Let’s just call it like it is – Seattle hasn’t looked right since leaving for Germany. At the time, we were led to believe they were just slowed by a poor-quality field that gave the advantage to Tampa Bay, but after three more weeks of film, we can see clearly that this is not the same team that surprised a lot of folks during the first half of the season.
They looked terrible in a loss to Carolina, who are on their third QB and have very few household names on their roster. They looked terrible in a win against the Rams, who are also on their third QB and are down to a revolving door at RB and WR. They looked terrible in a loss to the Raiders, who still have most of their starting players but have struggled a lot this year.
Seattle hadn’t looked good since beating Arizona just before they went on their international road trip and then had their bye week. I’m not sure which team came home, but whoever it was, it wasn’t the Seattle team from weeks 1-9.
There have been injuries at key positions, and while that definitely matters, this is the time of year you hear the same thing from every team – everyone is banged up. It’s either the next man up or a lot of bad football. Seattle is trending toward the latter but could bounce back any day now, which means their revenge game is coming at the perfect time.
The Seahawks have only lost one game by multiple scores this season, and it came in a week two demolition at the hands of their hated rival, the San Francisco 49ers. Seattle lost by 20 in that game, and honestly, it could have been 50 the way they were playing. The offense had no rhythm, accumulating just 233 measly yards, and failed to produce even one scoring drive, along with giving the ball away three times without ever getting a single takeaway. Their only score of the day came on special teams when a blocked field goal was returned for a touchdown. Aside from that one play, the offense was shut down entirely, and the defense gave up 373 yards, three touchdowns, and two field goals.
San Francisco ran for 189 yards that day, which seems to be the Seahawks’ kryptonite this season. Seattle has an above-average secondary, but they don’t appear to have an answer for the opposing team’s running attack. And this was well before the 49ers acquired Christian McCaffrey, who will be facing them this week. The Raiders are one of the best running teams in the league and put up a whopping 289 rushing yards against Seattle. Raiders RB Josh Jacobs has only topped 200 yards once this season, and you guessed it – he did it against Seattle.
So the better running teams are doing well against Seattle. What about the lower-end teams? The Rams are one of the worst rushing teams in the league, and they put up 181 yards. Carolina has no passing attack, they know it, Seattle knows it, and yet Seattle let them run for 223 yards. It got to the point in the second half it appeared Seattle just didn’t want to tackle at all. Carolina QB Sam Darnold completed just 14 passes all game for just 120 yards, and his team scored 30 points. That’s sickening. Tampa Bay was one of the worst rushing teams going into their week ten game against Seattle, but not for long – they put up 161 rushing yards that day.
It seems that every team can run the ball on Seattle; they are a “fix-all” for a bad rushing team. It’s very generous of them but also counterproductive to their playoff chances.
At 7-6, Seattle is in the 8th seed and just outside the final playoff spot. The top seven teams in the NFC make the playoffs, and to take the 7th seed, they will need to pass the Giants or Commanders, who are in the 6th and 7th seeds at 7-5-1. Seattle also needs to stay ahead of Detroit (6-7) and Green Bay (5-8), who are in spots 9 and 10 and just a game or two behind them. Seattle defeated Detroit head-to-head, so if they ended the season with the same record, Seattle would get the spot.
If the playoffs started this week, Seattle would be out. With so few games left, there really isn’t any time left to get better; they need to be good now. They host San Francisco this week, travel to the Chiefs next week, then host the Jets and Rams to close out the regular season. Let’s say they lose to San Francisco this week; that all but kills any dreams they have of winning the division. They would then be 7-7 and still a game out of the playoff race. Washington and New York play each other this week, so unless they tie again, one of them should drop to #8 and allow Seattle to climb into the #7 spot. If Seattle loses, that could change since either team would still have a superior winning percentage, thanks to the tie not being a loss.
Seattle needs a win this week, a loss by the Giants (since Seattle already defeated them head-to-head), and a loss from Green Bay. That would mean they only need to make up one game against San Francisco in the final three weeks to put themselves in a position to host a playoff game if they can get the 49ers to go 1-2 down the stretch while they go 2-1 or better.
This team has talent, they have a good coaching staff, and they have “it.” They need to prove they belong in the playoff conversation, even if they probably don’t belong in the Super Bowl conversation, not this year anyway.
They can put themselves firmly back in the playoff conversation with a statement win over the 49ers this week, but a loss probably announces that they aren’t ready to compete with the elite teams, at least not yet.