Happy Holidays and for those who celebrate, Merry Christmas! I hope each and every one of you is blessed with some well-deserved quality time with loved ones this week.
The Seahawks are days away from their biggest game of the season and they would clinch the NFC West title with a win over the Rams on Sunday. Let’s get into your questions in this week’s mailbag. Thanks, as always, to those who participated.
Jamal Adams is on the verge of being the first defensive back in NFL history to reach double-digit sacks in a season. It’s quite remarkable he already owns the DB record with 9.5 sacks in just 10 games. He has been everything the Seahawks could have hoped for when they acquired him from the Jets in exchange for two first-round picks.
Because of that record-breaking production from a pass rush standpoint, I think Adams warrants consideration in the DPOY conversation. He’s probably in the top five. Ultimately he won’t win because he hasn’t taken the ball away enough. Adams has just one forced fumble, zero fumble recoveries, zero interceptions, and just two passes defended. A dropped pick-sick against the Jets would have helped him in this regard.
Dolphins corner Xavien Howard or Steelers pass rusher T.J. Watt will likely win. Howard leads the NFL with nine interceptions. Watt has been even more impressive with a league-high 13.0 sacks and 22 tackles for loss. He also has seven passes defended, an interception, a forced fumble, and 40 total quarterback hits.
The Seahawks will surely lean on both against the Rams. Chris Carson, who missed Round 1 against the Rams, will be a focal point of Seattle’s attack. The team will also feature a quick passing game similar to what you saw against Washington as a way to help neutralize Aaron Donald.
In order to win, though, it feels like Seattle’s vertical passing game will have to return in some capacity. Whether that’s giving DK Metcalf the chance to beat Jalen Ramsey deep or somehow cracking the code of two-deep safety looks that have given the Seahawks some fits this season.
Seattle has shown three times (Arizona, Jets, and Washington) that it can win without explosive pass plays. But that’s hard to do when for a team that struggles so much on third down. The Seahawks rank 24th in that category, converting just 40% of tries this season. That includes going just 5-of-12 last weekend in Washington.
The Rams are too good defensively to expect to grind out long touchdown drives over and over again.
The counterpoint to that is that Pete Carroll might prefer such a game and bank on his defense keeping pace with Los Angeles’. We know Carroll loves field position battles that come down to the final minutes.
I think you might be referring to tanking for the No. 5 seed so I’ll approach this question as such (tanking for the No. 7 seed would result in playing the No. 2 seed). I picked this question because this has been an ongoing conversation for weeks, even though there are a number of reasons why it makes no sense for Seattle to tank.
For starters, I think the NFC East has shown to be strong enough across the board at this point to where there would be no slam dunk win in the playoffs. There’s also pride involved with winning your division and the ability to host a home game removes the potential for cross country travel by at least a week. Seattle has also lost five out of the last six matchups against Los Angeles. Making it six out of seven with a potential playoff matchup against the Rams looming wouldn’t be positive for anyone’s confidence.
The most practical point might be that the Seahawks aren’t likely to get the No. 5 seed. A win locks them in as the No. 3 seed. A loss would likely drop them to No. 6 with the Buccaneers taking over the No. 5 seed.
I think the Seahawks are capable of winning at Lambeau Field in January. Depending on how this weekend goes, I’ll probably say that the Rams are a worse matchup for Seattle than the Packers.
Chris Carson received 15 of the 19 carries given to running backs against Washington. Carlos Hyde and Rashaad Penny received just two each. Carson’s usage may dip a bit, but not much. The Seahawks have worked hard to limit his workload in order to keep him healthy down the stretch and into the playoffs.
Carson had 278 carries in 15 games (18.5 per game) last year compared to just 114 attempts in 10 games (11.4 per game) this season. My guess is that Seattle continues to lean on him in more of a bell-cow role from here on out.
Any of Penny’s touches are more likely to come at the expense of Hyde. That’s something we could see in the coming weeks as well with Penny shaking off the rust of his year-long hiatus.
Carroll said on Wednesday that Dorsett is out of his boot and is working out once again. That’s positive news, but it still sounds like Dorsett is a ways away from practicing. Don’t expect to see him this season.
2. Klaus (if you haven’t watched it yet, you need to)
3. The Preacher’s Wife (classic and lesser-known Denzel Washington movie that I watch every year with my family)