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Seahawks Semantics Week 8: Playoff picture, draft projections, and rooting guide

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Week 8 of Seahawks Semantics.

We witnessed possibly the best defensive performance of the season on Sunday night. The Seahawks gave us a blocked kick and punt, relentless effort and a grumpy Bruce Arians. It may have been a tie but it sure felt like a win.

Let’s get started.

NFC West Week 7 Roundup

Giants at Rams (London)

  • A four interception performance by Case Keenum led Los Angeles to their third straight loss and a 3-4 record. The Rams got out to an early 10-0 lead on the Giants but the league’s worst offense was unable to produce after the first quarter. Jeff Fisher has insisted that Keenum will continue to be the starter through the season, which makes it hard to understand how this team started 3-1 with these types of decisions being made.

Buccaneers at 49ers

  • San Francisco put in their best effort to remain the NFC’s doormat and the results came out positive. Jameis Winston’s three touchdown performance handed the 49ers their sixth straight loss. San Francisco was able to get a two touchdown lead in the first quarter but were unable to contain the Buccaneers varied offensive attack. The 49ers are void of talent and I won’t be shocked if they don’t win another game this season.

Playoff Projections

(Division tiebreakers are handled first, and go in the following order: head-to-head, division record, common opponents, conference record, strength of victory, strength of schedule. After that, conference ties are handled in this order: head-to-head, conference record, common opponents, strength of victory, strength of schedule. Ties are counted as half a win for percentage purposes.)

AFC

  • New England put a stamp on it’s claim for the 1st seed in the AFC last Sunday. Belicheck and Brady took care of the Ben Roethlisberger-less Steelers 27-16. Even though he missed the first quarter of the season, Brady looks like the top MVP candidate with 1,004 passing yards, 75.2 completion percentage, and eight touchdowns with no interceptions. The Patriots go into Buffalo this week to face the team that has handed New England their lone loss. With Brady back for this matchup, I expect the Patriots to keep rolling.
  • The AFC West race is shaping up to be one of the best storylines in the second half of the season. As of now, every team but the Chargers are in the playoffs. And don’t be surprised if San Diego makes a run at the wild card too. Right now, Oakland is in the lead over the Broncos due to division record. Kansas City is not far behind the lead and grabbed a valuable win over the Raiders two weeks ago. I could see this division being decided in Week 17.
  • Pittsburgh had a rough day at Heinz Field but they can revel in the fact that the other teams in their division aren’t very good. Unless Cincinnati can make a comeback I don’t think the Steelers will have to worry about losing their playoff spot. They can coast until Roethlisberger is healthy and then prepare to make a deep run in the playoffs.
  • Houston once again showed that they aren’t a good team and that the AFC South is supremely bad. I thought Indianapolis was done but now they’re just a game out of leading the division. The South is going to be won by a bad team, that much is for sure.

NFC

  • Wow. What a crazy game in Glendale. That was one of the best defensive performances Seattle has put out in Pete Carroll’s tenure. A win would’ve helped as the season progresses, but a tie is better than being 4-2. Due to the tie, the Seahawks stayed put as the 3rd seed. Tying the Cardinals will help with winning the division but may be enough to keep them out of home-field advantage in the conference. Seattle now travels to New Orleans to play Drew Brees and the Saints. This will be the Seahawks second and last 10 a.m. start of the season! A win against New Orleans and help from the Eagles and the Bears will put the Seahawks in the top spot.
  • Dallas won the bye week. Thanks to their rival, Philadelphia, they overtook Minnesota in the conference. The ‘Boys better conference record is what is propelled them to the top. A tough Sunday night game against the Eagles will show if this team is the real deal or if they have no chance of getting in Seattle’s path to the Super Bowl.
  • Minnesota witnessed their first bad performance from Sam Bradford last week. Bradford turned the ball over three times, including one interception in the end zone. Maybe this performance will bring Bradford back to his former self, or maybe he’ll continue to ball and succeed in the Vikings offense. Either way, this game showed that the Vikings cannot hide behind their defense much longer. I still see the Vikings and the Seahawks biggest threat but I feel more confident now after watching the Vikings lose on Sunday.
  • The wild card race in the NFC is starting to get exciting. I still have the Packers and Eagles as the favorites to grab the two spots but between them and the Lions, Redskins, Giants, Cardinals, and Buccaneers we may have a very different playoff picture come January.

Draft Status

(Strength of schedule is found by calculating the win percentage of all 13 opponents on a team's schedule. Divisional opponents get double weight. In the event of a tie for strength of schedule, ties are broken in the same manner as they would be for conference or divisional seeding. If the teams are from different conferences, a coinflip is used.)

Keep in mind that this is SOS through the first 7 weeks. Each teams SOS will be subject to change as each teams goes through their Bye Week and as the season progresses. The SOS will begin to stabilize around the closing weeks of the season.

A Guide for the Rooting Man (Or Woman)

Redskins (4-3) at Bengals (3-4) (London)

  • It’s a classic root for the AFC matchup this week in London. The NFC East is looking like it could come down to the final week of the season to determine the division winner. Hopefully the East will start to beat up on each other and give the winner the lowest divisional spot for the playoffs. I don’t feel like watching another Seahawks away game on a frigid January day.

Root For: Bengals

Cardinals (3-3-1) at Panthers (1-5)

  • Seahawks fans don’t have much love for either of these teams, but after Sunday’s tie against Arizona, Seattle needs as much help as possible to secure the NFC West (and maybe even knock the Cardinals out of playoff contention). Carolina coming off a bye week and a 10 a.m. start give Arizona a disadvantage heading into this game.

Root For: Panthers

Lions (4-3) at Texans (4-3)

  • Another AFC over NFC matchup. Detroit has been a big help to Seattle the last few weeks but we’ll need them to take some time off this week. I don’t have much confidence in Houston’s ability to put away Matt Stafford, especially with the comebacks Stafford has engineered this year.

Root For: Texans

Packers (4-2) at Falcons (4-3)

  • On the surface, it may look confusing for who to root for. Well don’t worry because you will want to be an Atlanta Falcons fan in this matchup. Seattle holds the advantage over Atlanta thanks to their Week 6 victory. Also, a Green Bay loss would keep Seattle ahead by multiple games before they meet in Week 14.

Root For: Falcons

Eagles (4-2) at Cowboys (5-1)

  • Fly Eagles Fly. A Sunday night victory for Philadelphia would potentially push the Seahawks to first in the conference. With Seattle still able to control it’s fate against the Eagles in Week 11, it’s alright to be neck-in-neck with Philly. What’s important is that the Seahawks stay in front of Dallas. Seattle will need the NFC East to tear each other down if they plan on grabbing home-field advantage.
  • Root For: Eagles

Vikings (5-1) at Bears (1-6)

  • A Seahawks win and losses by the Cowboys and Vikings would put Seattle firmly in first place. Unfortunately, the Bears are playing Minnesota so I don’t believe that this is likely to happen. However, it is the NFL and crazier things have happened.

Root For: Bears

Remaining Games:

Jaguars (2-4) at Titans (3-4)

Chiefs (4-2) at Colts (3-4)

Jets (2-5) at Browns (0-7)

Patriots (6-1) at Bills (4-3)

Raiders (5-2) at Buccaneers (3-3)

Chargers (3-4) at Broncos (5-2)

I’ll see you next week. Go Hawks!