Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE
As we twiddle our thumbs for a week, why not look ahead?
Sometimes I think Danny Kelly trolls me in silence. I hate dead air. There is dead air on Field Gulls today, and so I am compelled to fill it, even though I already spent hours writing a 4,000-word piece for SBN Seattle about baseball and $100,000,000 contracts. What kind of an idiot league would give out guaranteed money like that?!
When I am a dad, we are going to spend so much time on baseball before we try anything else. Either as a catcher or a left-handed pitcher. And then my son will say, "This isn't any fun dads-" I mean, "Mom and dad" because I am totally going to marry a woman, but I'll reply, "Shut up. Dad doesn't want to work anymore."
For many members of the Seattle Seahawks, they learned to play football better than baseball or other sports, so here we are. That's how I transitioned from that to this. Now Seattle sits at 6-4, having done something that most football teams have not done this year: Play ten games!
This gives the Hawks a slight edge because it's better to know where you stand than not. With a loose grip on the sixth spot in the Wild Card, Seattle can't do anything but watch this week, or possibly pay off a guy at Buffalo Wild Wings I guess. I don't know why BWW has so much power in regards to football, they really shouldn't have access to people that control the fields and courts. Did anyone ever wonder if those guys that cheated immediately got fired from their jobs? I guess they preferred working at Buffalo Wild Wings.
(Don't confuse BWW with BBW if you're on Craigslist. I did that once and well, let's just say that I was really disappointed to wind up with buffalo wings instead of what I thought I was ordering.)
So outside of cheating through a complicated set of channels that should not exist in regards to a restaurant ruining sports, the Seahawks can only watch. After this week, they can setup some more playdates. Here they are and here are my thoughts:
Week 12 - @ Miami (4-5)
The Dolphins looked kind of legit after they started 4-3 and had a solid defense, with two losses coming in overtime. Now they have lost two straight and just got blown out 37-3 at home to the Titans. Take another look at their schedule, they've only played one solid football team, the Texans, and they lost 30-10.
Miami has faded fast and they've turned it over multiple times in five games (1-4), so whether they're at home or not you should be able to beat them if you can force a couple of mistakes. Ryan Tannehill has been pretty phenomenal though. It's pretty phenomenal that a quarterback can have five touchdown passes in nine games. That's 1/3rd as many as Russell Wilson.
The issues -
If this game were in Seattle, I'd give it a solid 90% chance of victory. That tilts a lot when you travel to the very other end of the country and play at 10 AM PST. I don't know a lot about the space-time continuum, but that's where football teams should play when they are so far from each other.
The Seahawks are 1-4 on the road, but they traveled almost as far when they beat the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers have played a monumentally-more difficult schedule than the Dolphins, and I believe might be a better football team.
Key to winning -
I'm really not that concerned about Reggie Bush. If Seattle can score 20 points, they should win. The Dolphins are 0-5 when they allow 20, 4-0 when they don't. Their run defense has not been as strong lately, so a healthy Marshawn Lynch and some key plays from Wilson, could be just enough to get over the 20-point mark.
Week 13 - @ Chicago (7-2)
Let me start by saying that I don't have any special powers. If I did, I certainly would not use them on jinxing the Hawks. I'd use them to make all your clothes fall off. So don't fret when I say that the Bears are overrated.
I got heat for my rant against Chicago in last week's Hangout. Oh well, tell me I'm wrong when I say that the Bears have beaten: Colts, Rams, Cowboys, Jaguars, Lions, Panthers, Titans. That is a scientific fact. Now, why does that matter? Well, the Bears are probably the most exciting team to watch, but does that make them the best? I'm not going to deny the level of talent on defense, but are the Bears' turnovers forced sustainable?
Colts - 32nd in turnovers
Rams - 30th in turnovers
Cowboys - 26th in turnovers
Jaguars - 22nd in turnovers
Lions 26th in turnovers
Panthers - 18th in turnovers
Titans - 21st in turnovers
They lost to the Packers (18th in turnovers) and Texans (5th in turnovers) and the offense was completely shut down. Green Bay picked Jay Cutler four times and shut down Brandon Marshall. Before the Texans knocked Cutler out of the game, they held him to 40 yards and 2 interceptions.
If you shut down the Bears passing game, specifically Marshall as their only weapon, you stand a good chance of winning. The Seahawks are 12th in the NFL in turnovers and 2nd in net yards per pass attempt allowed. If Richard Sherman and others shut down Marshall, it's really a matter of the offense scoring some points. Not easy, but possible.
The issues -
Just because I think they're overrated doesn't mean they aren't really good. The Bears have a great defense, a defense you should fear. This game is in Chicago and it's going to get physical, like I got physical with that pillow in summer camp. /humblebrag
The Bears are better than the Cardinals, Rams, and Lions, and we lost to those teams on the road.
Keys to winning -
Shut down Marshall and you shut down the offense. Seattle's defense is good enough to contain Chicago to 150 net passing yards or less. Stopping Matt Forte would be cool too.
Get creative in the passing game, hope for a huge special teams play, or maybe forcing a turnover deep in the Bears territory. Chicago is 17th in yards per carry allowed.
Week 14 - Arizona Cardinals (4-5)
Yeah, Week 1 has been pretty disheartening all season. Oh well, we're still in a great position to make the playoffs and the Cardinals are not. That's really going to be a key to this game, how awful would it be to see Arizona win three straight before this?
The Cards play @ Atlanta, Rams, @ Jets over the next three. If they actually found Larry Fitzgerald and the offense somehow, they can be good again. The Cardinals still aren't bad on defense. They're still really tough against the pass. They just have the worst offensive line in football.
We hope that winning at home will be easy, but anything is possible.
The issues -
Daryl Washington, Calais Campbell, and Darnell Dockett cause havoc at the line of scrimmage. Patrick Peterson has a pick six and a punt return for a touchdown. Division rivals do what division rivals do.
If Arizona pulls an upset this week over the Falcons, they could just march into Seattle at 7-5. Anything is possible and then they're looking at their own playoff berth.
Keys to winning -
John Skelton won a starting quarterback job this year.
When held under 20 points, Arizona is 0-5. This defense at full strength should have no problem doing that.
Week 15 - @ Buffalo (3-6) (in Toronto)
No good? My bad.
The Bills game should be interesting if Lynch is healthy. Not only is he facing his former team, but his former team is last in the NFL in run defense, rushing touchdowns allowed, and yards per carry allowed. Opposing teams have 1,473 yards and 16 touchdowns in nine games.
Don't think Lynch wouldn't be champing at the bit for 200 yards?
You ever hear the phrase, "We don't deserve to go to the playoffs if we lose this game?"
Over 160 yards allowed per game on the ground. Opposing quarterbacks have 18 TD and 6 INT. I don't care if this game is played in a Gladiator ring with lions and tigers and bears. The Bills have beaten the Chiefs, Browns, and zombie Cardinals in overtime.
Keys to winning
A good team should beat the Bills.
Week 16 - San Francisco (6-2-1)
I believe that the 49ers were better than we gave them credit for in 2011. Every time they played a game that people thought they'd lose, San Francisco stepped up for the most part. They were in every game, even their four losses including playoffs. They are more vulnerable in 2012.
Now that San Francisco is 16th in turnovers forced, they aren't quite as good. They've blown out bad teams (Jets, Bills, Cardinals) and lost to the Giants and Vikings. Then they tied the Rams at home?
In their three non-wins, the 49ers have forced three turnovers total. They will play the Bears, @ Saints, @ Patriots before they meet the Seahawks and their record might depend entirely on Alex Smith's brain. Who would have ever thought that the 49ers needed Smith so badly? Or maybe they don't, I'm not Bill Nye, I can't predict the future.
But the past tells me that Seattle is in some sort of favorable position by playing at home. I think the 49ers were much better than us in Week 1 of 2011. I think it was much closer in their next game. I think that Thursday really messed us up in Week 7. Therefore, I think Seattle has every chance to win this game in Week 16.
The issues -
The 49ers are still a good football team and still could be a bit ahead in development of a similar plan. And still annoying as fuck.
Keys to winning -
Figure out how to stop Frank Gore unlike how you did not the first time. The 49ers are 0-2 when they don't run for 100 yards.
Force at least two mistakes. The 49ers are 0-2 when turning it over two or more times. When Alex Smith is put into a position where he has to throw it, there's a solid opportunity to see bad throws. If you contain Gore and force Smith to throw it early, all the better.
Week 17 - St. Louis (3-5-1)
The Rams haven't won a game since Week 5. They haven't forced a turnover since Week 5.
Right now they are basically solidly mediocre. The offensive line isn't that good, that creates problems for Sam Bradford, they have to resort to black magic to score points. Chris Givens has a ridiculous 25.6 yards per catch on 13 catches. Danny Amendola is like an annoying ex-girlfriend that won't go away. (I'm assuming that. I will take back any of my ex-girlfriends if you are reading this.)
Steven Jackson has something left in the tank, but you know that you're probably going to have to fill up before payday.
You just hope that the Seahawks, by Week 17, are really far ahead of the Rams and can put this away early and not tie for God's sake. (Because God really cares.)
The issues -
All divisional games are difficult, just ask the 49ers.
The Rams have a significant amount of good players on defense.
The Rams beat the Seahawks.
The Rams are probably going to be in a "nothing-to-lose" situation and that can mean just about anything.
No football game is a gimme. The Seahawks have six football games left. We'd like them to win six of them. But for me, as a person that covers the team, I just hope that we don't have any more bye weeks otherwise I'll continue to resort to what you've just read and Danny will quit trollin' me.
Now, throw me some damn comments. Let's have a discussion about the final six!