Listen, I don't try to live my life as a contrarian. That's not true -- I kind of do. I spend a lot of time in public houses and taverns, and I have a two-hour commute that allows me to hear a lot of the sports world's most popular opinions. Sometimes, I think it's best to take a look at the other side.
In this space, I'll be articulating a handful of positions that are the opposite of what most people think -- unpopular opinions, if you will -- and explain why, well, my unpopular opinions are right and everyone else is wrong. Below are my unpopular opinions for Week 8.
I love what the Eagles (6-1) are doing. They were amazing on Monday night. Carson Wentz is an absolute stud and the hero Philadelphia deserves. Zach Ertz hasn't quite been passed the torch from Rob Gronkowski, but he's currently running the route and he's open (like always). I love all of this. So please, Eagles fans, know that I love you. Know that if some dude was walking through a grocery store in an old-school No. 15 Eagles jersey, I would know it was an homage to Steve Van Buren. The pride of Honduras.
The Seahawks have snuck up on us. The same way big-box retailers have low-key rolled out their Christmas decorations. And by low-key, I mean hitting you right in the chest like Doug Baldwin pushing his offensive line coach. But in all seriousness, the Seahawks were kind of discarded about a month ago. There were whispers the window had closed. Well, that window is wide open, there is a pie on the sill and a pumpkin-spiced coffee beverage made with milk and espresso right next to it.
But how? Well, the offense has become much more efficient. The O-line has improved -- it's not the 1990s Cowboys, but efficient enough. Consequently, Seattle has averaged more than four touchdowns (28.7 points) over the last three games, all of which they have won. And yes, I guess you could say they have averaged a little more than nine field goals. Or two touchdowns and five field goals. Whatever -- they are scoring more points. Which seems important in the NFL.
However, it's really been the defense that has led the charge. Which isn't surprising. Defense has become a tradition in Seattle -- much like the Space Needle, Pike Place Fish Market and the Mariners missing the playoffs (seriously, hope you're enjoying Jerry Dipoto). The Seahawks have allowed 11.7 points during their three-game winning streak. They have been especially tough on the ground, where they've surrendered just 244 rushing yards in three games (including 46 last week).
And this isn't just the old guard getting its groove back -- Seattle has received key contributions from newer names. Rookie Shaquill Griffin has been great opposite Richard Sherman. He's like the youth movement in the "Legion of Boom." Like when a wrestling stable adds a youngster to the group. Like when Randy Orton joined Evolution. Frank Clark has done well in relief of Cliff Avril, and you have to love Jarran Reed. Of course, it's not going to be complete unless you add the veteran savvy ... Hello, Dwight Freeney! And if I'm to complete the previous wrestling analogy, he's the Ric Flair here. So the Seahawks might not be glory-days Four Horsemen, but this new group is pretty damn good, too.
I know: Who have they played? You aren't impressed by Jacoby Brissett? How. Dare. You. But hey look: They have a game against Deshaun Watson and the Texans on Sunday. So, I can sit here and try to convince you. But I'll let the Seahawks do that this weekend.
I think the 'Hawks will keep winning. As for the Eagles, well they are looking great. But at the same time, that Jason Peters injury is going to loom large. Jordan Hicks' season-ender doesn't help, either. The Eagles might very well capture the top seed in the playoffs. And many strides will be made for a championship run -- but not until next year.
Joe Thomas played 10,363 consecutive snaps. More than 10 years. More than 70 in dog (pound) years. It's the most impressive streak in sports history. And I know a thing or two about this subject matter: I was in the fifth row of the Superdome when Brock Lesnar ended the Undertaker's WrestleMania win streak -- so I'm kind of an expert here.
Sure, there was Cal Ripken's streak. And I don't mean to belittle what a grind a professional baseball season is. I spent a year in San Bernardino with the Dodgers' Class A affiliate and it was awful. The office was a double-wide trailer with an aluminum roof to really soak in the heat. The air conditioning sort of worked, but the GM would plug all of the other floor vents with trash cans to make sure that his office was a nice and breezy 29 degrees. That's Celsius, mind you. (Seriously, Celsius makes way more sense. Stop being so American.) So, I know baseball is rough. But come on.
And I know the NFL has seen longer streaks. Eli Manning with the active consecutive-starts streak. Brett Favre with the all-time consecutive-starts streak. Me constantly being wrong about Melvin Gordon in fantasy, each and every week. There are more, but Thomas is still the most impressive.
Thomas was selected with the third overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. The biggest note of that draft, of course, was that Thomas had eschewed the pomp and circumstance of Radio City Music Hall in favor of fishing with his old man. So you knew right away, this dude was special.
He immediately took over the left tackle spot, helped lead the Browns that year to a 10-6 record and probably thought, We've got this team on the right track! Except Cleveland hasn't enjoyed another winning season since. In fact, they've only eclipsed five wins during this span once -- going 7-9 in 2014 -- and haven't even sniffed the postseason. Yet still, prior to Sunday's season-ending triceps tear, Thomas didn't miss a snap. NOT. ONE. SNAP!
Look, I can't even have a soda while watching a movie in the theater if it's going to go longer than an hour-thirty. This dude never missed a play -- not for a bathroom break, not after somebody stepped on his foot, not even to check his Twitter mentions. Nothing took him out of the game. Ever. He just kept playing for a team that -- and I'm trying to be kind -- sort of struggled.
That's crazy, man. It's easy to come to work and be ready when things are going great. But even the guy who gets paid to train polar bears at some point has to be all, "I can't take this son of a [female dog] another day" once in a while, right?
Thomas' perseverance is extraordinary. Don't take my word for it, though. One of the most indelible images from Sunday was Titans LT Taylor Lewan chasing after Thomas as he was leaving the field (this is when it's acceptable to leave the sideline) to show some respect for the best in the business. That says a lot.
Thomas is THE iron man. You're never going to convince me otherwise.
POPULAR OPINION (that I actually think is spot-on): If you carry a postseason ERA of 4.21 -- and your career ERA is 2.36 -- it's not a narrative to say you've struggled in the playoffs. It's called a fact.