It’s amazing how much perception can change in a week. One good game, even against a bad team, is sometimes all it takes.
Now most Seahawks fans are trying to exhibit something closer to cautious optimism rather than outright overconfidence when it comes to their team.
But last week’s thumping of the league-worst New York Jets has gotten the Hawks back on track.
Sure, you can temper a 40-3 win over a team that has been bad for years and has yet to even win a game this season. But Seattle still did what they were supposed to do. The offense exploded and the defense was smothering.
And if you look at the trendlines, last weekend was no fluke. Seattle’s defense is finally coming around.
Let’s start with some random observations about what’s been happening, both individually and on a team level.
First of all, hats off to Jamal Adams, who has been playing like his hair is on fire. After bringing Sam Darnold to the turf last week, Adams took control of the single-season sack record for a defensive back with 8.5. Expect that number to go up by the end of the season.
In terms of team defense, recall that the Jets scored over 25 points in three of their recent games prior to their loss to Seattle. Keep that in mind whenever someone poo-poos Seattle’s accomplishment last weekend.
After giving up an average of over 30 points per game through the first half of the season, Seattle is now holding opponents to just over 16 points per game over their last five contests.
Another interesting statistic is that while Seattle had only nine sacks during its first seven games, they now have 36 sacks after 13 games. Who else is getting after the quarterback besides the aforementioned Adams? Credit Carlos Dunlap with five sacks of his own. Let’s recognize Jarran Reed’s 4.5. While we’re at it, props to Benson Mayowa for his four. And we would be remiss to not credit stalwart Bobby Wagner for his three sacks and K.J. Wright for his two.
Is this defense ready to hit the road? That’s what we’re about to find out this Sunday when Seattle travels to Washington to play the Football Team. How good is Washington? Seattle should be very concerned. The Football Team has won its last four games, including beating the Pittsburgh Steelers, which up until this past weekend’s loss to the red-hot Buffalo Bills had not lost any other games this season.
At this late stage in the season, FiveThirtyEight.com has Seattle with a 98% to make the playoffs. They can make that a certainty with a win over Washington this weekend.
But the most important date on the calendar of anyone associated with the Seahawks is December 27th. That game against the Los Angeles Rams will determine who wins the NFC West. The implications can’t be overstated, for obvious reasons. A win that day puts Seattle in a position to be more successful in the playoffs. It also gives Seattle an opportunity to avenge their loss to the Rams earlier in the season. It allows Seattle to reclaim their top-dog, sheriff in town status in the division.
Now is it possible that Seattle will travel east this weekend, lay an egg and change our perceptions back to something more pessimistic? Perhaps. But with the way this defense has been playing, your money would be better spent betting in the Seahawks’ favor.