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!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Week One: Hawks at Detroit

Anyone want to tell me why Bill Simmons (The Sports Guy) hates the Seahawks so much? Over the past year he...

- picked them to be 6-10 last season under the Cardinals
- repeatedly picked them to lose in his picks, including in the postseason
- called them out for criticizing the officials, while continuing to complain about calls in the New England-Denver game
- picks them to be under .500 and miss the playoffs this year, with the winner/sleeper team of the NFC West being the St Louis Rams

I'm sure this makes oodles of sense... even when he has repeatedly been proven wrong. Seriously, he hates us more than Petey Prisco.

Now we have our first chance to prove the doubters wrong, and the problem is... it's week one.

The West Coast offense, as Colin and I repeatedly mention, takes a few weeks to get truly rolling. Into that void you throw the D-Jack injury, the offensive line shake-up, and the Itula Mili recovery and there are definitely issues.

Since this is a new year, that means a new format for my previews!

Five "Gut" Reasons for Optimism:

1. Jon Kitna is the starting QB for Detroit. Not only does that mean this is Kitna's first true game in Mike Martz' system, it means we're facing a pretty mediocre quarterback in general. While it's great that the Lions finally gave up on Joey Harrington, they might have considered upgrading that porous offensive line to allow for the deep crossing patterns Martz so favors.

2. Darrell Jackson doesn't need practice to get in the game. I think he proved that last season both after coming back from the 10 week absence and in the playoffs while not practicing. He and Matt Hasselbeck have spent years understanding exactly where they will be.

3. The Hawk "D" should be able to handle most of what the Lions want to do, especially from a pass-rush standpoint. Although there are pass defense questions, our ability to sustain pressure should help offset our main weakness.

4. Lofa Tatupu, Leroy Hill and Julian Peterson. We will not allow the Lions to establish the run or the short pass to get Kitna comfortable.

5. Returning to the scene of the crime. If the Hawks didn't already need an "us against the world" mentality, going to another team's home opener that happened to be where the Super Bowl was should provide plenty of extra motivation.

Five "Gut" Reasons for Pessimism:

1. Our secondary has been exploited by Mike Martz multiple times. If anyone can come up with a good game plan against it, it's him.

2. It is the home opener for the Lions with a new regime. They're going to be playing for keeps.

3. The Lions "D" is underrated, and rookie LB Ernie Sims looks pretty darn good.

4. They don't have Jimmy Williams returning punts. I'm getting ill just thinking about it.

5. Again, that darn West Coast offense.

It's All About the Stats, Fool!

1. Check out Football Outsiders for their 2006 DVOA projections. Our offense (using numbers from 2000-2005) is ranked #1, and our defense is a surprising #2. In other words, if you don't buy all the Carolina hype the numbers don't lie. We are the best team in football. Detroit? 22nd in offense, 25th in defense.

2. Detroit has a bad offensive line. My favorite of the stats FO tracks is Stuffed. Again, that is the percentage of runs that result in (on first down) zero or negative gain or (on second through fourth down) less than one-fourth the yards needed for another first down. The Lions were Stuffed last season 28% of the time, good for 28th in the league.

3. Take that bad rushing offense against an upgraded Seattle line that ALREADY ranked #1 in adjusted line yards in the league.

4. Detroit's defense is getting some love, but they had some major issues, especially rushing the passer, with an adjusted sack rate of 6.0%, 24th in the league. Give Hasselbeck time and he will destroy you.

5. One bit of bad news... we need to depend more on Shaun here at the beginning while our receivers are getting their timing down. Detroit's rushing defense was pretty good, Stuffing opposing offenses 28% of the time, 7th in the league. We need to win the war up front.

Look, obviously all the numbers are in our favor. It would be a big upset for us to lose. However, there are definitely questions going into this first game, but I cannot wait for it to happen.

Go Hawks!

posted by Gavin @ 3:55 PM  0 comments

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