orleans.
  • Since Michael Crabtree returned, they are 7-0 and currently in the midst of an 8-game winning streak.
  • Jim Harbaugh passionately supports/defends his team even if it results in 15-yard penalties.
  • Harbaugh has won at every level he’s coached. First San Diego, then Stanford and now with San Francisco.
  • Despite what their Instagram pages show, Colin Kaepernick is not the horrible guy Seattle fans want to think he is.
  • While we have the Legion of Boom and the Seawall (D-Line), but the Niners have Glen Dorsey, Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, Ahmad Brooks and Dante Whitner on defense.
  • Frank Gore is still near the top of his game despite being 30 years old. He just rushed for 1000+ yards for the 7th time in his nine-year career.
  • Since Harbaugh took over for Mike Singletary, the Niners have won two NFC West titles in three years and made it to the NFC Championships in each of those three seasons.
  • Despite being the five-seed, San Fran beat the Packers on the road in sub-zero temps and then knocked off Carolina at home, knowing they’d have another shot to play the Seahawks in Seattle.
  • Yes, they have won five Super Bowls in franchise history and the Seahawks have only been to one Super Bowl…so far.

Bottom line: I hate the 49ers because they are so damn good and I would hope Niner fans hate the Seahawks for the same reason.

Does that mean I think they are better than the Seahawks? Hell no! But dammit, I do respect that team. Like the Seahawks, they play physical, but not dirty; they run their mouth, but also back it up. They are the Frazier to our Ali; the Randy Orton to our John Cena; the Cristiano Ronaldo to our Lionel Messi.

I could not imagine a more perfect opponent for the NFC Championship. NFL fans are in for a real treat on Sunday and it’s a good thing Monday is a holiday because I’m probably not the only one who’s going to be hungover.

Is it Sunday yet? #GoHawks.