Gobble gobble, y’all. Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to Week 12 of Seahawks Semantics.
Injuries stacked up for the Seahawks in their impressive 26-15 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Breakout back C.J. Prosise’s injury will keep him out until playoff time and defensive backs Earl Thomas III and DeShawn Shead suffered hamstring injuries that could keep them out 10-14 days. All that said, the Seahawks are on a tear and they roll into Tampa Bay this week to take on the Buccaneers.
Let’s get started.
NFC West Week 11 Roundup
Dolphins at Rams
- Jared Goff’s debut was anything but spectacular. The first-overall pick of the 2016 draft boasted 134 yards on 17-31 passing with a completion percentage of 54.8. Goff also finished 0-5 on passing 10 yards or more. Despite the rookie’s average debut, Los Angeles held a 10-0 lead late into the fourth quarter. In typical Rams fashion, however, the Dolphins led a comeback and grabbed the lead in the waning moments of the game. Los Angeles is now 4-6, three games behind in the division and with little postseason hope.
Cardinals at Vikings
- Defense and special teams gave the Vikings a much needed 30-24 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Xavier Rhodes picked off Carson Palmer in the red-zone and returned it for a 100-yard score. Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson returned the opening kickoff of the second half for Minnesota’s second 100-yard touchdown of the day. The Vikings win keeps them alive in the wild card race and tied with the Lions for the lead in the NFC North. As an added benefit to Seahawks fans, Minnesota helped to give Seattle a three game lead over Arizona in the NFC West.
Patriots at 49ers
- San Francisco only trailed 13-10 at halftime, despite the clear difference in talent. After a scoreless third quarter, the Patriots were able to take a commanding lead with two touchdown drives and a field goal in the fourth. Bill Belicheck’s squad earned their 8th win of the year and the 49ers continued down the road to a top 5 draft pick.
(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.)
- The Oakland Raiders are the number one seed in the AFC, even if only for a week. Really this is an incredible feet when you consider that in Week 11 of the 2014 season, Oakland was 0-10. Derek Carr looks like an MVP candidate and Black-Jack Del Rio is rolling. To me, the Raiders look like the team with the best shot to take down New England. Their offense is more than capable of putting points on the Patriots defense and the defense is adequate enough to occasionally stop Brady and the offense. If not New England, this is the team I want Seattle to face in the Super Bowl.
- Miami looks like they belong in the playoff conversation. Sunday’s come-from-behind win over Los Angeles is the type of tough win playoff-caliber teams need to validate themselves. A slip up from either Kansas City or Denver looks like it would be enough for the Dolphins to sneak in the wild-card.
- Sure the win came against the Browns, but I think Sunday’s performance from the Pittsburgh Steelers demonstrates how superior they are to Cleveland. The offense put points on the board now that Ben Roethlisberger is fully healthy and the defense prevented Cleveland from getting in the end-zone. Baltimore will stick around, but it looks like the Christmas Day matchup between the Ravens and Steelers will determine the AFC North.
- Seattle is coming together at the right time. This coming Sunday’s matchup at Tampa Bay looks to me like the hardest remaining game on the schedule. If they can handle this game cross-country without Earl Thomas and DeShawn Shead, then I don’t see a reason to worry about any matchup for the Seahawks, regular season or playoffs. The Seahawks are the best team in the NFL and they’re ready for anybody.
- The Cowboys offense looks remarkable. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and the rest of the offense had little trouble with the Ravens top ranked run defense. Dallas’ remaining schedule consists of home against Washington, @Minnesota, @Giants, home against Tampa Bay and Detroit and @Eagles. I think there’s a good chance that they drop one of their remaining division games and hopefully one more along the way. If Dallas keeps rolling, then I’ll be more than happy to watch the Seahawks walk into AT&T Stadium.
- The Giants and Redskins look like the two wild card teams. New York is 7-3 and I think 10 wins is all they’ll need to grab a spot this year. Washington’s offense is looking great right now. Coupled with their solid defense, this could be the team that makes it further than expected in January.
(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 Rooting Guide for the 12s
Vikings (6-4) at Lions (6-4)
- Really this is a tossup. Each team has their deficiencies—Minnesota’s O-line and Detroit’s defense—and they share three opponents on their schedules. I think I’ll go with Detroit as a Minnesota win this week and next week against Dallas could make things interesting for the Seahawks, if Seattle were to slip up in their schedule. Also, Detroit ends their schedule @Giants, @Cowboys, and a home finale against Green Bay. Minnesota’s last three games include a home game against the Colts, @Green Bay and home against Chicago. Therefore, Minnesota needs to stack a few more losses now before they coast into the homestretch of the season.
Root For: Lions
Redskins (6-3-1) at Cowboys (9-1)
- This is probably the most anticipated Thanksgiving game for Seahawks fans. Washington is playing great football, just look at their Sunday night statement against Green Bay. A Redskins victory would put the Cowboys just one game in front of Seattle and assuming the Seahawks take care of business against Tampa Bay, then Seattle will be just a half game behind Dallas.
Root For: Redskins
Rams (4-6) at Saints (4-6)
- So far this season Los Angeles hasn’t faired well against passing teams. Fortunately, the Saints just happen to have a great passing offense. A Rams loss would all but end their playoff aspirations.
Root For: Saints
Cardinals (4-5-1) at Falcons (6-4)
- The Seahawks have the largest divisional game lead in the NFL. If Atlanta could drop the Cardinals to 4-6-1, Seattle would be looking at a free path to the NFC West title. The Seahawks 1.5 game lead over Atlanta allows a Falcons win to not be too concerning either.
Root For: Falcons
Giants (7-3) at Browns (0-11)
- I don’t expect this to happen.
Root For: Browns
Panthers (4-6) at Raiders (8-2)
- Oakland has played in several close games this year, so it wouldn’t be a shock for this game to follow suit. A Raiders win would put the Panthers virtually out of playoff contention, make the NFC picture clearer and satisfy Seahawks fans.
Root For: Raiders
Packers (4-6) at Eagles (5-5)
- It’s fun to watch the NFC beat up on each other while 5 teams compete for the last wildcard spot. Green Bay could also get out of their current funk with a solid road win against Philadelphia.
Root For: Packers
Steelers (5-5) at Colts (5-5)
Titans (5-6) at Bears (2-8)
Chargers (4-6) at Texans (6-4)
Jaguars (2-8) at Bills (5-5)
Bengals (3-6-1) at Ravens (5-5)
49ers (1-9) at Dolphins (6-4)
Patriots (8-2) at Jets (3-7)
Chiefs (7-3) at Broncos (7-3)
Just like last week, I hope we can come back next week and discuss what needs to happen for the Seahawks to take the first seed in the NFC.
Enjoy your day and Go Hawks!