Hey guys, how’s it going? This week I’d like to start by giving a big shout-out to Saints fans, who are always there for us, and to football fans everywhere! Be safe on your Thanksgiving travels!
ESPN’s power rankings have Seattle and New Orleans at #1 and #2. The hype is building and I’m sure the game will live up to expectations.
My wife volunteered to have dinner at our house in New Orleans, so her whole family will be driving up from Mississippi, and we’re expecting about 20 people total including children. It’ll be a packed house, and we’ll be having all the traditional fare with trimmings, plus some soul food with a New Orleans twist.
Personally, I have a lot to be thankful for: I became a new uncle as my brother became a dad last week, and we’re expecting our own first child in a few weeks. My wife has had a pretty uneventful pregnancy, which is great for all concerned. So we’re ready to go.
OK, we’ve got a big serving of football coming up, starting with three Thanksgiving Day NFL games and ending with our matchup against Seattle on Monday Night Football.
We just pulled off three wins in 12 days to go to 9-2. Beating Dallas, San Francisco and Atlanta during that stretch was huge. To win in November, when playoff-bound teams separate themselves from the pack, is key. Now we’ve got another tough stretch starting with Seattle. ESPN’s power rankings have us at #1 and #2. The hype is building and I’m sure the game will live up to expectations.
People are talking about how a win for either team would be important in getting home-field advantage for the playoffs. If we win, the road to the Super Bowl may run through New Orleans, and there are obvious advantages to that. We’ve lived it before, and it’s pretty tough to beat us at the Superdome.
Of course, speaking of home field, the Seahawks boast an NFL-best 13-game home winning streak. So how do you deal with the hostile 12th Man environment at CenturyLink Field? It’s more of a challenge when our offense is on the field, because that’s when the fans really get loud. They quiet down for their own O, so it’s easier for our D to communicate. (On the flip side, in our home ’dome, our fans are so intense we can hardly hear anything, LOL.)
Their defense is close to #1 in most categories, including taking the ball away. That consistently gives them a short field on offense, so they’re not forced to make big pass plays and can focus on their ground game. Our defense is going to have to stop them on third downs or force turnovers. And then our offense will have to do their job and score.
More specifically, we have to slow down Marshawn Lynch, who has 925 rushing yards this season. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson is playing smart. He has the second best yards-per-attempt average, so he’s very efficient. They’ve also got a great return game, so our special teams will have to step up, too.
I don’t know how it’s going to play out, but you’ve got a 10-1 team against a 9-2 team, so it’s going to be a fight out there! And right after Seattle we’ve got Carolina, who are 8-3 and fighting us for the NFC South title. We’ve got two huge games against them in December. Everybody now knows what they can do.
Our other two games are sneaky, because the Rams and Bucs are better than their records, and they’re still playing teams tough. We cannot look ahead. It’s a cliché but we’ve got to take it one game at a time, show up and take care of business.
One last thing: My #3 Buckeyes are 11-0 with two games left. First at Michigan, and we can’t overlook our rivals there. And then we’ve got #11 Michigan State, which would be a really quality win. We’ve gotta win out to have a chance at the BCS title game. Alabama and Florida State remain undefeated, but stranger things have happened late in seasons. Trust me, we’ll be pretty disappointed if we finish undefeated for a second straight season and still don’t get to the Championship game. Fingers crossed it doesn’t play out that way. Go Bucks!
—As told to Ashley Jude Collie