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Seahawks Semantics Week 11

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Week 11 of Seahawks Semantics!

Sunday night was beautiful. The Seahawks went into Foxborough and came away with a marquee road win that many outside of Seattle didn’t expect. Unfortunately, the Steelers blew their lead against Dallas in the final moments, so the Seahawks remain a game and a half outside of the 1 seed. In Week 11, Seattle turns its sights to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Let’s get started.

NFC West Week 10 Roundup

Rams at Jets

  • This game was so atrocious offensively that even though Los Angeles won, they are starting Jared Goff this week. Case Keenum put up an unappealing 165 yards on 17-30 passing with no touchdowns. Todd Gurley also produced a mediocre 64 yards on 21 carries. However, don’t let these statistics fool you, the Rams are 2-1 this season when they don’t score a touchdown and 2-4 when they do. Maybe Jeff Fisher believes the best way to sustain that model of success is to throw in the rookie quarterback halfway into the season?

49ers at Cardinals

  • I kept switching between this game and the Cowboys-Steelers shootout. I was surprised the 49ers were keeping the game close and then beyond ecstatic when they tied the game with little time left in the 4th. Unfortunately, San Francisco’s defense wilted on the final drive and gave up the game winning field goal. Had the Cardinals lost, it’d be hard to create a reasonable scenario where they get into the playoffs, but now they are still just two games behind the Seahawks.

Playoff Positioning

(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

  • Thanks to a stellar performance by the Seattle Seahawks, three teams now sit at 7-2. New England is still the favorite to hold the 1 seed, partly due to the Chiefs and Raiders second matchup later in the year. One thing that should be noted about last Sunday night’s game is that Seattle showed the rest of the NFL the Patriots are capable of being defeated. There’s a chance that a team like Oakland faces them in the playoffs and is more confident about their chances than if the Patriots finished the season 15-1.
  • The AFC West is the gift that keeps on giving. After Monday night’s game the leader in the division could be the Broncos, Chiefs or Raiders. How does that happen? Well if Denver beats Kansas City on Sunday night and Oakland loses to the Texans on Monday night then Denver jumps to 8-3 with the advantage over the Chiefs. If Denver wins, but the Raiders also win in Mexico City, Oakland is 8-3 with the advantage over the Broncos. And if Kansas City beats Denver they maintain the lead. Both primetime matchups look fun and could affect playoff seeding down the road, I’m excited.
  • Do not sleep on the Dolphins or Titans. Miami has a favorable schedule remaining: @LA, SF, @BAL, ARI, @NYJ, @BUF and NE. If any of the three AFC West teams fall off, the Dolphins have the best chance to take their place. Their offensive line dramatically improved from where they were earlier in the season and they have played sound football defensively in the past few weeks. Assuming everything plays out how they need it, Miami could sneak in the wild card during the final weeks of the season. Although I do not think the Titans can grab a wildcard spot, the AFC South seems to be theirs for the taking. Houston currently holds a game and a half lead over Tennessee, but the Texans’ shaky quarterback play leads me to believe they can’t keep putting together wins. The Titans have scored 118 points in their last three contests, including an impressive win over Green Bay last Sunday. Their defense has been spotty, but if Mariota and the offense keeps rolling the South will be theirs.

NFC

  • The Seahawks showed again on Sunday night why they should never be doubted. Many people believed that New England would be too much for Seattle to handle. Those sentiments weren’t unreasonable, after all, Tom Brady came into the game on fire and the Patriots touted the best record in the NFL at 7-1. However, none of that matter to the players in the Seahawks locker room. They came into the game determined to make a statement to everyone in the league and they did just that. Now here comes the second-half surge that we see every season. And for the fifth season in a row everyone is starting to fear the Seattle Seahawks. They are on a mission and I would not want to be in their way. Next up: Philadelphia.
  • Seattle wasn’t the only team on Sunday who had an impressive win over an AFC competitor. The Cowboys are playing great football and they’ve officially completed the peaceful transition of power from Tony Romo to Dak Prescott. Ezekiel Elliott is probably the current frontrunner for MVP and the offensive line is continuing to play at a remarkable clip. The lone pitfall for Dallas is the defense. The ‘Boys may be able to lock up the 1 seed, but if they come across a hot Atlanta or Giants team in the playoffs, their season may end before Jerry Jones is ready.
  • The rest of the NFC is unpredictable. Atlanta can still lose the South, who even knows what’s happening in the North and every team in the East is good and would make sense in the playoffs. Two teams are 5-4, Arizona is 4-4-1 and four teams are 4-5, there are so many possibilities left, it’s a great time for people who enjoy playoff race drama.

Draft Order

(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, tiebreakers occur in the following order: conference record, division record and if the teams are from different conferences, a coinflip is used.)A Guide for the Rooting Man (Or Woman)

A Rooting Guide for the 12s

Saints (4-5) at Panthers (3-6)

  • To me this game has the feeling of whichever team loses, their playoff hopes are all but doomed. Personally, I’d like to see Carolina continue to lose game after game, but this game will have minimal to no affect on Seattle so this game is a pick’em.

Root For: Toss Up

Cardinals (4-4-1) at Vikings (5-4)

  • San Francisco was so close to creating a three game gap between the Seahawks and Cardinals, but alas. Minnesota is on a four game skid thanks to an atrocious offense and particularly week offensive line. Arizona has played poorly too. Their four wins comes against the 49ers (twice), Jets and Buccaneers. They’re team is still talented despite the poor start to the season, so a midseason comeback into the playoff race isn’t unlikely. A loss, however, would seem to be too big of a hole to dig out of. Here’s to Sam Bradford.

Root For: Vikings

Bears (2-7) at Giants (6-3)

  • Chicago delivered a win over Minnesota three weeks ago that helped the Seahawks. A win over the Giants wouldn’t affect Seattle directly, but I like my wild card teams to have as many losses as possible.

Root For: Bears

Ravens (5-4) at Cowboys (8-1)

  • I wouldn’t be surprised if Baltimore can sneak this game out. Their defense can make stops and apply some pressure to the quarterback (unlike Pittsburgh). Joe Flacco’s offense isn’t the most tantalizing, but his offense is capable of scoring on Dallas. If the Ravens defense can turn touchdowns into field goals there’s a high probability we’ll be mentioning a Baltimore victory next week.

Root For: Ravens

Jaguars (2-7) at Lions (5-4)

  • I have the least amount of confidence in this matchup. Jacksonville has played poor football all year and there are no signs of that slowing down. On the opposite side, Matt Stafford is playing great football this year and he should have little trouble throwing on the Jaguars. There’s a reason they say, “Any Given Sunday” it just won’t be this Sunday.

Root For: Jaguars

Dolphins (5-4) at Rams (4-5)

  • Miami comes into this game as one of the hottest teams. They’ve won their last four games thanks to improved offensive line play and the emergence of second-year running back Jay Ajayi. The defense has started to show signs of life as well; they intercepted Philip Rivers four times in the 4th quarter last week. The Dolphins are also blessed with this game being Jared Goff’s first career start. I think Ndamukong Suh and the rest of the defensive line will put immense pressure on Goff and force him into costly mistakes.

Root For: Dolphins

Packers (4-5) at Redskins (5-3-1)

  • Along with the Saints-Panthers game, I think this game comes down to preference. If you like to watch the weekly demise of the Packers, then root for the Redskins. But if you prefer Week 17 to be an assortment of 10-6/9-7 teams battling for the last spot, root for the Packers.

Root For: Toss Up

Remaining Games

Bills (4-5) at Bengals (3-5-1)

Steelers (4-5) at Browns (0-10)

Buccaneers (4-5) at Chiefs (7-2)

Titans (5-5) at Colts (4-5)

Patriots (7-2) at 49ers (1-8)

Texans (6-3) at Raiders (7-2) (Mexico City)

I hope to see you all next week, talking about a Seahawks team that is a half game out of the conference lead.

Go Hawks!