Fallout 4 Check List

April 24, 2015

Fallout 4 E3

     Any Fallout fan is going to get the joke the picture above tells and it pretty much sums up my feelings about the 101 stories out there about Bethesda and the upcoming E3 event. I’m seriously getting tired of, “Click Here to read that there’s nothing to read about Fallout 4. Our advertisers thank you.”

     Then again I also found myself thinking that even worse than a no announcement for Fallout 4 might be them actually setting a release date. Considering how bad Fallout New Vegas was there is no guarantee that a future installment will live up to the hype. Depending on what direction Bethesda goes I may end up holding out more hope for the Fallout Lonestar mod instead.

     When throwing all genres into one big pile I think that Fallout 3 stands alone on top as the single best video game ever made. By Mennen if it’s not broke then don’t fix it! With that in mind here is my check list of what I would want from Fallout 4.

Keep it Single Player and Offline

     It’s called the wasteland for a reason folks. The last thing I want to see is 40 “lone wanderers” in my subway crawl or emote dancing at the trading post. Just how many vaults are around here anyway? The next to useless NPC followers we teamed up with on the occasion were more than enough. If we just HAVE TO include multiplayer then make it an expansion or DLC. Just like in Fallout 3 we had “The Pitt” then give us another city outside of Fallout 4 we can travel to that is an online free fire zone.

Bring back the Sandbox

     In Fallout 3 if you were smart, lucky or just sneaky enough there was nowhere you couldn’t go and almost nothing you couldn’t do. Bethesda dropped a huge radioactive post apocalyptic wasteland in our laps and said, “Good luck and remember kids, only you can prevent human flesh fires.” From horizon to horizon a great deal of the fun was just seeing what was over the next hill.

     New Vegas totally killed that by building several bottlenecks into the map you couldn’t get past until a certain level. And even when you did explore the out of the way places you would just run into an invisible wall. Sorry, you can’t go past here because it’s the map edge or a section boundary. Why don’t you turn around and follow the road to the next set piece we have pre-planned for you instead?

     And it wasn’t just the map building either. Even when I got to a new area and stumbled across a side quest I would discover I could only follow it if my barter skill or charisma were a certain level. Just what I frigging need. Sure, I’ll waste some skill points on those, why not? I’m sure they’ll come in very handy the next time a Deathclaw jumps my ass. I’ll just pretend to have a headache and talk my way out of it.

     Who the hell needs charisma? I have questions and a combat shotgun. Give me all your Sugar Bombs then start talking.

Mod Support

     Give me G.E.C.K or give me death! Unless death lets you play a ghoul character then give me both! Player mods and player maps being added to the game keep it fresh and expands the replay and continue play of the game for years and years. I don’t have too many worries on this one since Bethesda has a good track record supporting the mod community. It isn’t very hard to get a company to let gamers work thousands of programming hours for FREE.

Radio Stations

     One of the little touches that made a huge difference to Fallout 3 was all the music and radio stations. Three Dog was always saying something different and you got to hear propaganda from different factions and broadcastings on issues from several points of view. And it was fun to just crank up the Pipboy and let “Civilization” by Danny Kaye and The Andrews Sisters draw feral ghouls from miles around. Damn, typing that out makes me want to listen to another President Eden fireside chat.


     No thanks. If I wanted to I could rig a backpack onto a super mutant and dangle a carrot in front of her nose. I’ll be there in no time. Vehicles are a really bad idea. I already have a 30 year old motorcycle in real life that I can’t get parts for. Getting a new clutch for a 150 year old bike at the wasteland trading station just isn’t going to happen. There are already enough “universal cog” things about Fallout that walk a fine line but vehicles are too far out of bounds. Leave them to the Enclave.

1st Person

     Please keep it a 1st person game. The only thing 3rd person is good for is taking dramatic screenshots, which is very cool, but playing the game from an out of body experience angle takes away from the immersion factor.


     The minimal crafting of Fallout 3 was perfect. Who didn’t go out and have a ton of fun with their Rock-It Launcher the first time you built it? However the overloaded endless list of crap in New Vegas, most of which you’ll never find in usable quantities, was an example of how not to do things. Like mod support though I don’t worry too much about this one. Bethesda has a strong track record here while Obsidian who did New Vegas clearly had no idea what it had gotten into.


     I’m sitting on the fence here. You really can’t get rid of it since the gun prop sights ingame are mostly meaningless. I have always viewed V.A.T.S as an ingenious band-aid covering up that fact. Plus it is a lot of fun. So if the game engine isn’t going to let you actually use your weapon then keep the system. Though if we are going to keep V.A.T.S then please fix the bugs. It gets frustrating watching my character shoot the barricade I’m crouched behind in slow motion instead of the Radscorpion running straight at me that I was in fact aiming at. If the next generation game engine does allow 1st person correct use of your weapons then I won’t be too sad to see them scrap V.A.T.S.

Build for the PC

     If it happens to also run on consoles then that is ok with me. But build Fallout 4 for the PC! It is no coincidence that a keyboard has 101 keys on it folks. Fallout and PC are just meant to go together. Games, all games, made for console then adapted for PC absolutely suck. Dumb it down for console if you must Bethesda but the heart of Fallout is in being a PC game made for PC Gamers.

Survival Mode

     I thought this was the one good thing that New Vegas added to Fallout. Having to pay more attention to food / water / radiation at times really added to the immersion factor. It wasn’t perfect by any means but as a first attempt I liked where it was going. In the new game I would really want some obvious common sense added though if we are going to include or improve on survival mode. I mean here you are getting a refreshing drink at Bitter Springs. Lets see here, clean water, empty bottles and bottle caps. Now if only there was a way to combine these things into something I could take with me.

     I also think weather would be a great addition to survival mode. I could easily spend a couple days hunting down some Raiders through the wasteland by their tracks in the snow. A night attack in the rain on a super mutant camp? Finding my way to the next town through a summer dust storm? Frigging bring it!


     So that about sums up my check list for Fallout 4. Other than the obvious, “Release it or announce a release date already!” And hopefully we’ll be lifting our Nuka Cola in toast to Bethesda doing just that in a month or so. I along with millions of other gamers are years past due for a new lunch box.


The West Report

The opinions expressed in The West Report are the author’s own. Feel free to repost or share, we just ask you credit or link to this article as a source.


Absolute War    

     Absolute War by Chris Bellamy is a comprehensive look at the entire Eastern Front largely from the Russian perspective. The author doesn’t just build upon prior works but gathers new information gained from Russian archives in the early 1990s to present some new points of view and add to the debate on old ones. Using a style that keeps the pages turning I would say this is a good read for anyone and not just students of World War II. Which isn’t easy to pull off in a history book since we already know how it’s going to end.

      The first sentence of chapter 1 as the lead in is a head scratcher that first left me thinking, “Huh?” But as a way to preface the book and snap a reader out of preconceived views about the war or what you already know it’s one of the best beginnings to a history book I have read yet. Once begun we delve into pre-war politics and the run-up to war. I thought the author did a good job in laying out the case that Stalin wasn’t as dismissive of western warnings to German aggression as is popularly portrayed. That Russian ignorance of an attack being the first great maskirovka, or military deception, of the war is an intriguing argument.

     That Stalin was preparing a preemptive strike against Germany isn’t a new theory. This book however presented a detailed look at that theory to help explain 590,000 Russian casualties during the first two and a half weeks of the war in a way I found very interesting. While not definitive the weight he adds to the argument of preemption is difficult to ignore. The contrast to other history reads that dismiss the Frontier Battles as Russian amateurism and abysmal communications too reliant on easily cut phone lines was refreshing. Past the mind numbing totals the author also does a great job putting the great encirclements into a human context where the reader can place themselves in the boots of a General literally losing 44,000 troops PER DAY.

     At this point the author assumes you’ve already read The Road to Stalingrad (1975) or similar work and doesn’t get bogged down in the details of tactics. Instead, the strategic view of the march on Leningrad, Moscow and Crimea is the contextual backdrop to the rise, expansion and growing Russian military reliance upon the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD). The country might move at the direction of Stalin but the author shows how the NKVD was the extension of that will in not only the conduct of the war but in keeping the country together in order to fight it. Here the book really adds to the narrative on the Eastern Front showing the expansion not only in size but role of the NKVD was greater than previously known.

     This narrative carries the reader through most of 1942 and again the author assumes you’ve already read Enemy at the Gates (1973) so we shift our focus north.

     While the Stalingrad counter offensive (Operation Uranus) and eventual destruction of 6th Army is well known what has not been is the Moscow counter offensive (Operation Mars) aimed at the German 9th Army. For almost 50 years this battle has been scrubbed from the history of WWII and this book really builds on previous works in bringing it to light. As the second part of the Stalingrad encirclement Operation Mars resulted in 335,000 killed/missing/wounded for the Russians over two and a half months of fighting. Not only that but it failed to achieve any of its objectives. So even though in terms of soldiers, aircraft, tanks and artillery it was the same size as the Stalingrad encirclement one can see why it was buried. But the fact that it was successfully done so shows how much of the WWII narrative history still has to uncover.

     As an American reader the book at this point I found interesting because of the comparisons in time lines of war. I really liked how the book pointed out that in November 1942 while the Americans were entering the war with landings in North Africa (Operation Torch) the Russians were ripping the 6th Army out of the German order of battle. Not to mention the Romanian 4th and 3rd, Italian 8th and Hungarian 2nd armies. Very contrary to the usual view of World War II that we get here in the States where Normandy is the turning point of the war.

     Beyond the battle and politics hidden from the world all this time the author also adds to the history of women in the Russian army likewise buried. We of course are introduced to well known figures like sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko who is credited with 309 kills including 36 enemy snipers. But the scale of almost 800,000 serving women in the armed forces is a story largely untold. After the war it was quickly wiped from the record by the Russians even to their own people. The glimpse the author shows us from that brief window in the 1990s to this story is the best we’ll probably get until Putin opens the archives back up.

     Of note was the Night Witches that I had not encountered before. The Russian 588th air regiment from mechanics up to officers was composed entirely of women. Flying night missions with obsolete biplanes they conducted harassment bombing missions. Cutting the engine the pilots would glide into the target, drop their bombs then restart the engine and leave the area. More often than not the bombs dropped were the first indication German troops had that the regiment was there. The regiment in fact got its name from the Germans who started calling them Nachthexen (night witches).

     The closing act of this book again doesn’t get bogged down with tactics and does a good job of closing out the war while exploring the politics and foundations of what will be the start of the Cold War. The long term repercussions of the war to Russia is also expanded upon. The newly revised figure of 27,000,000 killed, or 1 in 7 Russians, and how that has echoed through history to the current day is a good read.

     A touch of levity to counter the tragic totals is provided with the iconic cover art of the book. The famous photo depicting the Fall of the Reichstag was actually a 1945 version of photoshop. In the original photo the soldier below the one raising the flag over Germany was wearing two watches, almost certainly looted, and it was repainted to him wearing only one. The flag was touched up to look like it was billowing out and more smoke was added over the city for effect. The original photo is included in the book.

     All in all not a definitive work on the Eastern Front but as a companion book I would say that this is a must have on your bookshelf in the history section.


The West Report

The opinions expressed in The West Report are the author’s own. Feel free to repost or share, we just ask you credit or link to this article as a source.

Batteries not included

March 18, 2015

battery box

Changing the battery on a VS700 Intruder is such a joy! Not just because I have a brake rod on one side and a rectifier on the other covering up the connection bolts mind. Though that can be hours of family fun to navigate around. No. The best part is that the battery drops out of the bottom of the bike and I only have 3 inches of low side clearance to work with.

Let the fun begin!

Well, fun for someone anyway. I’m sure there is a bunch of engineers over at Suzuki still laughing about that one. I don’t know if it is still this way after they renamed the Intruder to the Boulevard line of bikes but I wouldn’t doubt it. A running joke like that around the office is too good to fix.

Lucky for me the parking area at my place is gravel and not paved. After securing the stand on a block of wood so it doesn’t sink into the ground and tip the bike over I just dig a hole under the box to drop the battery out with. I know, real high tech stuff huh? With no space to slide a lift under this beats the hell out of trying to kill yourself with a scissor jack.

Or so I’ve heard I mean. Ahem.

So I’ve been up to the shop and traded in the old battery. Cleaned all the wire ends and checked for pinches. Dug my trench to install the new battery and only then do I notice it.

Top and front posts.

old battery

To say the least I was not having hours of family fun at this point.

Same exact battery yet sometime over the last three years the posts were changed. Are they looking at the same bike I am? To be fair with the shop I have checked a bunch of sites and they all say this battery is an exact fit for me. And sure, I should of checked the battery they pulled instead of just matching serial numbers.


You can’t go in from the top or the front on a VS700. Even with triple jointed tools it still doesn’t work because the battery case top that snaps down after install has no room for top or front bolts. There is a hole in the side for it.

The shop at least didn’t screw me and leave me stuck with a battery I couldn’t use. None of the XT16B-A1 types there had the right terminals. I was able to trade it in and go a step up to a XT16BS-1 with side facing connections for $20 more. Same height but a tiny bit thinner and I had to suck up the space with a bit of foam so it wouldn’t move. Not a perfect solution but whatever gets you down the road eh?

Since the swap I have not been able since to find a XT16B-1 with the right terminals searching online. There IS a replacement for it on one site I found listed UB16B-A with the right ones but I don’t know how old that picture is. Something to keep my eyes out for while I wander through other shops this spring.

The bike certainly likes our new battery and is sounding great. Fired right up after sitting since November. If the battery is my only stumbling block heading into the riding season then I’m calling it all good.

The mirrors I ordered over the winter to fix my broken ones actually fit. Wonder of wonders. The stems are a little longer than the old ones and I can even see better than I could before. The weather is getting warmer, only 36 degrees last night so we are staying above freezing. Won’t be long now.

Hope your spring tunes are all going smooth out there and I’ll see you on the road.


The West Report

The opinions expressed in The West Report are the author’s own. Feel free to repost or share, we just ask you credit or link to this article as a source.


Go Washington Redskins!

June 18, 2014

Yes, I said Redskins. Not the Fighting Natives of D.C. or whatever people want them to be called.

As a blogger in Spokane Washington I am more offended by the “Washington” part of the team name. If they are going to change the moniker then it should just be “the Redskins” and leave my state out of it.

The Seahawks rule here.

But if it must be done then lets do things right and fix all the NFL teams.

If the Washington Redskins must go then I would think that the Chiefs are going also.

Dallas will no longer be called America’s Team since as we all know Cowboys are a Spanish import.

To date, not one singe archeological site has uncovered a Viking helmet with horns on it.

At least the Texans are actually in Texas. We’ll leave them alone until they get moved to Oregon.

The Buccaneers logo should be changed to three Somalis in a boat or something better representing the Barbary Coast.

The Giants are the same size as other teams.

And finally, not all 49ers were men.

Or we could just do the sensible thing and leave the Redskins alone. It’s just a game folks.

The West Report
The opinions expressed in The West Report are the author’s own. Feel free to repost or share, we just ask you credit or link to this article as a source.

Having already secured a wild card spot after beating down the Saints on Monday Night 7-34 the Seahawks are presented this week with a grand opportunity to secure the NFC West Division Title, a first round playoff bye and the 2nd seed with a win at 49ers.

An opportunity but not a necessity. The remaining Seahawks schedule:

Seahawks (11-1) week 12 Bye
@ 49ers 8-4
@ Giants 5-7
Cardinals @ 7-5
Rams @ 5-7

The 49ers (8-4) at best with a 4 game sweep can end the season (12-4) if they win at home vs Seahawks. The Saints (9-3) and Panthers (9-3) at best with a 4 game sweep can end the season (13-3). Since Seattle has the tie break victories this year against both this means Seattle only needs any two wins to secure the 1st place seed and home field advantage through the playoffs. If these teams lose 1 game during the last four then Seattle only needs any one victory.

So yes, a win this Sunday is a great opportunity for our Seahawks but not a necessity. I think that will go a long way to lifting some of the pressure and let Seattle relax and kick some niner butt.

A lot of articles in the run-up for this game keep talking about injured players returning for the 49ers but what isn’t being mentioned is that Seattle has almost a full starting roster also. And the results of such were on display during MNF against the Saints. The same Saints that beat the 49ers two weeks ago 20-23. Harvin for Seattle is still doubtful but look for an improved run game this week as Lynch and Turbin will have the same offensive line to run behind for two weeks in a row now.

The Seattle secondary showed no sign of slowing down and the 49ers be warned. Maxwell stepped up in a big way breaking up two huge pass plays one of which would of been a Saints touchdown. Richard Sherman continues to lock down his position. Brees only threw his way twice during the game last week for no completions and a near interception. Boldin & Crabtree for the 49ers against the Legion of Boom is going to be a match-up to pay attention to. Last week I predicted a pick six return for Earl Thomas and was wrong. It was Michael Bennett that did that instead. This week I’ll be looking for a Sherman interception off a pass to Crabtree.

The key for Seattle to this game I think will be the same as the last time they faced San Francisco. Shut down Gore and force them to rely on the pass. Even with the return of Crabtree if the Seahawks can force the 49ers to play a one dimensional game they can secure this victory on the road.

Go Hawks!

Part 2 of the week 14 NFC West Double Header.

While Seattle travels to San Francisco the Rams (5-7) will take to the road and also visit their division rival at the Cardinals (7-5). For the Rams the seasons is all but over in four games barring the most wild mathematical projections but this is a team that plays a solid four quarters of ball no matter what.

The Cardinals can still make the playoffs with a win and some help down the stretch with some 49er losses and after dropping a loss to the Eagles last week they need this win more than ever. On the other hand the Rams failed to spoil the 49ers playoff hopes last week and might be looking to pick up the spare this week. Playing at home with the season almost over I think the advantage lies with Arizona. Go Cardinals!

Rest of the season for the NFC West:

Cardinals (7-5) week 9 Bye
Rams @ 5-7
@ Titans 5-7
@ Seahawks 11-1
49ers @ 8-4
Rams (5-7) week 11 Bye
@ Cardinals 7-5
Saints @ 9-3
Buccaneers @ 3-9
@ Seahawks 11-1
49ers (8-4) week 9 Bye
Seahawks @ 11-1
@ Buccaneers 3-9
Falcons @ 3-9
@ Cardinals 7-5

ESPN has a playoff calculator (Playoff Machine) where you can select your own picks and see how the playoffs will look for yourself.

The West Report
The opinions expressed in The West Report are the author’s own. Feel free to repost or share, we just ask you credit or link to this article as a source.

Week 13: Seahawks & NFC West

November 25, 2013

The Seahawks enjoyed a week 12 Bye so I’ll start with the rest of the NFC West heading into tonight’s Monday Night game that will see the 49ers @ Redskins.

Cardinals (7-4) week 9 Bye
@ Eagles 6-5
Rams @ 5-6
@ Titans 5-6
@ Seahawks 10-1
49ers @ 6-4*

I ended my week 11 post with a “Go Cardinals!” and this team didn’t disappoint. Arizona hosted the Colts (7-4) yesterday and stomped them 11-40 in a game that was never close. The win moves the Cardinals (7-4) up in the NFC Playoff picture to 6th seed and knocks San Francisco (6-4) down to 7th. Of course that could change after the Monday Night game but for now the Cardinals are in, 49ers are out, and they keep up the pressure on their NFC West playoff rivals.

The rest of the schedule for Arizona doesn’t get any easier and next week’s game @ Eagles will be a tough one. Philadelphia is tied with Dallas for the NFC East title and needs this win even more than the Cardinals do. With a wild card spot almost out of reach, the division’s top seed might be the Eagles only way into the post season. Facing teams in an all or nothing game can be dangerous and the Cardinals are 2-3 on the road with loses at Rams, Saints and 49ers.

Tough, but for this Arizona team, manageable. And if the 49ers lose tonight or week 13 Rams @, then the last game of the regular season becomes that much more important. Go Cardinals!

Rams (5-6) week 11 Bye
@ 49ers 6-4*
@ Cardinals 7-4
Saints @ 9-2
Buccaneers @ 3-8
@ Seahawks 10-1

Coming off their bye week the Rams (5-6) picked up where they left off smacking around the Bears (6-5) 21-42. Though it may be a long shot, with upcoming games against division rivals 49ers and Cardinals, the last spot in the playoffs still isn’t out of reach. A very, very long reach. Going 4 of 5 with a loss to Seattle and finishing (9-7) just might be enough considering how bad the rest of the NFC divisions are playing though I doubt the Cardinals will finish below (10-6).

They travel to San Francisco who will be coming off a Monday Night game and have an excellent chance to improve their post season chances. Or, if anything, have an excellent chance to spoil a playoff spot for their rival 49ers. Go Rams!

49ers (6-4) week 9 Bye
@ Redskins 3-7
Rams @ 5-6
Seahawks @ 10-1
@ Buccaneers 3-8
Falcons @ 2-9
@ Cardinals 7-4

Is it just me or did all the crazy crap in the NFL start in week 6 with the Rams beating down the Texans 38-13. Since then the Buccaneers are on a 3 game win streak, Giants 4, Panthers 7, and even the Jaguars have won 2. I only bring this up because in the NFL this year the coin toss keeps coming up heads against the odds and hopefully it’s Washington’s turn. Meaning of course that they pulled off the Monday Night win and San Francisco drops to 6-5.

Even if they didn’t and the 49ers (7-4) slip back up into the NFC Playoff 6th seed spot the rest of the season will still be a battle. After traveling all the way across town to D.C. they will host the Rams in a divisional game that the 49ers need to win. With the Cardinals breathing down their neck and a schedule favoring the Bears or Packers for their wild card spot the 49ers grip on the post season still isn’t secure. Go Redskins!

Seahawks (10-1) week 12 Bye
Saints @ 9-2
@ 49ers 6-4*
@ Giants 4-7
Cardinals @ 7-4
Rams @ 5-6

The bye weeks are over and the final 5 week stretch has begun. All teams now have an 11 game win/loss record* and the Seahawks start the stretch sitting atop the entire NFL at (10-1). Does it really get any better than this? The answer is yes, it can, with a win at home this next Monday Night against the Saints.

The injury report has Browner out, possibly for the rest of the season. Add to that his replacement, Thurmond, is starting a 4 game suspension now rather than contest and miss more games. He won’t be back until the last game of the regular season when we host the Rams. Other than that though things are looking up.

We have a starting offensive line again and Lynch has had time to rest up. Harvin will have 2 weeks of practice after an NFL start and Kearse will be back at WR after missing the Vikings game. And if we really start to struggle at cornerback then Russel Wilson could just play this game on both sides of the ball while filling in for Browner on defense.

Ok, so the Wilson thing probably won’t happen but this will hopefully give Sherman something to do. The last few games has got to have the guy chomping at the bit now that NFL quarterbacks no longer throw the ball his way. Playing his position while helping cover a depleted corner position should see Sherman doing something more than running laps for four quarters. Richard Sherman is the best cornerback in the NFL right now and the lack of highlights from a position he has totally shut down really speaks louder than bold headlines. Hopefully being under the radar lately will tempt Brees to throw his way.

Back in week 6 I already picked Seattle to win at home with the #1 spot in the NFC on the line and nothing has changed my outlook. Traveling to the Pacific Northwest and facing the 12th Man is the dread of the entire NFL. I love when announcers have to yell over the crowd noise to be heard through their booth mics and you can bet the volume will be turned up to 12 this Monday. Even with a loss Seattle can still get top seed and home field but it will be so much more easier if they stomp all over the Saints.

Here’s me cheering on a 100 yard game for Lynch and the offensive line to go with an Earl Thomas pick six. Go Seahawks!

* notes monday night 49ers @ Redskins game

The West Report
The opinions expressed in The West Report are the author’s own. Feel free to repost or share, we just ask you credit or link to this article as a source.

Week 11: Seahawks & NFC West

November 12, 2013

After a win in Atlanta the Seahawks (9-1) return home to host the Vikings (2-7) this Sunday in a tale of two tired teams.

For the Vikings, this will be the third away game in a stretch of six played since their week 5 Bye. Last week was a short one for them following a win during Thursday Night and the current ten day break couldn’t have come at a better time. Heading into Seattle to face the 12th Man is the dread of the entire NFC right now even without a depleted roster.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ponder starting as QB for the Vikings after dislocating his non-throwing shoulder last week against the Redskins. It’s a safe bet that this Sunday @ Seattle the arm will still be sore even if he does start. However at (2-7) and with two other eligible QBs I wonder if Minnesota will want to.

The Vikings still have 7 games left to play without a break left in the regular season. Even if Minnesota is sticking with Ponder, who has been out-thrown in pass yardage by opponents during every game this year, they only need look at their previous opponents the Redskins and Griffin III for reason not to start an injured QB too soon. They have nine days to prepare both Freeman and Cassel for a one game start with your starter still there in case things get real ugly.

Who knows? Along with players getting healthy and returning to the line, starting a backup QB that the Seahawks haven’t been preparing for might give the visiting Vikings a much needed edge.

For the Seahawks, week 11 will only be their third home game dating back to September 22nd. As a fan it really seems much longer than that. It will also be their 11th regular season game in a row on a schedule that has already seen Monday, Thursday and Sunday night games. With another Monday night against the Saints December 2nd still to go. Needless to say the upcoming week 12 – Bye is going to be a much welcomed break.

The trouble currently facing Seattle is the need to go through the Vikings to get there. The remaining Seahawks schedule;

Vikings @ 2-7
– Bye – week 12
Saints @ 7-2
@ 49ers 6-3
@ Giants 3-6
Cardinals @ 5-4
Rams @ 4-6

An injury list that now includes Browner is still too long for the Seahawks but Okung, Giacomini, Unger, Bryant, Harvin and Lynch are all expected to practice this week.

With Lynch, himself coming off an injury (hip) and listed during week 10 with another (knee), I kind of hope to see more of Turbin and Michael if Seattle has the game in hand. Keeping Lynch rested and healthy once the guy finally has a stable line blocking and opening lanes I believe is key. Even if our injured starters miss Vikings @ this Sunday I can’t wait to see Beastmode unleashed against the Saints on Monday Night after practicing for 3 weeks behind roughly the same line.

And about Harvin, who hasn’t played a single game this year and the Seahawks being (9-1). With a Bye week approaching and two additional weeks of practice before the Monday Night Saints, why start him now? See above about starting injured players too soon. And against his previous team? Just one more unneeded distraction for a player many in Seattle have big expectations of. I say increase his practice time and debut him on Monday Night.

But hey, that decision is in Carroll’s more than capable hands. If this season has shown anything about the coach it has been his mastery of the depth chart. The fact that the Seahawks rush offense is ranked 2nd in the NFL behind an O-line playing musical injury chairs is nothing short of remarkable.

If we all really need a human interest story, rather than Harvin how about prior Seahawk John Carlson? You know, the Viking who led his team last week with seven catches for 98 yards and a touchdown against the Redskins? Personally I hope he has a great game @ Seattle, just not a winning one of course.

The rest of the NFC West;

Cardinals (5-4) week 9 Bye

@ Jaguars 1-8
Colts @ 6-3
@ Eagles 5-5
Rams @ 4-6
@ Titans 4-5
@ Seahawks 9-1
49ers @ 6-3

Arizona is down but not out. Playing this week @ Jaguars (1-8) the Cardinals have an excellent chance to put the pressure on their divisional rivals with a win. The NFC West right now is the best division in the conference and wild-card spots for the playoffs are still up in the air. A win this Sunday not only moves the Cardinals two games above the Rams (4-6), but with a loss by the 49ers would tie the two rivals at (6-4) with a possible tie breaker to end the season with 49ers @ Cardinals.

Rams (4-6) week 11 Bye

– Bye – week 11
Bears @ 5-4
@ 49ers 6-3
@ Cardinals 5-4
Saints @ 7-2
Buccaneers @ 1-8
@ Seahawks 9-1

Following a victory @ Colts, that was stunning to everyone but the Seahawks, the Rams head into a much deserved week off. Two weeks of practice for their new starting QB following a win on the road might just be what this team needed. Considering my Seahawks have a 5 game lead in the NFC West along with the Bye I’ll be cheering on the Rams during week 12 when they host Chicago.

49ers (6-3) week 9 bye

@ Saints 7-2
@ Redskins 3-6
Rams @ 4-6
Seahawks @ 9-1
@ Buccaneers 1-8
Falcons @ 2-7
@ Cardinals 5-4

I find myself torn as the 49ers travel to the Saints for their week 11 game.

On one hand I would like to see the 49ers win @ Saints. This would create a possible 3-way tie for second best record in the NFC with the 49ers, Saints and Lions all at (7-3) while the Seahawks sit atop at (10-1) following a victory at home.

On the other hand a loss by the 49ers drops them into a possible tie for 2nd place in the NFC West with the Cardinals at (6-4). For reasons I won’t bother listing to explain that just makes me start laughing every time I think about it. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Since hoping both teams rack up injuries against each other before ending the game in a tie isn’t really an option then it comes down to playoff considerations for my Seahawks. From that point of view week 11 will see me cheering on the Saints of all teams and placing my hopes on the Panthers and Rams to slow New Orleans down instead. The enemy of my enemy and all that.

Go Cardinals!


The West Report
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