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Introduction to the Last Weekend of the Regular Season

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I will take on a little more breakneck, a little less detail-rich rundown of last Sunday's game. My goal is to be done by tomorrow.

Seattle flies to Arizona Bay this weekend to fight for its last gasping chance at the playoffs. Arizona is 5-3 and owns the tiebreaker against Seattle. If Seattle wins, it is a game behind and will have neutralized the Cardinals tiebreaker. If Seattle loses, it will be all but out of the race.

The 2006 Seahawks scrabbled their way into the playoffs. The 2009 Seahawks are a better team. The 2009 Arizona Cardinals are probably better than both. The 2006 Seahawks lost twice to the Alex Smith-led San Francisco 49ers. The 2009 Seahawks lost to the Shaun Hill-led 49ers, but could beat the Alex Smith-led 2009 49ers at home. The 2009 Arizona Cardinals were not able to. The 2009 Seahawks need only be better for a day to crawl back into this.

And around. Seattle may not be better than Arizona, but short of total mismatches like yesterday's, early breaks can decide a game between close-matched opponents. Seattle has snuck into the playoffs before and could do so this season. Arizona like Seattle is dependent on the health of their aged quarterback. The Cardinals are a Kurt Warner injury from probable collapse. Maybe Matt Leinart steps up, but we'll cross that bridge when he puts down the beer bong.

Seattle did not win convincingly against Detroit. It profited from an exceptionally bad showing from Matthew Stafford. As I mentioned in my post game, Stafford's picks alone account for at least 225 yard and as much 300. Interceptions are, in classic coach speak, mistakes. An interception reflects a mistake by the offense more so than it reflects an achievement by the defense.

That was obvious for anyone who watched yesterday's game. Stafford threw jump balls, and often threw jump balls that descended closer to a defender than a receiver. Seattle caught them. It pressured Stafford and forced poor down and distance, but of the many things Stafford could have done, he often chose the worst possible.

So Seattle roared back against a team it is categorically better than. But it won. And it is categorically better than the Detroit Lions. That, however hollow feeling at the time, is a hopeful reminder. Seattle is on the low end of average. The Arizona Cardinals are on the high end of average. Seattle might have a one in three chance of beating Arizona on the road.

Maybe the breaks fall Seattle's way this time. If Arizona spots Seattle 17 in the first like Seattle spotted Detroit, Seattle's young defense could swarm and attack and maybe even run away with it. It's the unit that will carry Seattle these final eight weeks. It's the unit that is young, growing into its own, that shows flashes that it could sustain once the talent and coaching coalesce.

The 2006 Seahawks were hanging on to the inexorable. The 2009 Seahawks are building off the eventual. The 2006 Seahawks were sad and fading. We didn't realize it then but most realize it now. Maybe we don't yet realize how good the 2009 Seahawks are becoming. Maybe it will be 2012 before we do. This weekend they fight for the relevance of 2009. The Seahawks are old but they are healthy. The Seahawks are young but they are desperate. Let's go kick the Cards in the mouth.