I'm not here today to feed you bullshit, wild-eyed optimism. The Seahawks are teetering on the brink of utter, catastrophic collapse. They desperately need key players like Russell Okung, Brandon Mebane, and Matt Hasselbeck back on the field THIS WEEK, and they MUST win one of these next two games on the road. Obviously, there's a lower degree of difficulty to beating the Cardinals than the Super Bowl Champion Saints.
Our lofty dreams of home field advantage and the Super Bowl have dissolved in a 74-10 fortnight of demolition, but that doesn't mean all hope is lost. Seattle is still tied for first in the NFC West at 4-4, and there's no compelling reason to think the Niners, Cardinals or Rams are going to magically conjure up a 5-game winning streak this year. It's going to be a brutal (and ugly) war of attrition in the NFC West the rest of the way, and Seattle's hopes lie primarily on two things happening:
A) That the worst of the injury epidemic is over, and Seattle will get healthier (and better) over the next two months.
B) That Matt Hasselbeck can outplay Derek Anderson and Troy Smith, and at least fight Sam Bradford to a draw at Qwest Field in week 17.
Before we delve into particulars about the Seahawks, let's look at our division foes:
49ers: 2-6 right now; projected final record? 5-11
There's a lot of yapping about the Niners getting back into the divisional race, but can you really see them beating Tampa Bay? Green Bay? San Diego? When they meet the Hawks in week 14, I have them coming in at 4-8.. If Seattle can't beat a 4-8 team regardless of venue, our problems are even deeper than I imagined.
Cardinals: 3-5 right now; projected final record? 7-9
I'd love to give AZ a worse record than this, but look at their schedule- After playing (and losing) to Seattle next week, then likely falling at KC, they get a procession of potentially easy W's: Denver, Carolina, Dallas, etc.
Rams: 4-4 right now; projected final record? 8-8
I think that the Rams will solve their issues on the road to a some degree, but not enough to win at Qwest Field in week 17. I've got them winning games at Denver and Arizona, as well as beating the Chiefs and Niners at their dome. They'll lose to the Niners, Falcons and Saints before the de-facto playoff game at Qwest January 2nd.
Seahawks: 4-4 right now; Projected final record? 8-8, NFC West Champs.
I'm trying my best to not be a raging homer, so I'm not going to predict wins over playoff-caliber teams like the Saints, Chiefs, Falcons or Bucs at this point. I think it's plausible that the Seahawks will improve/get healthy enough to bring down one or more of these teams, but that's an argument for another time.
Right now I have the Seahawks winning divisional games at Arizona and San Fransisco, a home game against Carolina, and of course the finale at Qwest against the Rams.
Why do the Seahawks advance? They'd end up with a better divisional record than STL (It'd be impossible for the Rams to beat or match a 5-1 divisional mark). The skeptics out there probably scoff at the notion we can win at AZ or SF, but these people probably doubt Seattle will win ANY more games this season (so fuck em!). It hasn't been THAT long since the Hawks went to Chicago and knocked off the now-5-3 Bears... Why couldn't we defeat the mediocre-at-best Cards or Niners?
Some of you are groaning at the notion of making the playoffs as an 8-8 division winner.. To you I say: Grow the fuck up. Getting a home playoff game isn't something that should be dismissed lightly... and guess what? Three of the four 8-8 teams to make the playoffs WON A PLAYOFF GAME (04 Rams, 04 Vikings, 08 Chargers).. So I'm not going to let the misplaced pride of some members of our fan base shame me into dismissing the desire for another championship banner hanging from the Qwest Field rafters.
What do you think, sirs?