Seeing is usually believing, because just believing can be deceiving (my name is M.C. Renob and I’m here to say …).
I don’t want to be sucked into this thing, is my point. For starters, the Seahawks have already lost two games (Broncos & Bears) that they probably should’ve won. At the VERY least, the Seahawks should’ve gone 1-1 in those games (history will prove that this year’s Broncos team is fucking trash), but because we played them on the road, we biffed it. Now, at 2-3, we’re playing considerably better than we were a month ago, but we’re severely behind the 8-ball, and we’re going to be without our best defensive player in Earl Thomas.
Winning the division is out, which is a bummer to consider just 6 weeks into the season, but the Rams are the Rams and we’re not. Nevertheless, last week’s game proved we can at least HANG with the Rams (albeit at home), and that game next month down in L.A. will be even more informative (because all NFC roads appear to be going through there in the playoffs).
I’ve been on the 8-8 train all along, and I’m not quite ready to jump onto the bandwagon just yet, but after last week’s hard-fought defeat, I have to ask: could the Seahawks ACTUALLY be good?
This is the team we all expected heading into the season: smashmouth, run-first on offense; quality against the run on defense, better than expected in the secondary, with a highly suspect pass rush. The fact that it took us 2 weeks (and 2 losses) to figure it out is pretty frustrating, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is, the blueprint is being followed, and the last three weeks the Seahawks have looked much better. What does that mean going forward?
Well, for starters, this game in London is a Must Win. The Raiders are bad, and you have to beat them if you expect to make the playoffs.
Fortunately, their defense is pretty crappy, so we should have no trouble running on them. We should furthermore have no trouble throwing on them, as they traded away their one and only pass rushing asset in the offseason. So, if we struggle on 3rd downs, or otherwise can’t move the ball against them, then that’s a REAL problem and I just don’t want to get into that right now.
The question becomes: can our defense stop that Raiders offensive attack? I don’t see why not. For starters, they have Tom Cable running their O-Line, so even our weak-ass pass rush should be able to do SOMETHING, right? Beastmode is legit, so he’ll get his, and I tend to like Derek Carr more than most (as long as I’m not counting on him for fantasy purposes) and think he’ll have no problem carving up our defense. The problem for the Raiders, as I see it, is all the mistakes. Carr throws too many interceptions – and really boneheaded ones to boot – to be a dependable quarterback in this league. The Raiders, quite frankly, should look a lot more like the Seahawks on offense, except Russell Wilson knows how to take care of the football, and Derek Carr is reckless.
The Raiders will keep it close – and probably even win – if Carr plays a clean game. The Seahawks likely will need a 2-turnover edge in the ol’ +/- to really put this one away like they should. If the Seahawks move the ball well on offense, convert in the red zone (and don’t leave it up to our hit-or-miss kicker), and get a couple picks early, I think this could be a laugher by halftime (with Carr maybe getting some garbage points late in the game).
Not for nothing, but I think Seahawks fans are going to travel MUCH harder for this one, and their presence will be noticed on the broadcast.
The rest of this blog post gets thrown out the window if the Seahawks lose on Sunday, so let’s just assume we take care of business.
At 3-3, the Seahawks will head home and enjoy their BYE week. We’ll use that extra week to try to figure out a way to slow down the Detroit offense. Like with most of these games, the Seahawks and the Lions are pretty equal (I’d argue maybe the Lions are a little bit better on paper); with the game being in Detroit, I’d expect the Lions to be favored by a minimum of 3.5 points, all the way up to maybe 5 or 5.5 (assuming the Lions get to 3-3 heading into this showdown). That’s probably a game the Seahawks need to win to be a wild card team (as it’s an NFC opponent, and one that figures to also be in the wild card hunt), and it’s not totally unreasonable that the Seahawks would pull it off. Honestly, the Lions feel pretty similar to the Raiders, except Oakland has a better run game.
Then, the Seahawks catch the Chargers at home before going on the road to play the Rams. I never like the Seahawks’ chances when playing the Chargers – because I think their offense is the most adept at picking us apart – but getting them in Seattle is a big help (as evidenced by our performance against the Rams). To make the wild card, the Seahawks probably HAVE to win that one, because I can’t see us beating the Rams.
That would get us to 5-4 heading into another tough stretch. We host the Packers on Thursday night. They don’t look nearly as good as they’ve looked in recent seasons, and that’s yet another game we have to win. Playing the Panthers on the road is never ideal, but that’s also not an elite team, and I think we actually match up with them pretty well. Even if we go 1-1 against these two teams, things open up from there.
We close out with 4/5 at home. In that stretch, we play a pretty hapless 49ers team twice, and the Cardinals once. We HAVE to win those three. That gets us to 9 wins. We also get the Vikings at home, and they don’t look anywhere CLOSE to how good they were in 2017, so that should be another win. That’s 10. Finally, in week 16, we host the Chiefs (our season closes at home against the aforementioned Cards). You never know how the season is gonna go, but the Chiefs could very well have their division clinched, and maybe even home field throughout the playoffs. I mean, the AFC looks pretty soft, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they’re 12-2 at that point and just sort of going through the motions. Are they going to go all out in a road game in nasty-weather Seattle? Or, are they going to ease off the throttle and save it for a home game in week 17 against the Raiders?
I’m just saying, there’s a path to getting to 10-11 wins, and it doesn’t involve the Seahawks playing out of their minds. It does, however, require this team to improve as the season goes on (as well as not losing too many more significant stars).
The Seahawks are already getting better-than-expected production out of Tre Flowers, Bradley McDougald, their entire running back room, and their offensive line. They’re getting predictably good production from their quarterback, middle linebacker, Frank Clark, Tyler Lockett, Shquill Griffin, and their interior run-stuffing tackles. They’ll hopefully get K.J. Wright and Doug Baldwin back to some semblance of full strength.
What we need to see is a guy or two step up from a pass rush standpoint. We need Frank Clark to go from good to GREAT. We need Dion Jordan to do literally anything. We need Rasheem Green to get back on the field and give us something comparable to what Tre Flowers is doing for our secondary. Or, we just need one of those other D-Linemen to come from out of nowhere and really surprise us, even if it’s unsustainable for the long term.
We also need someone to step into that Earl Thomas role and give us just 75% of what he was. That means Tedric Thompson, improving his tackling, improving his angles in coverage, and making opportune plays (picks, tipped passes, forced fumbles). There’s no magical fix coming; it has to come from within.
This season can be like the 2011 Seahawks or the 2012 Seahawks. Recall the 2011 team went 7-9 and was still a year-plus away from really contending. Whereas the 2012 team APPEARED to be a year-plus away, but got steadily better until it was steamrolling opponents by season’s end, and came within 30 seconds of getting to the NFC Championship Game.
How will this year go? Well, a lot of it has to do with what happens the next two games. It all starts in London on Sunday. Can’t shit the bed there, or this season will REALLY go south in a hurry.