The Seahawks improved to 10-4 on the season after winning on the road against the Washington Football Team in Week 15. Ahead is a pseudo-NFC West Championship Game in Week 16 against the Rams.
Let’s begin the week, as we always do, with some of the best fan-submitted hot takes. Thanks to those who participated in “Overreaction Monday.”
This is an opinion that several people shared, and I think it’s a fair one given what we’ve seen over the last month. The Seahawks defense has objectively outplayed the offense of late.
But while the take is not an overreaction, I still disagree with it. I’m still in the camp of skeptics that wants to see the defense prove it has turned the corner against the Rams. Standout games against Carson Wentz, Colt McCoy, Sam Darnold and Dwayne Haskins aren’t going to convince me. Conversely, I am probably admittedly giving the Seahawks offense too much of a pass. That doesn’t change the fact that Seattle has faced a stretch of standout defenses.
Had the Seahawks struggled against the Jets, I’d buy into the concern a bit more. But I believe that the Seahawks will go as far as their best player takes them, and their best player remains Russell Wilson.
I’m comfortable betting on Wilson to come through in the playoffs.
This is one of the areas where the concern about the offense is legit (the other being third downs). We’ve seen Seattle have success offensively without relying on explosive pass plays. The Seahawks only had two such plays in a win over the Cardinals and just one against the Jets. But Wilson is notoriously one of the best deep ball throwers in football, and at some point, you have to think Seattle needs to find that magic once again.
Lacking explosive plays while ranking 24th in third down efficiency (40%) is a troublesome combination. Dinking and dunking is a viable strategy to mitigate an opposing pass rush (as Seattle did successfully against Washington), but it requires pinpoint execution on a down-to-down basis. That went missing over the final 28 minutes on Sunday where the Seahawks went scoreless.
As I stated above, Wilson has shown us enough for nearly a decade to warrant the benefit of the doubt that the offense will be just fine.
The Rams losing to the Jets was unequivocally good for the Seahawks. Seattle now wins the NFC West with a win in Week 16, and it would make Week 17 moot. Additionally, the Seahawks could still lose to the Rams and win the division with a win in Week 17 against the 49ers and a Rams loss to the Cardinals.
However, I do understand the feeling of, “They aren’t going to have two duds in a row, right?” That’s fair nervousness given the Rams are one of the most complete teams in football and them losing to the Jets was inexplicable.
The reality is that this game was always, in all likelihood, going to be for the division. Those kinds of stakes are motivation enough. The Rams didn’t need to lose to the Jets in order to understand the gravity of Sunday’s game. That’s why nothing that happened on Sunday changes how I feel about Rams vs. Seahawks in Week 16.
It’s very likely that we see these two teams play three times this season, particularly in the Wild Card Round as the respective Nos. 3 and 6 seeds with the Buccaneers likely vaulting the Week 16 loser and claiming the No. 5 seed.
I’m nitpicking here a bit because the Seahawks hardly destroy or get destroyed. But I completely agree with the notion that Seattle could beat anybody and lose to anyone as well. That’s what happens when you’re equally able to erase a deficit and unable to hold onto a lead and put teams away.
Last week I stated that I believed Quinton Dubnar deserved another shot. That may have been out of my own curiosity as to how he’d play with two healthy knees and a clear mind now that his legal troubles are behind him. However, Reed’s exemplary play in Washington proved that Seattle can’t take him off the field.
Pete Carroll said on Monday that Reed deserves to keep playing and had one of the best games from a Seahawks corner in a while. He added that Reed is “explosively quick.” Reed has proven to be an incredible waiver wire pickup from John Schneider. The 49ers are likely ruing the day they let him go.
We’ll find out for sure what Seattle opts to do there with Tre Flowers and Dunbar likely returning against the Rams. Having too many healthy corners is a nice champagne problem for the Seahawks given how depleted that group was earlier in the season.
I can’t say I understand the growing sentiment that Shaquill Griffin is expendable. His three interceptions this season are a career high despite missing four games with a hamstring injury. I don’t believe that Griffin is worthy of the richest corner contract in NFL history, but the guy is going to get a healthy payday. And deservedly so as he’s a fantastic player. As long as his asking price isn’t outrageous (I’d probably cap my offer around $14-16 million per year), I think the Seahawks should ensure that they bring him back.
Griffin is one of the team’s best draft picks over the last five seasons. Letting quality homegrown players who are also tremendous locker room assets walk out the door seems unwise.