The fun thing about Monday Night Football games is that I get an extra post to dick around with before making my official prediction on gameday. So, let’s take a broad look at the Seahawks, a little over halfway through the season.
The Seahawks are 7-2 after nine games. If you’d told me heading into the season that we’d be 7-2 at this point, I would’ve shown you my pre-season prediction post and told you this is EXACTLY where I expected the Seahawks to be. I didn’t get it 100% right – I had us beating Baltimore at home, for instance – but this is in line with my thought process.
What has me absolutely floored – and a little depressed – is the fact that the 49ers are undefeated at 8-0 (the last undefeated team in the league). My worst nightmare – after having to settle for a 5-seed in the playoffs last year, only to lose in Dallas in the first round – was to once again settle for a 5-seed in the playoffs this year, only to have to go to Dallas yet AGAIN. I mean, let’s face it, we beat Dallas last year in the regular season, so we should’ve held the tiebreaker and at least gotten to host them in the playoffs; but that’s not how the NFL rolls. You win a division, you get a home game, no ifs, ands, or buts.
It’s depressing because I do think the Seahawks can get to 12-4 if everything continues to break right. We’d have to go 5-2 the rest of the way, which is do-able if we split against Frisco and beat the Eagles, Vikings, Cardinals, and Panthers.
The problem is, if we don’t beat the 49ers twice, we might not have a prayer of surpassing them.
I’m not here to lament their easier schedule. Schedules are boiled down to a difference of two games when you’re in the same division. With our second place finish last year, we were saddled with the Vikings and Eagles; the 49ers enjoy the Redskins and Packers. TBH, I’d rather face the Vikings over the Packers, all things considered. And nothing about the Eagles (especially their secondary) scares me; they’re not as inept as the Redskins, but they’re not remarkably superior either.
I would argue both the Seahawks and 49ers have had it relatively easy so far through the midway point. So, let’s look at the 49ers’ schedule the rest of the way and see where some potential pitfalls lie.
Five of their remaining eight games are at home. So, that’s nuts. They have to face us twice, and both contests should be really tough and fun to watch.
They host the Cardinals and Falcons; both should be easy 49ers victories; that puts them at 10 wins.
They also host the Packers, which is good for them. However, what’s not good for them is Aaron Rodgers is from the area, and he loves going home and sticking it to the team that took Alex Smith over him in the draft. If the Seahawks fail to take care of business on Monday, I think this will for sure be their first loss of the season.
The really big games for them are back-to-back road games, at Baltimore and at New Orleans in the first two weekends in December. With the Packers game happening the week before, that’s a 3-week stretch where the Seahawks probably need them to lose all three. While it’s certainly possible, I have my doubts that it’ll actually happen.
After that tepid Falcons game, they host the Rams, which is another possible defeat. I’m nowhere near close to burying the Rams in spite of their little slip-up earlier this season. I do think – between the Packers, Ravens, Saints, and Rams – there are 3 defeats in that window, which would be good news for the Seahawks.
The bad news – spoiler alert – is that I think the Seahawks will lose to the 49ers on Monday. That will make us 7-3, and if everything shakes out the way I’m expecting it to for the 49ers (3 losses in those aforementioned 4 games), that means we would need to win out the rest of the way. @ Eagles, vs. Vikings, @ Rams, @ Panthers, vs. Cardinals. If that comes to pass, then it’s a Week 17 showdown in Seattle against the 49ers for the division.
I just don’t think that’s too likely. What’s likelier is the Seahawks lose one of those games and end up 11-4 heading into Week 17. If the 49ers are 12-3 at the same time, then it’s going to boil down to us sweeping the Rams this year, while the Rams take out the 49ers in Santa Clara. In this scenario, with both teams at 12-4 (assuming the Seahawks take care of business in the final week), we’d have the same divisional record, and we’d also need the Packers and Saints to beat the 49ers for us, to ensure we’re their 4th conference loss in that ultimate tiebreaker.
As I’ll go into on Monday, this game this week might be as close to a must-win as it gets, if we want to keep up in the race for the NFC West title. Otherwise, we might be too far gone, and once again looking to advance through a Wild Card berth.
So, let’s get back to the subject of this post: are the Seahawks actually good? Or, are we deluding ourselves with this remarkable record through nine games?
I still don’t have a great read on the Seahawks, other than the obvious:
Russell Wilson = Good
Defense = Bad
The two losses are to the two best teams we’ve played this year: the Saints and Ravens. The narrow victories over the Bengals, Browns, Falcons, and Bucs don’t look very good, in that we REALLY struggled to get those wins. The win over the Steelers looks better by the week, as they’ve clawed their way to .500; our best win was at home against the Rams, and we were maybe a couple feet away from losing on a last-second field goal.
The meat of our schedule is still ahead of us; I think I heard somewhere that we have the most difficult remaining schedule of anyone in the NFL. As I’ve discussed above, I think 12-4 is on the table. There could even be an outside shot at 13-3 if we’re unsustainably lucky over the final seven games.
But, this defense. God damn this defense is awful. We should nevertheless be good enough to at least beat the Eagles, Vikings, Panthers, and Cardinals, but none of those games are sure things. All of those teams have solid offenses who will have no trouble moving the ball on us; most or all of those games will probably come down to whoever has the ball last. I’d also say the Rams game is still a coin flip, even though it’s in Los Angeles; our offense matches up pretty well with their defense and has shown that over the last three games against them.
What worries me is this very 49ers team, which I’ll get into on Monday. I think they’re just flat out better than us. I think their defensive line is going to be the biggest problem we’ll face the rest of the season; their secondary is much improved. As a whole, I think these will be the types of games we’ve often seen where the Seahawks’ offense is shut down and we struggle to score over 20 points. Which won’t cut it, because the 49ers can run the ball like nobody’s business, and Jimmy G is just getting back into the swing of things after his nasty injury in 2018.
As I said before, Monday Night is a real Must Win.
Ultimately, nothing has changed from the beginning of this season: the Seahawks will go as far as Russell Wilson is able to take them. Thankfully, he’s having an MVP-type season; he will need to continue to play at that level the rest of the way just for us to make the playoffs. Honestly, with how terrible our defense has been, I think 9-7 or 10-6 is a more reasonable expectation for this team as opposed to 12-4 or 13-3. The Seahawks could lose literally ALL of their remaining games and it wouldn’t shock me.
As I alluded to above, we’ve been unsustainably lucky already, just to get to 7-2. We’re 6-1 in games decided by one score or less! We would have to somehow double down on that luck to get to a divsion championship. I just can’t see that happening.
If I’m being honest, the Seahawks aren’t a Super Bowl team this year. That feels disrespectful to say at this point in the season, but given what I’ve seen from our team – compared to what I’ve seen from the rest of the NFC – I’d rank the teams as follows:
- San Francisco 49ers
- New Orleans Saints
- Green Bay Packers
- Los Angeles Rams
- Dallas Cowboys
- Minnesota Vikings
- Seattle Seahawks
- Carolina Panthers
- Philadelphia Eagles
Any of those teams 4-9 are probably pretty equal; I could see any of those teams beating any of those teams on any given Sunday. But, the top 3 are pretty deep and pretty strong in all three phases. For the Seahawks to just get INTO the playoffs, we’ll have to find a way to beat 3 or 4 of those teams in the regular season, then likely go through Dallas, San Francisco, and either Green Bay or New Orleans to get to the Super Bowl. Can you see that happening? I can’t. Not unless the 49ers fall apart and the Seahawks find a way to win the division and get a first round BYE. Seems like the longest of longshots.
Unless, again the Seahawks luck into having the 49ers’ number this year. Anything could happen, I suppose.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ruling any of this great success out; I’m just saying that it’s not likely. The Seahawks could very well go all the way thanks to Russell Wilson’s magic. But, he’s been great his whole career, on better teams than this one, and we’ve only got two Super Bowl appearances on our ledger. It’s not easy. This season has been remarkable to date, but don’t rule out a tragic ending.