It figures, the weekend I go to Vegas to gamble on football is one of the weirdest fucking weekends of the season. The Seahawks game was no exception. We started off uncharacteristically strong – albeit somewhat expectedly, considering how terrible the Panthers have been lately – and it looked like it was gonna be one of the few easy, walkover type victories.
Instead, our defenders started dropping like flies, and the game ended up being A LOT closer than it had any right to be. It actually started before the game, with word that Shaquill Griffin was inactive with a hamstring. That followed up news that Clowney wouldn’t make the trip thanks to the flu bug that was going around. Ziggy Ansah was also dealing with his shoulder issue and had to sit out. Then, we lost both Bobby Wagner and Quandre Diggs during the game to separate ankle injuries.
So, if you were wondering, that’s how a game goes from 30-10 with less than 8 minutes to go in the game, to 30-24 and needing to convert a couple of first downs to salt the game away in the closing minutes. Fail there, and we’re talking about the difference between a region of suicidal Seahawks fans vs. this warm and cozy feeling we’re having right now, in a 4-way tie for first in the NFC at 11-3.
We have the Atlanta Falcons of all teams to thank for that! They somehow came across the country and beat a banged up 49ers team going through a rash of defensive injuries of their own.
I’ll be honest, this weekend was a blur, so I don’t really have much insight into the games. I just know it’s setting up to be a fantastic finish these final two weeks!
Here are the schedules for the relevant teams:
- Seattle: vs. Cards, vs. 49ers
- San Francisco: vs. Rams, @ Seahawks
- New Orleans: @ Titans, @ Panthers
- Green Bay: @ Vikings, @ Lions
The Saints and Packers have nice, soft landings in Week 17, and their toughest remaining tests this weekend. While they’re no pushovers, I’d say the Saints should dispatch the Titans easily enough. The Packers have it the hardest this week, as they go on the road and they’re playing a hungry Vikings team on Monday night with their own divisional battle on the line. That’s a toss-up if I’ve ever seen one. I think the Vikings have the superior roster from top to bottom, but if this ends up being a game of Rodgers vs. Cousins, you know who wins that battle 99 times out of 100.
The 49ers have a sneaky-tough game against the Rams on Saturday, as even though the Rams gagged one away in Dallas last week, they still have a marginal chance to make the playoffs (they need to win out, while the Vikings lose out). My gut says the 49ers take care of business, which sets us up for the showdown of all showdowns in the final week.
If the Seahawks don’t beat the Cardinals, I don’t know if there’s a path to a first round BYE (maybe if the Packers and Saints both lose once as well, but that seems like a longshot), but regardless I’d settle for a division title; I just don’t want to have to go on the road in the first round like last year. Compared to Week 17, there isn’t a ton of meaning for this Cards game, but I’d still like to win it to keep our chances of getting a first round BYE intact.
At that point, we should be looking at a Sunday Night game at home, with Seahawks fans whipped up into the biggest lather we’ve seen since probably the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That’s an environment with just enough juice to push our chances over the top. We’ll still have to win a hard-fought battle, but it beats playing it in the afternoon. Let’s just hope rain stays out of the forecast.
Here’s the bottom line: if you want the Seahawks to get the #1 seed, then root for the Seahawks, Saints, and Packers to all win out. That puts all three teams in a tie and based on tie-breakers, that makes the Saints of all teams the 3-seed. That would see them go to Green Bay in the Divisional Round, while we’d almost certainly see the 49ers for a third time this season.
If you want the Seahawks to get the #2 seed – and likely avoid the 49ers entirely – then root for the Seahawks and Saints to win out and the Packers to lose once. That has the 49ers going to New Orleans, with Green Bay likely coming to Seattle. The downside of this scenario is the fact that in the 3 vs. 6 game, the Vikings could hypothetically go into Green Bay and beat them, which would send the Vikings to New Orleans and the 49ers to Seattle. That’s some worst-case scenario bullshit, because there’s no way the Vikings are going into New Orleans and winning, meaning we’d have to go on the road in the NFC Championship Game.
So, scratch that. No one wants the 2-seed. Seahawks win out, Saints win out, Packers win out, bingo, bango, bongo.