Talking Points: Welcome back, Raul Ibanez

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Sunday night, during the Seahawks' drubbing of the 49ers, the announcers mentioned how Seattle is considered the Bulgaria of professional sports in America, isolated by distance from most of the country.

That's why Talking Points welcomes Raul Ibañez back to the Mariners, even if he is 40 and hit only .240 for the Yankees in a part-time role.

Ibañez wants to be in Seattle. He is remodeling a home he owns in Sammamish and had planned to move his family back to the Seattle area full-time in 2013 regardless of where he wound up playing.

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Turning to the Seahawks, most NFL power rankings have them up to No. 5 or No. 6 after the win over San Francisco. Bleacherreport.com slots them at No. 6 behind, in order, Denver, New England, San Francisco, Green Bay and Atlanta.

Here's what the website's Matt Miller says about the Seahawks: "Yes, they dominated the 49ers, fair and square. They also lost to the 49ers in Week 7. There's no doubting that the Seahawks are unbeatable at home, and Russell Wilson is becoming one of the most dangerous players in the NFL, but how will they look on the road to open the playoffs?

Barring a San Francisco loss to the Arizona Cardinals, we'll find out in two weeks. The Seahawks have managed to win on the road this year--in Carolina, Toronto (Bills) and Chicago. Not exactly a murderers row of teams, but an improvement over recent years. 

I like Seattle. I love the way Pete Carroll's team plays. I don't love their playoff chances on the road.''

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And at the other end of the NFL power rankings are the Tennessee Titans at No. 26. After one injury-interrupted season as a starter, Jake Locker's abilities at quarterback are being questioned.

Bleacherreport's Miller says the following about the former Husky:

"Hard questions must be asked in the offseason. Namely, is Jake Locker the quarterback to lead this team into the future? .... Injuries haven't helped, but there is enough talent around Locker that he wasn't asked to do exceptional things--which is good, because he didn't. 

"Locker was a first-round draft pick for a reason, and he's definitely talented, but for reasons that may be on Locker and may be on the coaching staff--or both--things aren't working out as planned."