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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

November 14, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Seahawks vs. Chiefs: National media finally picking against Seattle, but how close is it?

It took 11 weeks, three losses and an avalanche of injuries, but the oddsmakers and media finally are picking against the defending Super Bowl champions.

The Seahawks are a 1-point underdog in their game in Kansas City on Sunday, and  most of the national media predict Seattle will lose to the Chiefs.

I found that 34 of 57 predictions from the national media and major newspapers went against the Seahawks straight up. The final count was 34-23.

Have the media given up on the Seahawks? Hardly. Virtually everyone is expecting an extremely close game, most between one and three points. The biggest margin I found for Kansas City was from Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times, who predicts the Kansas City will win by four. The biggest margin on a pick for the Seahawks was again our own staffer. Jayson Jenks of The Seattle Times, who shares coverage of the beat with Condotta, picked the Seahawks by seven points.

That’s hardly jumping off the Seattle bandwagon. And both the line and the media predictions can be explained by the fact that the Seahawks are on the road in chilly Kansas City, where the Arrowhead Crowd crowd is a factor.

Here are predictions on the game from media around the country.


Two of four picked the Seahawks.

Jerry Brewer – Chiefs 20, Seahawks 16: The injury attrition is too great right now for the Seahawks.

Bob Condotta – Chiefs 21, Seahawks 17:  Kansas City has been playing as well as any tea in the NFL since the opening week of the season, and a rowdy home crowd and a Chiefs squad that doesn’t beat itself will prove too much for the Seahawks to overcome.

Jayson Jenks – Seahawks 24, Chiefs 17:  The loss of Brandon Mebane hurts Seattle’s defense, but the Seahawks’ defense rallies in his absence to shut down Jamaal Charles.

Larry Stone – Seahawks 21, Chiefs 20: Attrition by injury is taking its toll, but as the Seahawks begin the gauntlet of six games that will define their season, they rise up to edge the Chiefs.


Ten of 13 pick Kansas City.


Three of five pick Kansas City.

Elliott Harrison – Chiefs 16, Seahawks 13: Seattle leads the NFL in rushing at 170.9 yards per game. Kansas City’s allowing 4.7 yards per carry, second-worst in the league. No bueno. OK, so let’s look toward the passing game, because that’s where this matchup gets interesting. Was doing some research in the NFL NOW newsroom after watching my buddy @SolomonsWisdom_ do a segment on blitz frequency, and I found that Russell Wilson ranks 24th against the blitz, compiling an 81.4 passer rating while completing under 60 percent of his passes. That said, the Chiefs rarely have to blitz, because their outside rushers bring it. How is Wilson on third down? Twenty-fourth again, picking up just 25 passing first downs. Alex Smith? He boasts a 102.2 passer rating on third down, with 43 passing first downs. He also has the largest conversion rate on third-and-7-plus in the league. Seattle’s run game must keep it up, staying out of third-down situations, especially against this pass rush and a super-loud crowd that is not cheering for them (for a change).


Six of eight pick Kansas City.


Five of six pick Chiefs.

Ray Lewis – I like the formula and formula is simple, hand the ball off to Marshawn. Put eight men in the box and play football.



Five of seven pick the Seahawks.


One pick for the Seahawks.

Don Banks – Seahawks 20, Chiefs 17:  Here’s hoping the Seahawks enjoyed that big fourth quarter and the win over the Giants at home last week, because that’ll be the closest thing to a breather Seattle gets for a while. In the coming six games, starting with the trip to Arrowhead, the defending Super Bowl champions face NFC teams that all either went to the playoffs or won 10 games last season, with every one of them still in playoff contention this year: At K.C., Arizona, at San Francisco, at Philadelphia, San Francisco and Arizona. That’s quite the gauntlet, but it will at least start out on a winning note against the red-hot Chiefs, with Seattle relying once again on its Marshawn Lynch-led ground game to gut out a narrow victory.


One pick for the Seahawks.

Greg Cote -Seahawks 21, Chiefs  20 – A Game of the Week contender, this figures to be an earthbound matchup swirling around fantasy bulwarks Marshawn Lynch and Jamaal Charles. Here’s the difference. Seattle plays really good run defense. Kansas City really doesn’t, giving up 4.7 yards per carry to rank 30th. Chiefs are hot and tough at home and Seabirds are famously not as strong away. I like the upset anyway.


One pick for Kansas City.

Sam Farmer – Chiefs 21, Seahawks 20: The Seahawks humiliated the Giants with 350 yards rushing, but now Seattle is going up against the only defense that has yet to allow a rushing touchdown. Chiefs are quietly building momentum.


One  pick for the Seahawks

Bob McManaman – Seahawks 27, Chiefs 23: Kansas City can topple Seattle if it gets its ground attack going, but I sense a second-half surge by the Seahawks coming.

Five of seven pick the Seahawks.


Split, three of six pick Seahawks and Kansas City. .

Joseph Zucker – Seahawks 17, Chiefs 14: This is basically a pick ’em game, with neither team owning a discernible advantage over the other. As long as Seattle can get the running game back to a level close to where it was in Week 10, the Seahawks will pull out a close win. Their defense has the chance to make a real statement here too.


One pick for the Seahawks.

David Steele – Seahawks 17, Chiefs 16: Seahawks had rediscovered their identities last week, with Marshawn Lynch going Beast Mode. But it was against the Giants, and the Chiefs, philosophically very similar (defense and a handful of a running back in Jamaal Charles), are not the Giants. If Seattle is going to chase down Arizona, this one can’t get away.

Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at or Not all submissions can be published. Opinions expressed are those of authors, and The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.


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