Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers NFL Free Pick for Week 14

Seattle Seahawks
(6-6, 6-6 ATS)

San Francisco 49ers
(4-8, 4-8 ATS)

At the outset of the season, everyone expected to see the San Francisco 49ers win the NFC West with ease, as the rest of the division really shouldn’t have proven to give that much of a challenge. The latter part of that statement was right, but San Fran has been a total mess all season long. If it can beat the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday though, its season will at least maintain its pulse. If not, it’s going to be a long, long offseason for a team that has a lot of questions to answer.

For two and a half games, the Seahawks looked absolutely brutal, getting crippled by the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs. They gave up the first 14 points to the Carolina Panthers as well, and were booed off of their home turf last Sunday at halftime. That was just the spark that the team needed. Seattle rolled off the final 31 points of the game to beat arguably the worst team in the NFL by a comfortable 17 point margin, and the hope is that that momentum can carry through to the duel that could help decide the NFC West on Sunday. Seattle knows that it has a great chance to eliminate the Niners and get a leg up on the St. Louis Rams, who are travel to the Superdome to take on the defending champs in Week 14. QB Matt Hasselbeck is only leading an offense that ranks No. 28 in the league though, at 305.3 yards per game. The ‘D’ isn’t doing significantly better, conceding 389.3 yards and 24.1 points per game. Something has to get sparked in either the defense or special teams category for scoring, but this is something that has occurred with some regularity and seems to happen quite a bit on the road.

The quarterback carousel continued to turn this week in San Fran, which isn’t something that you expect to hear from a contending team with just four games left in the season. QB Troy Smith is now off of the ride, while QB Alex Smith is back in the saddle. The former Utah Ute missed a few games due to injury, but even healthy last week, he was held out in favor of the Ohio State Buckeye. To his credit, the younger Smith did lead the team to three wins in his starts, but the elder clearly is the better quarterback and gives this squad its best chance to win games. The difference between this time around for Smith and when he started the season is that RB Frank Gore isn’t going to be behind him in the backfield. RBs Anthony Dixon and Brian Westbrook are going to be carrying the load once again this week after a dreadful game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field last weekend. The ‘D’, though shoddy at times, has some decent numbers on its side. Averaging allowing 324.6 yards per game is a respectable No. 11 in the league, while 21.6 points per game allowed isn’t as bad as it seems when you consider the fact that these guys were just whacked around by the Pack last weekend.

We love Seattle in this spot, not so much for what the Seahawks are doing, but for what the Niners aren’t. Every time you think this team has made a stride in the right direction, it takes two backwards. This will be the final straw on Sunday. Seattle rides the wave of momentum from that huge second half against Carolina to an upset at Candlestick Park.

NFL Free Pick: Seattle Seahawks +5.5

Bush calls for compassionate society; The president speaks to graduates at Concordia University Wisconsin

Telegraph – Herald (Dubuque) May 15, 2004 | ASSOCIATED PRESS MEQUON (AP) – In a ceremony steeped in religion, President Bush called on graduates of Concordia University Wisconsin Friday to help build a compassionate society, one person at a time. go to web site concordia university wisconsin

Bush, with repeated references to God, drew from his “compassionate conservative” agenda and asked the 479 graduates of the largest Lutheran university in North America to use their talents to help others.

“America needs your idealism to show the good heart of our country to the whole world. A compassionate society sees needs and suffering beyond its borders and cares enough to act,” Bush told a packed field house.

“Many of us find there is much more to life than getting and keeping,” Bush told graduates of a school in which approximately 25 percent of students are involved in church work programs.

“Instead of ignoring or resenting religious charities and faith- based groups, this country will encourage these good works in every way we can,” he said.

Bush reiterated his desire to expand the role of churches and religious charities in government, a move that has troubled some members of Congress who are concerned the government could wind up paying for religion.

Bush referred to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad when making his point about the contributions one individual can make.

The events in Iraq might seem remote or beyond one’s control, Bush said.

“Yet we’ve recently seen how much difference, for good or ill, the choices of individual men and women can make,” the president said. “In Iraq the cruelty of a few has brought discredit to their uniform and embarrassment to our country,” Bush recognized the six Concordia graduates who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Dennis J. Slagle wore his uniform to the commencement ceremony. go to web site concordia university wisconsin

Slagle, 47, of Milwaukee, said it was an honor to have his commander-in-chief speak at his graduation, yet he said he was disturbed by the events at Abu Ghraib, once the site of executions and torture under Saddam Hussein’s regime.

“We’re over there on a humanitarian mission, yet we’re doing the same things that Saddam did to his people,” Slagle said.

A crowd of several thousand cheered the president with several standing ovations, and the university gave Bush an honorary doctorate of laws degree, which recognizes service to the church, community, state or nation.

When he arrived at Mitchell International Airport, the president shook the hand of Concordia junior Rebecca Haupt, who is chairperson of the university’s Volunteer Outreach in Christian Enthusiasm, which organizes volunteers for work in the community.

Haupt said Bush deserves thanks for encouraging people to volunteer.

“That he’s made that a priority means a lot to me,” Haupt said.

Protesters braved a steady rain to line the route of the presidential motorcade in Mequon.

Mary Devitt, of Glendale, stood at a busy intersection near Concordia with a sign that read “America: Wake up and Smell the Catastrophe,” in reference to the Iraqi conflict.

“I’m ashamed to be an American,” Devitt said, “I’m sorry that my tax money is being used for something I don’t believe in.” Several dozen demonstrators rallied outside in the rain about a half mile down the road from the small liberal arts university, set on the shores of Lake Michigan.

“Fire Rumsfeld” said one sign. Another simply read “Get Out.” Concordia, affiliated with The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, was founded in 1881 as a college to train pastors. In 1965, it began accepting women focused on becoming teachers, deaconesses or social workers. It became a four-year college in 1978 and was granted university status in 1989.


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