Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Road to Detroit

This is a banner time in the Seattle sports scene. The Mariners are having a forgettable offseason where the biggest acquisition might turn out to be (gag) Carl Everett, the Sonics are rediscovering the joy of never playing defense, and the UW football team, well, just sucked. The UW basketball team isn’t important until they play a real team (should be in February), Gonzaga isn’t important until they win at least two games in the NCAA tournament instead of futzing around every year.

Even the Seahawks screwed with us by basically wrapping everything up with three weeks to go. That leaves me with only one recourse.

Drink. Heavily.

Wait. That didn’t sound right.

Stand up about “The War on Christmas,” which I assume will soon be made into a movie starring, I pray, Ben Affleck as a struggling pastor in a small Midwestern town and Tim Robbins as the Scroogish ACLU executive who also is a ninja.

I mean, blog about who I want the Hawks to play in the NFC playoffs.

So here they are, ranked on a scale of 1-10 (1 means don’t go within two thousand miles of the team, 10 means sign them up right now for a trip to Seattle)

Carolina: What an inconsistent team. Gavin’s Super Bowl preseason pick has lost to New Orleans and Miami, has been throttled by Chicago, and handled by the indomitable Chris Simms and Tampa Bay last week. Their running game is stagnant, hurt even more by DeShaun Foster’s shoulder stinger last week (though he should be ready to play this Sunday). Jake Delhomme has regressed this year, seemingly only looking to Steve Smith instead of Keary Colbert or even Ricky Proehl. Basically, I’m not scared of this offense whatsoever. However, that defense has some serious talent, especially now that Mike Rucker is back from injury. Chris Gamble is a prime-time cornerback, and Julius Peppers is a monster pass rusher. Still, that defense allowed the indomitable Chris Simms to throw at will on them….
Playoff Rank: 8

Tampa Bay: We like to make fun of the indomitable Chris Simms here at Crushed Optimists, but he has actually been playing some good football of late, winning against Carolina, Washington, and Atlanta. Of course, in the last two wins (against New Orleans and Carolina), Simms threw for 123 and 138 respective yards, not exactly world-beating marks. The real question mark for Tampa Bay is Cadillac Williams, who had a terrific game in beating Carolina. If he can be the centerpiece of the offense, it takes a ton of pressure off of Simms, who is good enough to complete a few passes into single coverage. Of course, once again, this team boasts a fantastic defense, with Ronde Barber playing fantastic football once again, Derrick Brooks playing fantastic football once again, and a guy named Booger playing fantastic…. Oh wait, he’s injured. Bottom line: this team did lose to San Francisco.
Playoff Rank: 9

NY Giants:
How good is Eli Manning? He looks phenomenal against us, then turns that around with crud games against Dallas and Philadelphia, heaving interceptions like they were made out of candy (no idea what that means). Still, that offense is the scariest one outside of our own in the NFC, with Tiki Barber, Shockey, and the Plax, there are numerous weapons to cause havoc against opposing defenses (like us). Plus, that defense has been steadily improving all year, led by Strahan and the Osi-nator, who took Walter Jones behind the woodshed. However, they just had a few key injuries to the offensive line, Antonio Pierce is banged up, and I still don’t trust their secondary. In fact, that’s part of what scares me about this team. I really don’t know just how good they can be, and I don’t like that.
Playoff Rank: 3

Dallas:
Like every other team in the NFC, another team with an inconsistent offense and great defense. The offense is inconsistent because they are led by a man named Drew Bledsoe who, as Seahawks fans can attest, loves to blow games at inopportune times. Julius Jones has been a big disappointment after a terrific rookie campaign, leaving more pressure on the passing attack. Fortunately, Terry Glenn and Keyshawn have been up to the task for most weeks, but a serious pass rush can get to Bledsoe. I know we did. Their defense, though, is the most physical in the NFC, even above Chicago. Their cornerbacks did a tremendous job of beating up our wide receivers, their linebackers attacked the line of scrimmage with abandon, and we basically could do nothing against them. That scares me. Do I believe we should beat this team? Absolutely. But there are several other teams I would like to play first.
Playoff Rank: 4

Chicago:
Kyle Orton is no indomitable Chris Simms. Thomas Jones is good, but he can’t score 21 points all by himself. The defense FINALLY got exposed by a physical running attack (of which we have one), and, once the team got behind, they couldn’t come back. Now, this team has beaten Carolina and Tampa Bay, so they are no patsy, but I just can’t get too scared of that offense. Now, if we played at Soldier Field, I would be a little frightened, but seeing Kyle Orton on the road last week, I believe we could easily move on into the next round, if we just didn’t beat ourselves. No more 1 yard touchdown drives for Chicago!
Playoff Rank: 10

Minnesota:
So, is anyone else out there petrified at the thought of facing Brad Johnson, Mewelde Moore, and, oh yes, Koren Robinson in the postseason? Anyone? I didn’t think so. Sure, the defense has been stepping up as of late, but they still don’t have the bangers necessary to stop Shaun Alexander. I could see Shaun getting his 130 yards easily against these guys, which would limit Brad’s effectiveness. What would also limit Brad’s effectiveness is 90.000 fans yelling at Koren Robinson to not drop the ball all game, which you know he will. He’s Koren Robinson. It happens.
Playoff Rank: 10

Atlanta:
I don’t really even think these guys will make it, but we showed early this season that we could move the ball on that defense and that we could, at the very least, slow down Michael Vick. Not going to write much about this one because they are the least likely team to make it.
Playoff Rank: 7

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