The Seahawks' bye week comes early this season and thus provides fans a nice chance on Sunday to maintain a relatively normal heart-rate, perhaps take a little nap, maybe go to Home Depot, but most importantly, scout upcoming opponents.
We already saw Washington's offense turn into a dumpster fire last night, providing a little glimpse into what the Legion of Boom will hope to do to Kirk Cousins next Monday Night. However, despite that, the Giants are quietly on a bit of a tear over the past two weeks and Eli Manning has gotten into a groove in his new offense. Seattle faces off against the Giants at home in Week 10.
If you're in the Seattle area, the three games you'll be getting on cable during the day are:
10AM: Carolina at Baltimore (CBS) -- This game is meaningful because Seattle heads down to Charlotte Week 8 to face off against Cam Newton and the Panthers' tough defense. The Panthers are giving up a surprising 6.3 yards per carry against opposing rushing attacks, which is worst in the NFL, and their rush defense DVOA is 29th. Currently, Seattle is first in the NFL in rush DVOA. This is something to monitor, because I think the ability to rush on this Panthers team will come into play in the two teams' future matchup.
10AM: Green Bay at Chicago (FOX) -- This game is not overly helpful for Seattle fans looking to scout future opponents, unless you're looking far enough forward to consider the Playoffs. At this point, the Bears look like the more likely Playoff team, but Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have their backs against the proverbial wall. Regardless, it should be a fun game.
1PM: Philadelphia at San Francisco (FOX) -- The game of the week, by far. Two future Seahawk opponents, and the 49ers are obviously in a bit of a tough spot at 1-2 facing off against Chip Kelly's Eagles. This should be a good game to gauge both how good the Eagles really are (Nick Foles looked waaaaaay better last week vs. Washington), and just how much the Niners have fallen off (they really self-destructed with terrible penalties vs. the Cardinals). I will be willing to bet that after this game, some hotter than hot takes will be thrown around, regardless of the outcome. The Pac-12 coaching storyline is interesting, as is the whole "Chip taught Jim the read option" storyline.
5:30PM (SNF) New Orleans vs. Dallas (NBC): Another Seattle opponent in the Cowboys. A great chance to see just how bad the Dallas defense is, and it will be interesting to see how much Tony Romo can keep things on offense going in the right direction. This is kind of a must-win for the Saints (not really, but kinda), so Rob Ryan will really hope to jumpstart an anemic defense up to this point.
5:30PM (MNF): New England at Kansas City (ESPN) -- YET AGAIN a future Seahawks opponent in the Chiefs. Storylines: Just how bad is Tom Brady and the Patriots offense these days? Just how good is the Chiefs' defense? What is the deal with Alex Smith?
As our own Tim Connolly put together early this week, here's an easy peezy rooting guide for those of you planning on sitting around all day on Sunday (and Monday Night) and watching football with absolutely zero Seahawk-related stress.
Thursday night: Giants (1-2) at Washington (1-2)
Neither team figures to be in the playoff conversation this year, so rooting for a winner here has little to do with seeding and more to do with short-term needs. Seattle is flying to the dirt minefield that is FedEx Field in week 5, and to that end I'd rather not play against a desperate team. Even in the NFC East, a 1-3 record might be enough to doom a team to irrelevance, and I'd rather not see that happen just yet. Go Washington.
Sunday morning: Panthers (2-1) at Ravens (2-1)
Could the NFL schedule makers have had any worse luck than they'd had the past couple of weeks? Literally the day after the Ray Rice story exploded, there were the Ravens on prime-time network television. Two weeks later, Baltimore now goes up against a team that's had its own trouble with misbehaving players. Speaking purely on an emotional level, I'd probably root for this game to be cancelled on account of locust infestation, but since that's unlikely to happen I'll go with the standard rule of rooting for the AFC over the NFC. Go Ravens.
Sunday morning: Packers (1-2) at Bears (2-1)
I'll come right out and say it: the Packers do not scare me this year. And not just because of the runaway victory we had in the season debut, but simply because I don't think this Packers team is any better than the one that went 8-7-1 last year and barely snuck into the postseason. The Bears, on the other hand, have an offense(!) that's starting to look legit - even with Jay Cutler at QB. Time to knock them down a peg. Go Packers.
Sunday morning: Lions (2-1) at Jets (1-2)
Could this be the year that Detroit finally wins a division title? Last week showed that it's really only a two-horse race, and even though I just talked up Chicago in the last game, they're not what I'd call a serious threat to upset the applecart. Personally, it'd be cool to see it happen, but as long as Suh and Fairley are still on that defense, I want them to stay as far away from Russell Wilson as possible, and that means no meeting in the playoffs. Go Jets.
Sunday afternoon: Falcons (2-1) at Vikings (1-2)
The only way we'll see either one of these teams is in the postseason. And while Atlanta may not be a contender this year, they're definitely the scarier team of the two. Go Vikings.
Sunday afternoon: Eagles (3-0) at 49ers (1-2)
Once again, we're put in the uncomfortable decision of choosing between a hated rival and a team that could challenge us for homefield advantage (if not the division). While I'm not going to root for the 49ers just to make sure they're in as deep a hole as possible, this will be the last time I give a team with a better record than Seattle the nod unless the circumstances are similarly severe. Go Eagles.
Sunday afternoon: Saints (1-2) at Cowboys (2-1)
Don't look now, but Dallas is just a game back of the division lead. After their disastrous loss in Week 1, there was serious talk of the Cowboys going 0-16. I don't think they're going to end up winning the NFC East, but someone's got to put some pressure on Philly - besides, the Saints are much like the 49ers in the sense that we need to throw as much dirt on them early as we can so the chances of them concussing one of our receivers in the playoffs again are nil. Go Cowboys.
What's your plan for the weekend? You going down by the Stadium? Staying at home? Going to a bar? Going on a nice walk? Going to the grocery store?