I don’t know why, but this season just has a feeling like it could’ve been special. Even though the schedule – on paper – has a lot of tough games on it, it’s hard to not like the way it shakes out.
After so many God-foresaken times we’ve had to travel to fucking Dallas, Texas, this time we get the Cowboys coming out west. With the home field advantage, that turns what would normally be a Dallas rout into a pick ’em contest (see: the Giants game last year; we never would have won that game in New Jersey). AND, not only do we get Green Bay at home (another tip of the cap to the 12th Man), but we get them on Monday night. I don’t have an exact record for the Seahawks in Monday (or just night) games, but for some reason I have a feeling that we’re especially good under the cover of darkness. We really seem to gear up for these games. Finally, probably the best of our non-divisional matchups – New England – is also at home! Three of our toughest non-divisional games are at CenturyLink. How often do the scheduling gods shine upon us this well?
To round out our non-divisional home schedule, we have games against Minnesota and the Jets in the two weeks before our BYE week in the middle of November. Those teams … SHOULD be pushovers!
Obviously, in an ideal world, you want the Seahawks to win all their games. In a slightly less ideal world, you want the Seahawks to at least win all their HOME games. Failing that – because I think that’s highly unlikely – I’d like to see the Seahawks go 6-2 at home.
That means beating Arizona, St. Louis, Minnesota, New York, and two of the three between Dallas, Green Bay, and New England (I’m writing off the juggernaut 49ers because I just don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in Hell, even if the game is in Week 16 where they will SURELY have clinched the #1 seed in the playoffs).
I think we can do it. I definitely think it’s POSSIBLE. I feel very highly about our chances to take down the Cowboys this Sunday, and I like us every time we play on Monday Night, no matter the opponent. I think that’s one where we can sneak up on Green Bay and pull it out at the last second.
Of course, I’d be more confident in our chances were this Russell Wilson’s third or fourth season.
I believe Russell Wilson will be great. I’m just going to go ahead and finish this glass of Kool Aid I’ve got cooling on the window sill. I believe Russell Wilson WILL be great … but that’s in future tense. He’s not great now. The jury is out on whether he’s even GOOD now. But, these are important games he’s playing as a rookie. He’s getting experience he will one day lean on when he’s got the hang of this thing called NFL Football. When he’s used to the speed of the game. When he’s developed a proper rapport with his receivers. In three or four years, all these footballs he’s throwing high and wide of the out-stretched arms of his diving receivers … they’ll be lasered into the perfect spot not just for a completion, but for significant Yards After Catch.
In the meantime, we have to make due with growing pains. Which, like I said, is too bad. Because I do think the defense is poised for greatness. But, this isn’t one of those defenses like the ’85 Bears. This is one of those defenses like the 2010 Packers, or like the 2007 Patriots. These defenses really need a lead to thrive. They need their offenses to jump out to a 14-3 lead, so then they can really unleash a swarming series of blitzes, so they can attack other teams’ receivers with impunity and pick off these passes. They turn games into routs with late Pick-Sixes.
But, they tend to struggle when things remain close throughout the game. Or, especially when they’re behind.
If Russell Wilson were in his third or fourth year, he’d be at that elite level where our offense is beating other defenses like a drum (even with the so-so receivers we’ve got now). With this rushing attack, forget about it. These Seahawks are merely a quarterback away from serious Super Bowl contention (forget what The Sports Guy has to say).
With an elite-level quarterback, it wouldn’t be out of the question to go 8-0 at home. It wouldn’t be out of the question to contend with the 49ers for the NFC West. It wouldn’t even be a question to expect a #1 seed in the NFC! With a rookie, soon-to-be-elite quarterback, it very much is out of the question. The best I can give this team is 6-2 at home. And I think they’ll get it done.
On the road, it’s another matter.
For starters, we’re already 0-1. Our next two road games are at St. Louis and at Carolina. My gut tells me we go 1-1 in those games. My head tells me, it’s not the 1-1 you’re thinking about. KILL ME, I don’t hate St. Louis! I think they’re tired of being our whipping boys, I think they’re fired up by their new head coach Jeff Fisher, I think their defense is stout (or, at least, stout-enough to stop our offense), and I’m not ready to give up on Sam Bradford just yet (though, I do still enjoy mocking him and rooting against him and HOPING he’s another in a long-line of #1 quarterback busts). I think the Rams steal this game just like the Cards stole the game last week. But, I also think Carolina is super-overrated. I think we definitely have what it takes to keep Cam Newton in check. I think we can bully their receivers and keep their offense under 20 points. I’m predicting a 28-17
drubbing solid victory with some timely turnovers at the end to seal the deal.
Then, after a home date with New England, we’re back on the road for two more. San Francisco and Detroit. Just … just forget about San Francisco right now. I know it’s a Thursday game and on any given
Sunday Thursday anything can happen, but just STOP IT! We’re not going into San Francisco and beating the 49ers. In fact, I think they completely run us off the road (not literally, of course, but they will be able to move the ball at will). 38-10, mark it. And also mark it that they won’t score all 38 points on offense. Expect at least two touchdowns from the 49ers either from their defense or special teams (maybe not directly, but with long returns to the red zone). As for Detroit, the good news is we get 10 days to try to figure out how to stop them. The bad news is, they still have Calvin Johnson and there’s no way we stop them with Calvin Johnson. This is where we really question whether or not our defense is as good as advertised, as we give up another over-30 game and lose 31-24.
So, here we are, at the BYE week, with a 5-5 record. Plenty would have written us off after the Detroit game, but with the two home cupcakes we’re right back in the thick of things. Here’s where things get a little hairy.
At Miami and At Chicago. On paper, we know Miami’s a joke. But, at this point you have to honestly wonder: will Tannehill still be starting? My gut tells me, probably not. As the Dolphins will likely be 0-10 at this point, I have to think even if Tannehill’s not injured, they’d have to sit him for his psyche alone. And Matt Moore, in case you didn’t know, isn’t exactly a pushover. This has Trap Game written all over it. I think we lose this game and follow that up with a loss the next week in Chicago.
That brings us back for a home game against Arizona and a road game at Buffalo. I’ve already got the ‘Zona game as a win, and I think we bounce back and take down the Bills as well. That puts us at 7-7 with the final two games at home against the 49ers and Rams.
Essentially, that puts us at 8-8, which is sort of in line with what I said yesterday. It’s hard to justify that 9th win, unless the 49ers get killed by injuries (fingers crossed!). Still, 8-8’s an improvement over last year, we win some games we probably shouldn’t win, and we lose some games we probably shouldn’t lose. Russell Wilson gets some valuable experience, and we all walk away looking forward to next year.
For the record, I desperately wanted this team to be 9-7 before the season started, and a big part of that was winning in Arizona in week 1. Starting out 0-1 and expecting this team to still get to a winning record just isn’t realistic. Prove me wrong, Seahawks! Prove me wrong!