Just when you thought the NFC West couldn’t get tougher, Sunday happened.
The Seattle Seahawks have been sitting atop the division through 10 weeks and quarterback Russell Wilson has been cooking and carving up defenses en route to his coronation as the NFL MVP.
But the Seahawks aren’t the same team they were heading into the bye in Week 6, and Wilson couldn’t stay nearly perfect for too long. Seattle has now dropped three of its last four, and while many have chalked up the Seahawks recent struggles to the horrendous defense, Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams was all on Russ.
Wilson was out of his MVP form in his first outing at SoFi Stadium. He finished with an uncharacteristic 248 yards, no touchdowns and two picks. He now has a staggering 10 interceptions on the season, including seven in his past four outings.
The result was a 23-16 loss to their division foes and an even bigger nightmare: Seattle has lost its lead in the NFC West.
While the Seahawks were on the ground in Los Angeles taking on the Rams, DeAndre Hopkins outjumped three defenders to come down with a wild Hail Mary to outlast the Bills 32-30 in Arizona.
All three teams now hold a 6-3 record, but the Seahawks 37-34 overtime loss at Arizona on Oct. 25 proved costly. Now both the Cardinals and Rams have an edge over the Seahawks in the standings, making Seattle’s Week 11 matchup vs. Arizona a season-defining game.
If the Cardinals hand the Seahawks a third-straight loss on Thursday, Seattle drops to 6-4 on the season and Arizona improves to 7-3. The Seahawks would essentially be two games behind the Cardinals should they lose because the head-to-head tiebreaker would be in favor of Arizona. The Rams could keep pace with the Cardinals with a win over Tampa Bay on Monday Night Football. The Rams-Cards will face each other twice in the final five weeks of the season.
If the Seahawks win on Thursday night, Seattle improves to 7-3 on the season and the Cardinals drop to 6-4. Russell Wilson and Co. could take over the top spot in the NFC West again… but, they’ll also need the Rams to lose at Tampa Bay.
If the Rams take down Tom Brady and the Bucs in Week 11, Los Angeles improves to 7-3 and holds the tiebreaker over Seattle because of Sunday’s game. The Rams visit CenturyLink Field on Dec. 27, which is shaping up to be another key NFC West showdown.
We knew the NFC West was going to be challenging, but Seattle now has no room for mental miscues and lapses in judgement in its path to the top seed and quest to bring home the division crown.