It’s interesting, because last weekend through arguably yesterday, everything the Seahawks needed to have happen has gone according to the script you’d want to see. I mean, let’s go through the list:
- Seahawks beat Packers on Thursday
- Dallas beat Atlanta to knock them down a peg
- Detroit beat Carolina
- Houston beat Washington
- New Orleans beat Philly
- Chicago beat Minnesota
- Chicago beat Detroit
- New Orleans beat Atlanta to knock them down another peg
The only thing you could argue isn’t so great is Dallas beating Washington yesterday, but that could really go either way. At this point, the Cowboys are leading the NFC East, which means our victory over them doesn’t do a whole lot for our wild card situation. My thinking is the Redskins without Alex Smith are toast, so ideally we’d keep pace with Dallas, and someone like Philly would surpass them for the division. But, who knows? Maybe Dallas is just really good now, and with their schedule being relatively easy the rest of the way (3 of 5 at home, including the Saints, Eagles, and Bucs; with their road games being at Indy & the Giants), maybe they go 3-2 or 4-1 and finish with a better record than us anyway.
That’s not really the point here, which is that our season really hinges on this game against the Panthers on Sunday. If we win, we improve to 6-5, pass them with a tie-breaker, and if the Packers beat the Vikings, we’d soar past both of those teams as well. Then, it’s only a matter of the Redskins continuing to spiral before we worm our way into the wild card spot.
If we lose, then we drop to 5-6, Carolina improves to 7-4, and they hold the tie-breaker over us. Depending on what Philly does, we could possibly fall to 10th in the NFC. Not good.
Now, obviously, our schedule eases up quite a bit the rest of the way. 4 of our last 5 at home, with three games against the 49ers and Cardinals. We’d also host the Vikings to try to get past them, and I dunno, maybe we win a miracle game over the Chiefs to get to 10 wins the hard way. Or, failing that, we’re mired at 9-7 and need some help.
I don’t want to get too into the whole scenario with all the viable teams, but suffice it to say, the Seahawks could make it A LOT easier on themselves if they just win on Sunday and go forward with the confidence that only winning a game in Carolina can give you.
But … when have the Seahawks EVER made things easy on themselves?
I’ve been poo-pooing the Seahawks’ chances a lot lately, to the point where now it feels like I’m trying to reverse-jinx them with every blog post. It’s just that this team is so hard to read! One week, they look really strong, then I get my hopes up and they lay an egg.
If I just go by my gut on this one, Carolina FEELS like the better team. They’re at home, which is always a plus, and I think if any team could sneak up on us and stop our rushing attack, it would be the team led by one of the best middle linebackers in football in Luke Kuechly. I also think that their offense – with Norv Turner at the helm – is really dynamic and poses a lot of challenges.
The Seahawks don’t stop the run very well. Carolina has one of the best rushing quarterbacks in the game. They’ve also got a gadget running back in Christian McCaffrey who does it all. He could make things miserable for the linebackers who try to cover him, just as he could dominate through the gaping holes our D-Line gives up on the reg.
Carolina also has a lot of dynamic pieces in the passing game. Greg Olsen, again, is a guy who can expose even our athletic linebackers. D.J. Moore is an up-and-comer. Devin Funchess has a terrific catch radius. They’re a team that loves play-action and we’re a team that falls for it more than it’s supposed to. We’re susceptible to the big play and Carolina thrives on it!
I think a lot of Seahawks fans are expecting one of those traditional Seattle/Carolina slugfests with a score like 12-10 or something. I fear this could venture into the shootout territory, and if we’re not careful with the football, possibly even a blowout.
For the Seahawks to win, they’re going to have to do all the things they usually do in Seahawks wins. Limit turnovers, get after the quarterback, be good on 3rd down while limiting the other team’s. Pretty standard fare. I don’t think we’ll stop them from moving the ball, and if I had to guess, I’d say this will look a lot closer to a Seahawks/Rams game than, I dunno, a Seahawks/Cardinals game. High scoring, back-and-forth, with the team holding the ball last winning the game (or, at least, having a chance to win it).
My guess its it’s Carolina 31, Seahawks 24. I think there are better days ahead, but I’m finding it really hard to see the Seahawks finishing this one.