It’s time for my favorite part of the week where I assess your takes and determine whether or not each is an overreaction. The tone of this week’s takes are much different than a week ago, which makes sense given the Seahawks huge win last Thursday against the Cardinals to improve to 7-3.
Thanks, as always, to those who participated.
(Tweet was deleted by person who submitted, but here was the take: "The Seahawks must go 4-0 over the next month if they want any hope of claiming the No. 1 seed in the NFC.")
Back in Week 7, the Seahawks were coming out of their bye and entering a season-defining five-game stretch. Seattle went just 2-3 during that span but the fact that both wins came against divisional opponents saved its season. Beating Arizona in Week 11 put the Seahawks back in control of their own destiny in the NFC West.
Now Seattle gets its softest month on the schedule, a run of games against the Eagles, Giants, Jets and Washington. The Seahawks could still theoretically drop one of those games and still win the division, but the No. 1 seed would be out of the question at that point. Any hopes of a first-round bye will vanish with a loss, though.
The Saints are one game up on Seattle at 8-2. One loss from New Orleans and a 6-0 sweep from Seattle would leave both teams (and potentially the Packers) at 13-3 and in need of tiebreakers to determine who gets the bye.
New Orleans has games against the Broncos, Falcons, Eagles, Chiefs, Vikings and Panthers left. Kansas City should beat the Saints, but banking on a second loss is probably ambitious from Seattle’s perspective. Thus, running the table is paramount, especially considering the relative ease of the Seahawks next month.
Depending on what metric you look at, the Seahawks are either close to being top 20 or already there. Pro Football Focus ranks Seattle’s defense 18th, including fourth against the run and first in tackling. Unsurprisingly, the Seahawks are ranked 24th in coverage and 28th in pass rush.
Football Outsiders ranks Seattle 23rd in DVOA, which makes it a pretty short jump into the top 20.
Cracking the top 20 in points allowed (28th) and total yards allowed (32nd) will be challenging and near impossible, respectively.
Still, the advanced metrics are arguably better indicators of the defense’s overall play, and the Seahawks should continue to move up those rankings, especially with the four-game stretch against poor offenses on deck.
That is, of course, unless you’re like Travis and remains skeptical about Seattle’s defense…
For those who are convinced Seattle’s defense has turned the corner and figured it out, I applaud you. I tend to lean more in Travis’ direction of needing to see more.
Seattle’s defense played easily its best game of the season against the Cardinals. Limiting Kyler Murray to 15 rushing yards and sacking him three times is no easy feat. Holding DeAndre Hopkins to just 51 receiving yards was also notable. The problem is that the Seahawks have been so bad defensively in the other nine games to warrant a bit of cynicism.
To me it’s as simple as this: If you can limit Arizona to 21 points, you should be able to do the same against the Eagles’ 24th-ranked scoring offense. That’s especially true with Shaquill Griffin coming back to the lineup following what was a pseudo-bye week for Seattle.
I’ve spent most of the season believing that the Seahawks are legit contenders. My thinking was that there wasn’t a team Seattle couldn’t beat. The acquisition of Carlos Dunlap confirms that. Pete Carroll said it perfectly last Friday. Somebody has to be the problem that opposing offenses worry about. Seattle didn’t have that until Dunlap arrived.
It’s no coincidence that the Seahawks have 13 sacks over the last three weeks after posting just 12 through their first seven games. We’ve seen an uptick in pass rush production from Jarran Reed, Poona Ford and L.J. Collier during that span. Again, not a coincidence.
His ability to open things up for the rest of the defensive line while still coming up with clutch plays, like the game-clinching sack against Arizona, make Dunlap an invaluable player to Seattle’s potential playoff run.
Tre Flowers isn’t an elite player and will probably never sniff a Pro Bowl, but I remain steadfast that he has all the tools to be a serviceable NFL corner. He was better than appreciated in 2019 and has been playing his best ball of late in 2020. Flowers deserves tons of credit for Hopkins’ modest numbers against the Seahawks.
Flowers’ biggest issue, in my opinion, has been his confidence. The playoff game against the Eagles last year was a great example. Both of his long pass interference penalties came when he was in perfect position. But when the ball arrived, Flowers didn’t trust his technique and panicked, which led to the early contact. It will be interesting to see how Seattle divvies up reps between Flowers and D.J. Reed on the right side with Griffin returning to the left.
Regardless, you could do much worse than Flowers in regard to cornerback depth, and Seahawks fans shouldn’t be looking to run him out of town.
Russell Wilson needs to go 6-0 while putting up video game numbers like he did at the beginning of the season. Even then, Patrick Mahomes would need to stub his toe badly down the stretch to even crack the door open and give Wilson a chance.
I really like this one. If I remember correctly, Mike has provided a few interesting draft takes that have been worth pondering. Damien Lewis has been a home run of a draft selection through the first 10 games of his career. It honestly says a lot about both Lewis and the lack of returns Seattle has seen in its last five draft classes to even be having this conversation.
But I think Shaquill Griffin is the pick here. He’s already made a Pro Bowl, and that means more than Lewis’ first 10 games, no matter how impressive Lewis projects to be down the road. Chris Carson is also assuredly ahead of Lewis. Jarran Reed probably is, too.
Mike still brings up a fair point, though, as the list is staggeringly small.
We’ve seen enough this season to understand that Seattle’s offense is at its best with Chris Carson or Carlos Hyde in the backfield. It gives opponents another layer that must be game planned for. Without those two, defenses can sell out to make Russell Wilson uncomfortable in an attempt to derail the Seahawks passing game.
I’m not sure if this is a hot take but I don’t think the lack of fans have changed things much, if at all. Most of the contenders are teams we expected going into the season. Maybe there have been a few more points scored as a result of no fans? Who knows for sure.
The lack of raucous atmospheres is something that the NFL sorely misses. It changes the in-stadium environment and the enjoyment of watching games on TV. However, I feel pretty confident that a lack of fans hasn’t had a definitive impact on the results themselves.
Brandon Shell (ankle) potentially missing a few games would be huge. He’s been far better than anyone could have expected at right tackle, and now fans will have to hope that Cedric Ogbuehi turns out to be a similarly pleasant surprise.