The Seattle Seahawks will play the 583rd regular-season game in franchise history Sunday when they kick off against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Never have they been favored to win by as much as they are against Jacksonville.
Depending on the line, Seattle is favored to win by as many as 20 points, not only the biggest spread in Seahawks history but among the 10 largest in the NFL in the past 40 years.
Jeff Stoneback, the sports book manager of The Mirage in Las Vegas, says the equation for arriving at that number was pretty simple.
“You have here what is arguably the best team in the NFL going against probably not arguably the worst team in the NFL,” Stoneback said.
No team has been favored to win by as much since the 2007 New England Patriots, who were twice favored to win by 20 or more during a year in which they went 16-0.
That such spreads are so rare, Stoneback said, speaks to the overall parity that usually exists in the “On Any Given Sunday” NFL.
“You’ve got to have that lightning strike where one team is dominant over the rest of the league and the other team is horrible,” he said. “That’s what’s happened in this situation. And obviously (Seattle’s) home-field advantage is a lot stronger right now than any other team in the NFL.”
It adds up to a game that projects as an easy day at the office for the Seahawks.
As might be expected, though, the Seahawk would have none of that conversation this week.
Instead, they talked of the tough battle they figure they’ll get from a team coached by Gus Bradley, who spent the last four years as the defensive coordinator of the Seahawks.
They talked of their desire to meet their increasingly exacting standards, regardless of the opponent or the perceived stakes. And they talked of realizing the long-term cost of not taking care of business when their objectives reach far beyond the regular season.
“The picture is bigger than just this week and we understand that, that the goal is at the end of the season, to win the NFC West, have home field advantage (in the playoffs) and hopefully make it to the Super Bowl,” said receiver Golden Tate.
The Seahawks also said they know there’s still plenty of work to do, despite suddenly finding themselves acclaimed by many as the best team in the NFL following a dominant 29-3 win over the 49ers.
“It could have been even that much better because we got lined up wrong at least 10 times in the game and we missed some tackles,” said linebacker K.J. Wright. “They shouldn’t have had that many rushing yards or that many passing yards. As good as we played, we could have been even more dominant.