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Rams at Seahawks: NFC West Title Game Thread

This is a game thread for those that are rooting for the Seahawks to win. If you want the Seahawks to lose, use this thread. I respect both perspectives, but in my heart I just can not root against the Seahawks on game day.

Here's how I see tonight's game:

If the Seahawks make the playoffs, there will be a huge opportunity cost. Wherever your loyalty lies, whatever you think is best for the franchise, that cost can not be ignored. Seattle needs to make the playoffs and then shape into a playoff team, because the worst possible outcome is that the Seahawks squeak by the Rams and are then blown out by the Saints.

There is more at stake than just winning or losing. The Seahawks must play like a good team. The Seahawks must begin playing like a playoff team if they want a playoff berth to be anything more than a symbolic (Pyrrhic) victory.

The best possible outcome is that Seattle plays like and in fact becomes a good team. That is hugely dependent on Charlie Whitehurst. If Whitehurst has a breakout game, the Seahawks win and Whitehurst is able to continue that breakout into and through the playoffs, Seattle can use its first round pick on one of its other glaring needs and see if Whitehurst can develop into a true franchise quarterback. He's no guarantee, but no one is.

The rub is that Whitehurst may not start.

What then can be accomplished? That's hard to say. Someone out there must think it's still possible that Hasselbeck rebounds, and maybe a playoff run would win Matt Hasselbeck a contract extension. So, take that however you will.

Apart from the basic playoff-draft pick dichotomy, other things are at stake for Seattle. Young talent like Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, Walter Thurmond, Aaron Curry and slightly more seasoned talent like Brandon Mebane, David Hawthorne, Kentwan Balmer, Marshawn Lynch, Chris Spencer, Mike Williams, Ben Obomanu, John Carlson and Justin Forsett can play like the foundation of an emerging contender, or a backlog of bad contracts soon to be liquidated. High draft pick or no, any hope of contention in 2011 or 2012 is found on this roster, and not in the next two draft classes.

Pete Carroll, Gus Bradley and Dan Quinn can field a talent poor defense that is well coached, hard working and expertly utilized, or the Seahawks defensive braintrust can field the same sloppy, slow, poor tackling, unaware and underutilized defense that has taken the field for most of the season.

Jeremy Bates, brother, we believe in you, but it's time for you to give us something to believe in. Youth, a strong reputation, success in Denver and a maniacal commitment to improvement is an exciting profile, but we're nearly a season in and I am racking my brain trying to remember a moment I felt proud you were the Seahawks coordinator. Potential buys you time, but you're being paid to script smart game plans. Show us something.

If Sam Bradford is worth a damn, this could be an important moment in NFC West history. The Rams are clearly on the rise. The Rams are two steps ahead of the Seahawks toward a full rebuild. Seattle can look like the losers that made this bed, that created this showdown of two of the NFL's worst for the least prestigious division title in NFL history; Seattle can get blown by a bad team in front of world, at home, for the division, against an ascending rookie, on an ascending team, or the Seahawks can fight for every damn inch of gridiron and say, if only for one Sunday, the NFC West is ours. The NFC West title runs through Seattle.