2015 NFC Championship Betting

green-bay-vs-seattle-bettingThere were few surprises on the NFC side of the bracket in the 2015 NFL Playoffs. The No. 1 and 2 seeds advanced, with Seattle beating Carolina 31-17 and Green Bay topping Dallas 26-21. As for the latter, the Packers had a much tougher test than Seattle. And it took a controversial no-catch call to seal their victory. Nevertheless, Green Bay survives and moves on to the NFC title game.

The Packers boast the likely MVP in quarterback Aaron Rodgers and one of the NFL’s best offenses. But they are certainly facing a handicap here in that they’ll be playing away from the friendly confines of Lambeau Field. With their win over Dallas, the Packers ended the season with a 9-0 record at home. But now they face a Seattle team that’s won their last five games at CenturyLink Stadium by at least 10 points each.

As for Seattle, they are within two victories of winning their second-straight Super Bowl title. Recent history shows that it’s tough enough to make the big game two years in a row, let alone win it. But based on the fact that they’ve won seven straight games and their defense looks better than ever, it’s hard to see anybody but Seattle winning right now. Our current betting line at GTBets.eu reflects this:

Green Bay (-110)
Seattle -7 (-110)

Considering everything that we just discussed, it’s certainly understandable that Seattle is a touchdown favorite here. They handily won in these two teams’ only matchup of the season – a 36-16 stomping in the regular-season opener. Of course, that was nearly five months ago and a lot can happen in that time span.

Besides having time to improve their team, another thing that Green Bay has going for them is history. The last seven NFC title games have been decided by 7 points or less. Seeing as how Green Bay features a pretty complete team, it’s not hard to see them keeping this one close – no matter how good Seattle may be. Going further, we figure this will be a game that comes down to a field goal or two.

Final Score Prediction: Seattle wins 27-24 

NFL Power Rankings for Week 4 (Sept. 25th, 2014)

marshawn-lynch-broncosIt wasn’t hard to spot the marquee matchup from last week. In a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos visited the Seattle Seahawks. Denver mounted a furious comeback to send the game into overtime, however, Seattle survived thanks to a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run. That said, it seems like Seattle should be a slam dunk for our new number one. But the truth is that it wasn’t easy picking between the two, seeing as how Denver was on the road and pushed the game into overtime. So you might be a little surprised at who’s still the top team in our Week 4 power rankings.

1. Denver Broncos (2-1); lost to Seattle Seahawks 26-20 (OT), retains same ranking – The Broncos failed to get revenge for last year’s Super Bowl humiliation. But they certainly earned some respect by nearly walking out of Seattle with a victory. Emmanuel Sanders was brilliant in this game after catching 11 passes for 149 yards. He’s another weapon that should make the Broncos’ offense unstoppable throughout the rest of the season.

2. Seattle Seahawks (2-1); beat Denver 26-20 (OT), retains same ranking – The Seahawks are nearly as deserving of the top ranking, but on a neutral field, we like the Broncos just a little better right now. It certainly doesn’t seem like a stretch to think that Seattle and Denver could meet in the championship for a second straight season.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (3-0); beat Tennessee Titans 33-7, moves up two spots – The Bengals’ line has been outstanding on both sides of the ball. Andy Dalton hasn’t taken a sack yet and the defense continues stuffing opposing runners when it matters most. All bets are on the Broncos returning to the Super Bowl from the AFC. But if there’s a team to dethrone them as AFC champions, it is definitely Cincinnati.

lesean-mccoy4. Philadelphia Eagles (3-0); beat Washington 37-34, retains same ranking – It’s amazing how the Eagles continue falling behind early in games, only to storm back and claim victory. In fact, they’re now the first team in NFL history to trail by double digits in their first three games and come out 3-0. Is it pure luck? No, Philadelphia just has too many weapons for teams to keep them down for long. But then again, this is a dangerous trend that they’re walking on.

5. New England Patriots (2-1); beat Oakland 16-9, drops two spots – A week ago, we had the Patriots sitting at number three after their blowout victory over Minnesota. However, they looked pretty bad at home against the Raiders and needed a Vince Wilfork interception near the goal line to secure a win. New England has better days in them, but we certainly didn’t see this last weekend.

6. Arizona Cardinals (3-0); beat San Francisco 23-14, moves up five spots – Many expected Seattle and San Francisco to battle it out for the NFC West crown. However, it’s the Cardinals who are leading the way with an undefeated record – and they’re doing it without starting QB Carson Palmer! Drew Stanton’s fill-in job has been made much easier by a trio of strong receivers in Larry Fitzgerald, Malcolm Floyd and rookie John Brown.

7. Chicago Bears (2-1); beat New York Jets 27-19, moves up three spots – For the second straight week, the Bears grabbed a tough road victory, thus further distancing themselves from a Week 1 loss to the Bills. Ryan Mundy really helped out with the latest win, taking a Geno Smith interception to the end zone while outrunning speedster Chris Johnson.

drew-brees8. New Orleans Saints (1-2); beat Minnesota 20-9, moves up one spot – New Orleans finally got in the win column with a relatively easy victory over the Vikings. They put up 13 points in the first quarter and the defense did the rest from here. Drew Brees really attacked Minnesota underneath, completing 16-of-16 throws for 126 yards on passes thrown 5 yards or less downfield.

9. San Francisco 49ers (1-2); lost to Arizona Cardinals 23-14 drops three spots – True to form this season, the 49ers jumped out to a 14-6 lead in the first half, only to be dominated in the second half. San Francisco has put up 3 points in second halves while their opponents have scored 49. If Jim Harbaugh is losing control of this team, it’s definitely after the first half.

10. San Diego Chargers (2-1); beat Buffalo Bills 22-10, moves up three spots – The only team to beat Seattle this year got another big victory over the upstart Bills. Unfortunately, they also lost RB Danny Woodhead for the season, which will hurt. This is especially the case when you consider that the team is averaging under 3.0 yards per rush. But as long as they keep winning, this is just a stat.

11. Indianapolis Colts (1-2); beat Jacksonville Jaguars 44-17, moves up one spot – Nobody really expected Indianapolis to remain winless after a visit to Jacksonville. And Andrew Luck showed why by unleashing 4 touchdowns and 370 yards in this blowout. The game could have been even uglier if the Colts hadn’t let off the gas after going up 30-0 in the first half.

eddie-lacy-rookie-of-the-year12. Green Bay Packers (1-2); lost to Detroit 19-7, drops five spots – It’s hard to remember a time when Green Bay’s offense looked so ineffective with Aaron Rodgers under center. Rodgers threw for just 162 yards while Eddie Lacy was bottled up for 36 rushing yards on 11 carries. We’re still waiting for the latter to get going, which could finally happen against the Bears this weekend.

13. Carolina Panthers (2-1); lost to Pittsburgh 37-19, drops five spots – We can’t understand how a defense that looked so dominate in the first two weeks could be so bad against the Steelers. They allowed both Le’Veon Bell and Legarrette Bount to rush for over 100 yards – including 244 yards between tackles. Maybe the lengthy loss of Greg Hardy to a domestic abuse case will hurt far more than we realized.

14. Baltimore Ravens (2-1); beat Cleveland Browns 23-21, moves up one spot – Rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro and Justin Forsett combined to rush for 154 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown, while Baltimore was able to hang on and beat the Browns in a difficult road game. We don’t see anybody knocking off the Bengals for the AFC North crown, but Baltimore has a solid shot at the postseason if they can keep running the ball like this.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1); beat Carolina Panthers 37-19, moves up two spots – As mentioned before, Blount and Bell both had 100-yard games – the first time that this has happened for Pittsburgh since 1986. This was basically a 180-degree turn from the week before against Baltimore, when the Steelers couldn’t seem to get anything going on the ground.

16. Detroit Lions (2-1); beat Green Bay 19-7, moves up three spots – The Lions are doing a fantastic job at stopping the run this year, as their 2.8 yards allowed per carry stat indicates. Things could get a little tougher since Stephen Tulloch was placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL. But Detroit still has plenty of talent on both sides of the ball to continue grabbing victories.

julio-jones-falcons17. Atlanta Falcons (2-1); beat Tampa Bay 56-14, moves up one spot – Julio Jones tore the Buccaneers defense up by catching 9 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns. The main issue here remains the running game, but the passing game should help make up for some of the lack of run production.

18. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2); beat Miami 34-15, moves up two spots – Knile Davis filled in nicely for Jamaal Charles with 132 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries. Alex Smith also provided three touchdown passes, despite getting sacked five times. With Charles likely back from injury this week, KC will get a boost.

19. Buffalo Bills (2-1); lost to San Diego 22-10, drops five spots – Quarterback E.J. Manuel confirmed the inaccuracy fears that surrounded him in the preseason by throwing several passes way off target. He avoided tossing any picks, but this could be one of the worst non-interception games in history. Manuel must play better or the high-paid backup Kyle Orton will be seeing some snaps.

20. Dallas Cowboys (2-1); beat St. Louis 34-31, moves up two spots – Dallas had to mount a huge comeback here since they fell behind 21-0. They took control in the second half after being sparked by a 68-yard touchdown catch by Dez Bryant. The run game was working again too with DeMarco Murray running for 100 yards on 24 carries.

lamar-miller-chiefs21. Miami Dolphins (1-2); lost to Kansas City 34-15, drops five spots – Lamar Miller has picked up the rushing torch with Knowshon Moreno still sidelined. Miller ran for 108 yards on only 15 carries. However, it was hard for Miami to stay with their effective run game since their defense gave up so many points. Additionally, Ryan Tannehill didn’t look very good against pressure, finishing with 205 yards on 21-of-43 passing.

22. New York Jets (1-2); lost to Chicago Bears 27-19, drops one spot – The Jets lose another close game after coughing up three turnovers and delivering an interception that was returned 45 yards for a touchdown. They also had six red zone drives, only to come away with points on just one of these. This team could easily be 3-0 if they could capitalize on opportunities and close out games.

23. New York Giants (1-2); beat Houston Texans 30-17, moves up seven spots – We’re not enamored with the Giants, it’s just that from here on, there aren’t many good teams left. New York got their first win of 2014, and Victor Cruz caught his first touchdown since Week 4 of last season.

24. St. Louis (1-2); lost to Dallas 34-31, drops one spot – Austin Davis continues to surprise skeptics, who thought that this team was done when Sam Bradford went down with an injury. Unfortunately, his solid play didn’t translate into a victory this time around as the Rams blew a 21-point lead.

25. Houston Texans (2-1); lost to New York Giants 30-17, drops one spot – Rashad Jennings tore this team up with a career-high 176 rushing yards. And it didn’t help matters that Ryan Fitzpatrick threw 3 interceptions – all of them on downfield throws. But Houston avoids moving down too much because they do have a couple of victories.

26. Tennessee Titans (1-2); lost to Cincinnati Bengals 33-7, drops one spot – Tennessee was completely dominated by Cincinnati, although we’ll give them a little credit since this was an impossible road game. Rookie Bishop Sankey rushed for 61 yards on 10 carries in garbage time. Perhaps he’s prepping to finally get some meaningful carries over Shonn Greene.

27. Cleveland Browns (1-2); lost to Baltimore 23-21, moves up one spot – Cleveland continues to play tough against superior opponents, however, they came up short this time around. The Browns’ two losses, which came against Pittsburgh and Baltimore, are by a combined 5 points. This is definitely a team that can win once the schedule softens up a little.

28. Washington Redskins (1-2); lost to Philadelphia 37-34, moves up one spot – Kirk Cousins continues to energize this team as he finished with 427 passing yards, 3 TD’s and one interception. Unfortunately, he and the Skins fell just short of winning a HUGE road game. Washington has now lost seven straight divisional games, which is more than anybody else in the league right now.

29. Minnesota Vikings (1-2); lost to New Orleans 20-9, drops three spots – The Vikings didn’t perform too badly against the Saints, losing by just 11 points. However, there’s more trouble ahead with season-ending injuries to Matt Cassel and Kyle Rudolph. When coupled with the loss of Adrian Peterson, this bodes very poorly for the offense. But at least fans will get to see exciting rookie Teddy Bridgewater take over at QB.

30. Oakland Raiders (0-3); lost to New England Patriots 16-9, moves up one spot – The Raiders can be happy that they almost beat a really good team that’s probably going to win their division. However, the downside is that this still goes down as another loss in the books. Dating back to last season, Oakland is on a 9-game losing streak.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3); lost to Atlanta Falcons 56-14, drops three spots – Any illusions of a rebound season for Tampa Bay were shot down in this devastating blowout to the Falcons. The Josh McCown experiment looks like a failure and he’ll miss the next game with an injury. This opens the door for Mike Glennon to win back the starting job that he held for most of last season.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3); lost to Indianapolis Colts 44-17, drops one spot – For the second straight season, Jacksonville looks absolutely hopeless. But it will be interesting to see what Blake Bortles can do with the variety of receiving options that he has.

NFL Power Rankings for Week 1 (Sept. 4th, 2014)

seattle-seahawks-packers-2014With the preseason officially out of the way, the 2014 NFL regular season is set to kick off tonight. The Green Bay Packers travel to Seattle to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks. Seattle is the favorite here, but the way that the Packers can score, there’s no telling how this game will go.

The same could be said of who’ll be accepting the Lombardi Trophy this year. Again, many people like the Seahawks, however, the 49ers, Broncos, Packers Patriots, Saints and others will all have something to say about this. So who’s our pick for the NFL’s best team as of now? You can see for yourself in our first NFL power rankings of 2014.

1. Seattle Seahawks – Yeah, this isn’t exactly original. But what reason do we have to doubt the champs since they return all of their key starters? QB Russell Wilson and RB Marshawn Lynch will once again be heading up the offense while shutdown-corner Richard Sherman is said to be more focused than ever. He’s going to need this focus since Seattle will have the unenviable target on their backs all season.

2. Denver Broncos – The Broncos may have been humiliated in last year’s Super Bowl, but they figure to be better on both sides of the ball. First off, the pass rush will be nastier with both LB Von Miller and DE DeMarcus Ware coming after the quarterback. And Montee Ball’s ascension provides an upgrade over last year’s starting running back, Knowshon Moreno.

colin-kaepernick3. San Francisco 49ers – LB Aldon Smith’s 9-game suspension is a big blow to the 49ers’ regular season. However, the rest of the San Francisco team is more than solid. And if Colin Kaepernick keeps up his strong play from last year – where he threw for 10 TD’s and one interception over the final six regular season games – the Niners will be completely fine without Smith.

4. New England Patriots – The offense will be even less reliant on Tom Brady this season with a talented group of ball carriers. Shane Vereen headlines the group with his dual abilities, while rookie James White, Brandon Bolden and Stevan Ridley add lots of depth.

5. New Orleans Saints – It will be strange not seeing Darren Sproles catching passes out of the backfield this year. But that could leave Pierre Thomas with an even bigger role. Rookie receiver Brandin Cooks got a lot of press this offseason. If he’s as good as the hype, then Drew Brees will have no trouble finding him.

6. Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers missed seven games last year and Green Bay still made the postseason. Plus, Eddie Lacy got a chance to shine in his rookie season. Together, this pair forms one of the toughest QB-RB tandems in the league. Even in the opener against Seattle’s tough defense tonight, these two should work well off of each other.

nick-foles-eagles7. Philadelphia Eagles – It’s almost impossible to see Nick Foles duplicating 27 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions for a second straight year. But even though we expect this ratio to change, it’s hard to see him not being great once again in the weak NFC East. If receiver Jeremy Maclin can stay healthy, this has the potential to be the league’s best offense.

8. Cincinnati Bengals – You have to like Cincinnati’s chances of improving this year with Geno Atkins back. The All-Pro defensive tackle missed seven games last season and the defense was still stout. QB Andy Dalton got a big offseason deal. Will he prove that he’s worth it this year?

9. Indianapolis Colts – Much is made about the unsettled backfield in Indy, but having Andrew Luck under center guarantees the offense of remaining dangerous. Signing LB D’Qwell Jackson and DE Arthur Jones will bring much-needed help to a defense that gave up 125.1 rushing yards per game in 2013.

10. Chicago Bears – The Bears offense should have no trouble scoring points in their second year under coach Marc Trestman. But the defense will determine how far this team goes. Signing defensive ends Lamarr Houston, Jared Allen and Willie Young definitely helps, as does getting linebackers D.J. Williams and Lance Briggs back from injury. But the results certainly didn’t show up in the third preseason game, when starters play the majority of snaps.

ryan-shazier-steelers11. Pittsburgh Steelers – Pittsburgh might finally have their traditional power running game back with Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount heading up the backfield. Rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier will bring some nice explosiveness to a defensive unit that had aged far too much last season.

12. Carolina Panthers – Last year was a breakthrough season for the Panthers. But can they repeat that performance, or possibly do better? Every receiver from last season’s roster is gone, meaning Cam Newton will be meshing with a completely new unit. So far, rookie Kelvin Benjamin is looking like a pretty reliable target for Newton.

13. San Diego Chargers – San Diego was one of three AFC West teams that made the playoffs in 2013. The offense again looks capable of leading the Chargers back to the postseason – especially with rookie sensation Keenan Allen coming off a surprise 1,046-yard year. The defense is the only thing that could hold this team back from more success.

14. Baltimore Ravens – Gary Kubiak has been brought in as offensive coordinator to shore up the mess here. The key will be figuring out how to use Bernard Pierce and an aging Ray Rice in tandem. A lot is riding on how linebacker C.J. Mosley and end Timmy Jernigan carry this historically good defense, which has never allowed 4.0 yards per rush in franchise history.

15. Arizona Cardinals – The running game should be a lot more explosive with Andre Ellington stepping into a featured role. But the line needs to do a much better job of protecting Carson Palmer, who was sacked a career-high 41 times. Also, the defense will definitely miss Darnell Dockett, Karlos Dansby and Daryl Washington from last season’s 10-6 team.

ryan-tannehill16. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill is developing into a star quarterback. However, the new offensive line needs to ensure that this continues. The combination of Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno should guarantee that the running game is better this time around.

17. Kansas City Chiefs – It’s hard to see the Chiefs duplicating last year’s performance, where they benefited from one of the league’s weakest schedules. The defense should once again be good, and Jamaal Charles showed that he’s a bonafide star when healthy. But a lack of explosion in the receiving corp coupled with Alex Smith’s weak arm will limit the offense.

18. Detroit Lions – There are plenty of weapons on this team with QB Matthew Stafford, wideouts Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, TE Eric Ebron, and running backs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. Switching to defense, Ziggy Ansah and Ndamukong Suh need to put lots of pressure on opposing quarterbacks to keep a weak secondary from being exposed.

19. Atlanta Falcons – Many are picking the Falcons to far exceed the dismal 4-12 record from their last campaign. But we think that a few more regular season games are in order before predicting a return to NFC South dominance. Regardless, Atlanta should be much better with offensive line additions and a healthy Roddy White and Julio Jones.

20. St. Louis Rams – The Sam Bradford loss hurts, there’s no way around that. But tailback Zac Stacy still gives this offense one weapon that opposing defenses will have trouble dealing with. Unfortunately, playing in the league’s toughest division, the NFC West, will ensure that St. Louis doesn’t make the playoffs.

geno-smith-jets21. New York Jets – The situation under center isn’t as dire this season, with Geno Smith looking more polished in the preseason. And even if he fails, at least they have Michael Vick to fall back on. The secondary is much more of a concern because Dee Milliner and Kyle Wilson are the only truly experienced cornerbacks on the roster.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Everything from the Doug Martin injury to the Josh Freeman situation was a disaster for this team. But now they start fresh with Martin back and Josh McCown under center. Acquiring guard Logan Mankins in a trade with the Patriots was definitely a smart move for this team because their offensive line is unstable.

23. New York Giants – You wouldn’t think that the offense would be as bad as it was in 2013, when Eli Manning threw nine more interceptions than touchdowns. But under new offensive coordinator Bob McAdoo, the team looks atrocious. Let’s hope in this case that the preseason really doesn’t mean anything.

24. Tennessee Titans – The passing game could really click this year with Jake Locker throwing to playmakers like Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter. But it’s a little unsettling that heralded rookie Bishop Sankey hasn’t been able to take the starting job away from plodding veteran Shonn Greene. Once Sankey breaks out, this team will start experiencing success.

dez-bryant25. Dallas Cowboys – Dallas is saved from being the worst team by an offense that features Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and DeMarco Murray. But their defense is even worse from a year ago, when they allowed the third-most yards in NFL history. The losses of DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher and Sean Lee spell doom for the Boys.

26. Minnesota Vikings – Matt Cassel better hope that he can continue playing as strongly as he did in the preseason. Otherwise the Teddy Bridgewater era will be ushered in sooner, rather than later. Regardless of what happens at QB, though, Adrian Peterson looks to have yet another strong year running the ball.

27. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney looked pretty explosive in preseason games and should have a long career of terrorizing opposing passers. As for the Texans’ own quarterback situation, Ryan Fitzpatrick starts with the reigns. But with Ryan Mallet coming over in a trade, should we expect a future QB battle?

28. Buffalo Bills – The Bills had one of the NFL’s most-underrated defenses last season after holding quarterbacks to the second-lowest rating (behind Seattle). But much like Houston, Buffalo needs to worry about their own passer since E.J. Manuel has shown little progression in his second year. It’s no coincidence that the Bills recently signed Kyle Orton to a two-year, $11 million contract, making him the league’s highest-paid backup.

robert-griffin-knee29. Washington Redskins – This preseason was highlighted by Joe Theismann’s comments that Kirk Cousins (4 TD’s, 1 INT) was badly outplaying Robert Griffin III (0 TD’s, 2 INT’s). It doesn’t matter, though, because coach Jay Gruden has handed Griffin the ball. He’ll now hope to get back to his rookie success, rather than last season’s debacle.

30. Cleveland Browns – Brian Hoyer didn’t look overly sharp while winning the starting job over Johnny Manziel. But he does boast a 3-0 career record as a starter. It’s almost impossible to see this mark remaining intact with Cleveland traveling to Pittsburgh, especially since the suspended WR Josh Gordon won’t be available this game – or any game in 2014 for that matter.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jacksonville didn’t win a game until Week 10; then they went 4-4 after that point. We certainly don’t think that this indicates a .500 or better Jaguars club this season. But rookie Blake Bortles should take over at QB soon and start a new and better era in Jacksonville football.

32. Oakland Raiders – Oakland has been in rebuilding mode for over a decade. This season doesn’t look to be any different, with a quarterback controversy already due to Matt Schaub’s poor performance. The Raiders wanted Derek Carr to hold the clipboard for his first season, however, this doesn’t seem so likely now.

Is Christine Michael ready for an expanded Role in Seattle?

christine-michael-seattleSeattle has no shortage of depth at running back. For starters, they feature Pro-Bowler Marshawn Lynch, who racked up 1,257 rushing yards and 12 TDs while starting in the backfield. They also have Robert Turbin, a multi-purpose back who gained over 500 total yards on the 2013 season. That said, there was little need to play rookie Christine Michael during the Seahawks’ championship run last season.

Now, this isn’t to say that Michael wasn’t deserving of playing time. The bruising 5’10”, 221-pound player out of Texas A&M runs a 4.43 forty and has the moves and power to be a great NFL tailback. But buried behind two veterans like Turbin and Lynch, Michael only managed 18 carries for 79 yards.

Coming off of what was akin to a redshirt season, Michael may force his way onto the field this time around. So if you’re interested in 2014 Seattle Seahawks betting, you’ll want to take into account how loaded this second-year man makes the team’s backfield.

Fitting in

He’s already been shining in OTAs, ripping off a number of impressive runs that have writers talking about the 23-year-old. Of course, this is nothing new to Seattle since they knew he had talent, taking him with their highest pick (62nd overall) in the 2013 Draft, despite already having two strong backs. But what’s really impressed coach Pete Carroll is the strides that Michael has been making in other areas.

christine-michael-seattle-1“We have very high expectations for him,” Carroll said. “He’s going to get a ton of work. He’s just a million miles ahead of where he was in terms of understanding what we want scheme-wise, pass protection-wise, route-wise and we know he’s a natural runner. He’s got explosive talent and we just want to get him to fit in.”

As Seattle running backs coach Sherman Smith points out, the only thing keeping Michael off the field more is a typical roadblock for many young players – understanding the NFL intricacies. “For Christine, it’s just the development that he has to go through,” Smith said. “You see the physical part of his game, there’s no question about that. It’s the mental part where most guys have to develop.”

What to expect from Michael in 2014

Smith has made it clear that Lynch is the starter, and for good reason too. “Beast Mode” is in the prime of his career and showed no signs of decline last season. But as for Turbin, well, Michael definitely has a shot to steal work – or outright take the backup role – from the fourth-year veteran.

A big reason why Turbin backed up Lynch is because he had a better understanding of the offense and is a strong blocker. But judging from Carroll’s comments, Michael seems to have improved in these areas. And even if he’s not quite as good of a blocker as Turbin, he could still usurp the latter’s role.

The idea behind drafting Michael was that he’d be the franchise’s running back of the future. So Seattle will definitely be looking to groom him more in 2014. And it’s not entirely crazy to think that he could be starting in 2015, given that Lynch is 28 and would add $9 million to the salary cap in two years. But first thing’s first, and that is for Michael to get some meaningful playing time this season.

Adam Muema’s Bizarre Behavior may bounce Him out of 2014 NFL Draft

adam-muema-nfl-draftGoing into the 2014 NFL Combine, San Diego State running back Adam Muema was an intriguing prospect with a 40-inch vertical leap and an unofficial 4.57 forty-yard dash time. More importantly, his last two years with the Aztecs were pretty impressive. In 2012, he rushed for 1,458 yards and 16 touchdowns on 237 carries. He followed this up with 1,244 yards and 15 touchdowns on 256 carries in 2013.

Given all of this, some analysts had Muema going as high as the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The lowest estimates were usually in the fifth round due to his smallish (for running backs) 5’10”, 205-pound stature. But thanks to recent developments, it’s almost impossible to see Muema getting drafted at all.

Those around the league were already wondering about his sanity when he left the combine because he was “following God.” Muema later told reporters that God told him it was already a given that he’d be playing for the Seattle Seahawks. Forget the voices in Muema’s head since the thought of him playing for the Seahawks is already crazy enough. They return Marshawn Lynch, capable backup Robert Turbin and heralded first-rounder Chrstine Michael, so it’s highly unlikely that he’d crack this lineup.

adam-muema-nfl-draft-1Things have gotten even more bizarre lately because Muema was missing for three days after he left the combine. Thankfully, he’s turned up, but the reason why he was missing is because God told him to stay in a Florida airport for three days. Oklahoma linebacker Corey Nelson, who’d been working out with Muema, explained the matter to the San Diego Union-Tribune, as you can see from the following excerpt:

Adam Muema was found Thursday at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, ex-Oklahoma linebacker Corey Nelson said.

The airport is near the athlete performance facility where they spent the past two months training for the NFL. Muema had been there since Monday, when his Southwest flight from Indianapolis landed at about 1:30 p.m. ET.

Muema called Nelson on Thursday to ask for a ride. When Nelson arrived, he said Muema was still dressed in NFL-issued combine gear. When asked to describe Muema’s demeanor on Thursday, Nelson said the running back seemed “focused, cheerful and very wise.”

“He said he was at the airport for three days straight,” Nelson said. “He was telling me when I picked him up that God told him to stay at the airport and don’t do anything. Just stay there. That’s what he did for three days straight.

“On the fourth day, he told me he couldn’t do it anymore. He decided to call me.”

Not to turn this whole situation into a sacrilegious joke, but there’s a strong chance that God doesn’t want Adam Muema to get drafted with the advice that he’s supposedly been dispensing. It’s not like Muema was a guaranteed first-round pick going into the combine. And now that he’s shown some very irregular behavior as of late, the former San Diego State star will have a very difficult time convincing anybody to draft him.

Maybe some team that’s desperate for a running back will take a seventh-round flier on Mumea…maybe he won’t get drafted and he’ll work his way on to a team with a great preseason. Or, just maybe Muema’s odd decisions will continue and he’ll never see the field in a regular season game.

We’re not wishing the worst upon the 21-year-old. However, he needs to change things around quickly, or he’ll be the new Dimitrius Underwood, who was drafted in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft. After being drafted by the Vikings and later signing a 5-year, $5.3 million contract, he walked out of training camp saying that his Christian faith and playing football didn’t mix. He later blew an opportunity with the Dolphins after showing little aptitude for the sport. Underwood hit rock bottom when he said he “wasn’t worthy of God” and tried to commit suicide by slashing his neck with a cutlass. Following this incident, he spent several months in a treatment facility.

2014 Super Bowl Outcome Likely to change Future of NFL Teams

cliff-avril-seattleIn a day and age where NFL teams desperately reach for the next great quarterback while ignoring the rest of their roster, the Seattle Seahawks are an anomaly. Their GM, Joe Schneider, in collaboration with head coach Pete Carroll, took no shortcuts en route to transforming a middling team with no identity into the powerhouse that destroyed Denver 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII.

The league definitely took notice of this spectacle, as Seattle’s tall, lengthy corners, Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell, held the Broncos’ star-studded receiving corp in check. The league saw safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas make crushing hits whenever Peyton Manning did find his receivers for mostly harmless chunks of yards. They watched as Seattle’s pass rushers, Chris Clemons, Cliff Avril and Red Bryant, completely took one of history’s greatest quarterbacks out of his comfort zone. They witnessed the Seahawks’ offensive stars, Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, make huge plays whenever they were needed. And now, the league is going to act on what they saw in the 2014 Super Bowl.

You can count on a dozen or more teams working to build a roster that’s more akin to Seattle. And this means that defensive players will gain a little more value this offseason. Greg Hardy, T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are all set to make far more money this summer thanks to the Seattle Seahawks.

richard-sherman-seattleTeams have already been gravitating towards quarterbacks who can throw on the run. However, guys like Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater gain even more value in the draft after Wilson helped lead Seattle to a championship. Furthermore, the prototypical height requirement of 6’3″ or taller is diminished because of the 5’11” Wilson.

Running back committees have almost become automatic in this day and age. But when looking at the success Seattle had with a bruising, workhorse back like Lynch and a competent backup in Robert Turbin, getting somebody who can carry the load will be of extreme importance.

The Seahawks have definitely created the template here. And multiple teams will now be hoping to emulate Seattle’s roster. Obviously some organizations will fail badly at doing so. Others might achieve the success of San Francisco and Carolina, which are both very similar to Seattle. But will anybody be able to reach the heights that the Seahawks did this year? Or will it be the team from the Pacific Northwest repeating again as champs? You can bet that this will be a busy offseason as teams try to prevent the latter from happening again.