After a 58-0 game, for Arizona and Seattle, there's nowhere to go but up, and down.
Prior to the NFL's Week 14 games, there were only two shutouts all season, but Seattle notched the third in the biggest way. A week later, the Seahawks are traveling across the country for an East Coast game and find themselves the decent favorites against the Buffalo Bills, while the Arizona Cardinals are a home underdog by about the same amount against the Detroit Lions.
The only hope for the Cardinals might be to call the Tennessee Titans and find out how they got themselves up for a home game back in 2009 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, right after they lost 59-0 to the New England Patriots.
As for the Seahawks, their own worst enemy could be themselves, as you'll see in my write-up.
With 60 articles in the books and a record of 38-17 with five ties—including 10 straight articles without a loss—I'll look for a better chance at going 2-0 than 0-2 with these predictions in lieu of a boring split.
Let's start at Arizona before heading north and east to Canada, and good luck (point spreads courtesy of dannysheridan.com).
Arizona (+6.5) vs. Detroit
The Cardinals hit rock bottom in Week 14, before the second half even started, when they fell behind 38-0 and were en route to eight turnovers.
Here's the good news: It's extremely unlikely they will commit even close to eight turnovers again this week.
Here's the other good news: They won't lose 58-0 again.
It might seem hard to get motivated for the next game after such a loss, but sometimes a game like that can light a fire under your rear end, if nothing else can, especially when it happens in front of your home fans.
It could have been worse.
Actually, it was for the Titans in 2009, and the Cardinals should take notes.
Tennessee opened the 2009 season with six straight losses and were coming back home with three of them having a gap of at least 20 points, and the most recent being a 59-0 blowout at New England.
They were down 45-0 at halftime.
Believe it or not, the Titans were actually favored in the next game against Jacksonville, and they won by 17 points.
They also won their next four games after that.
Speaking of giving up 59 points, don't forget about the Washington Redskins, who did just that at home in front of a huge television audience on Monday Night Football against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010. Virtually written off as a seven-point underdog the following week at Tennessee, they won the game straight up.
Going back a bit further, the expansion Cleveland Browns looked terrible as they opened the 1998 season with losses of 43-0 and 26-9, but they covered 13 points against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3.
And keeping it in the AFC North, fans in and around Pittsburgh might remember the 1988 Steelers. They opened the season with losses of 51-0 and 41-10.
It's time to take the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3 as your survivor pick as an eight-point favorite against the Steelers, right?
Pittsburgh ended up winning that game straight up.
NFL teams that build themselves a halftime deficit of 30 points or more have covered the spread in the following game more than 80 percent of the time in the last 25 years, including this very same Arizona Cardinals team with Kurt Warner in 2008.
The Cardinals found themselves down 34-0 at halftime to the New York Jets and gave up 56 points for the game. And in almost similar fashion to 2012's Cardinals, they committed seven turnovers in that game.
They were one of the season's best bets in the week that followed, coming home as a two-point favorite against the Bills, a game they ended up winning by 24 points.
Now 4-9 and eliminated from the playoffs, it's the Lions coming into this game with nothing to play for, and the Cardinals with everything to play for.
Fans can be very nasty, but just as forgiving.
And what better way to erase such a scar than to beat the Lions at home, or at least put forth a valiant effort?
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said Ryan Lindley would be the starter for Sunday. He's no Kurt Warner, but it's probably the correct choice at this point.
Stranger things have happened in Arizona lately, namely a 30-20 win over defending Super Bowl Champions the New Orleans Saints in Week 4 of 2010, with rookie Max Hall making his first start for the Cardinals after a 41-10 loss against the San Diego Chargers.
This game could be the last chance for the rookie from San Diego State, so look for Lindley to have his most focused game of the season.
Embarrassment fuels motivation, and the Cardinals might surprise everyone and either knock off the Lions or lose by a field goal.
And, by the way, that 1988 Steelers team? They ended up making the playoffs that year.
Take Arizona plus the points
Buffalo (+5.5) vs. Seattle
We know the Cardinals won't turn the ball over eight times again.
Here's something else we know: Seattle won't receive eight turnovers again, either.
Fresh off their 58-0 win over the Cardinals, the Seahawks will head to Toronto as about a 5.5-point favorite over the Bills.
A blowout win like that might not be such a huge deal for a veteran team like the Patriots, but the question is whether the Seahawks will be complacent and come in a bit too high on their horse for this game.
If their own team history is any indication, the answer is yes.
A good measure of maturity is to look at what a team has done after a big win, and Seattle's recent resume is bad.
As a matter of fact, if you look at the last eight times the Seahawks notched a win of 21 points or more, you might find that they are 0-8 against the spread in the following game.
And that's not even including what happened after their two biggest wins in recent memory.
The Seahawks laid eggs after the big home win against the Saints in the 2011 playoffs, and again after knocking off the New York Giants on the road last season, both times as a 10-point underdog—the latter was a huge win that knocked virtually everyone out of their survivor pool early in the season.
Seattle has either lost or failed to win 39 of its last 45 road games by more than six points, and after winning against the Chicago Bears just two weeks ago in overtime—by six points—one must wonder if they'll have enough emotional and physical gas in the tank to pull it off again.
The Seahawks have scored more than two offensive touchdowns in regulation on
the road—and got three just once this season at Detroit.
The Bills, who still have a small chance at a playoff spot, have played well at home except for the Patriots game, as expected.
Even though the game is in Toronto, the Seahawks had better be on high alert for a letdown. Players typically have curfews and hotel team security, but what better opportunity than for a 25-year-old millionaire to sneak out on Saturday night and party it up in one of Canada's most mischievous cities, especially after a 58-0 win?
Having come up flat after its last 10 big wins since 2007, the Seahawks will have to put in a bit more focus to pull this game off by more than a touchdown.
Lets assume they'll be saving that for next week's showdown with the San Francisco 49ers in home-sweet-home Seattle.
Take Buffalo plus the points
Follow Mark all season at www.TheFallMiracle.com