It’s time to face facts that our loss to the Giants eliminated any reasonable hope for the Seahawks to get the number one seed. At 9-4, we have two teams better than us (Green Bay and New Orleans) who we’d have to surpass (currently with 10-3 records). For tie-breaking purposes, both have a better conference record (8-2 to our 6-3), meaning we’d have to win out and they’d have to lose to another NFC team (and even then, further tiebreakers I won’t get into here might prevent us from climbing to the top).
The Packers have the Panthers and Bears left (as well as a meaningless game against the Titans that doesn’t help us if they lose to them). The Saints have the Vikings and Panthers left (as well as a meaningless game against the Chiefs this weekend). The odds of the Packers AND Saints losing to one of those NFC teams seems remote, so it’s pointless to even think about.
Our top priority in this brave new world should be the NFC West. We’ve been second place in this fucking division three years running, and as a DIRECT result, we have failed to advance past the Divisional Round of the playoffs. When you’re forced to play Wild Card weekend, and then go on the road in the second round, you have an exponentially more difficult time advancing to what is our ultimate goal every year we have Russell Wilson as our quarterback: the Super Bowl.
The difference this year is a two or three seed in the playoffs (and a home game in the first round) or probably a five seed wild card slot, and a road game in the first round (likely against this very same Washington team). In that sense, isn’t this Sunday’s game vital? Not really! The only game that matters is next week, when we host the Rams (also 9-4); the winner of that game will almost certainly win the NFC West.
I guess the Washington game is somewhat important, though. If we win this one AND beat the Rams, that buys us an opportunity to lose to the 49ers in Week 17 (I think, don’t quote me on that; I haven’t worked out all the possible scenarios in my head yet).
Anyway, the point is: the last thing any of us want is to play in Washington TWICE. Fuck, I don’t like playing there at all! Their field is fucking atrocious and it seems like an ACL or two are torn this time of year there every fucking season. Their field should be fucking outlawed along with their stupid former nickname.
I’m not dreading this game simply for the likelihood that a few of our guys will get injured this weekend (though that cloud will be hanging over me until Sunday afternoon, to be sure). I hate this matchup for any number of reasons! This will not be a fun game to watch. Much like the game against the Giants, it will be a fucking defensive slog, with lots of mistakes, punts, and probably turnovers. So, if that gets your juices flowing, then God help you.
The Washington Football Team has a tremendous defensive line and pass rush. As someone depending on Russell Wilson to win him a fantasy football playoff game, I’m fully expecting another bed-shitting performance. I would hope we’ve learned our lesson from the loss two weeks ago, and will rely more on quick passing and running the football, but I’m not holding my breath that even that will work. Our offensive line has been chewed up, and we’re seeing more critical missed blocks than we have all season. Wilson isn’t a spring chicken; he’s not escaping these increasingly-faster defenders as he ages into the middle of his prime. I expect him to be hit, a lot. And bad things tend to happen when Wilson takes a pounding.
The good thing is, like the Giants, Washington doesn’t have much of an offense to speak of. Their great running back appears to be hampered by an injury (if he plays at all). They’re down to a reliable Alex Smith (avoids turnovers, but also avoids making many big plays down field) and an elite receiver in Scary Terry McLaurin. If we can keep him in check, they’ll surely be in check-down mode all game.
Their offense is like a slightly better version of the Giants’ offense. So, instead of giving up 17 points, I would expect us to give up around 23. We are certainly capable of besting that mark, and even though it’ll be a challenge, I do expect we’ll get there.
The keys to this game are the same as any other. Try to get them off the field, so they’re not absolutely killing us in Time of Possession. Force them into field goals instead of touchdowns as much as possible. And for the love of all that is holy, the Seahawks’ offense MUST NOT go in the tank for huge stretches of this game!
The odds of a blowout win for either team seems remote. The lack of fans makes home field irrelevant (presumably, we’ll pack the proper cleats we need, but I guess you never know; we’ll find out if our guys are slipping and sliding around). From a pure talent perspective, I would say the Seahawks have a better than 50% chance of prevailing. The coaching is relatively equal on both sides. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t give the Seahawks more than a 60% chance of winning this one; there is work to be done.
Thankfully, it’s a 10am game (imagine if I’d ever said that in the Mike Holmgren years; you’d think I’d belong in a looney bin!), so either way this game will be over with plenty of time to move on to more enjoyable things. Christmas movies, Christmas music, Christmas TV specials, Christmas cookies, and just enjoying all of our Christmas decorations!