Welcome to Seahawks Semantics Week 13
The Seahawks dropped a game this week mainly due to their putrid offensive line. Now, with a half game lead over the third seed Detroit and fourth seed Atlanta, they must find a way to regain separation in the conference.
Let’s get started.
NFC West Week 12 Roundup
Rams at Saints
- This game was fun to watch. The Rams actually didn’t play terrible the whole game, despite what the 21-49 score would lead you to believe. Jared Goff improved on his first start by recording 214 yards, three touchdowns and one interception with a 62.5 completion percentage. Los Angeles faced a 21-28 halftime deficit and looked like they could hang with the Saints. Then the second-half started. Any hope LA had was wiped away as New Orleans dropped 21 more points and prevented the Rams from scoring at all. Drew Brees was superb. Jeff Fisher and Gregg Williams got into a shouting match. Los Angeles is 4-7. And I am happy.
Cardinals at Falcons
- As the Cardinals scored on the first drive of the game I thought, “Hmm, I wonder if Arizona can steal this game and make a late wild card push?” I was wrong. After their initial start, Arizona looked disinterested on both sides of the ball. The defense gave up several big plays and let Taylor Gabriel have a career day. The offense returned the favor from the defense and proceeded to deliver two field goals in first half and a garbage time touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals are on the verge of missing the playoffs and have to deal with aging and losing key components to free agency this offseason. I think we saw the peak of Bruce Arians’ Arizona Cardinals in 2015.
49ers at Dolphins
- San Francisco played a competitive game and that’s all you can ask for when your team has little talent and boasts a 1-10 record. Colin Kaepernick was able to march down the field with his team down 7 and give them a shot to send it to overtime. With the ball on the 6 yard line, Kaepernick tucked the ball and took off, however he was caught from behind by a Dolphins defender and San Francisco was handed their 9th straight loss.
(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.)
Teams below the red line have been officially eliminated from playoff contention.
- The race for the first seed in the AFC is heating up. New England and Oakland are clearly the two favorites for the top spot and home-field advantage. Earning top billing could come down to which team has the easier path ahead. The Patriots remaining schedule goes as follows: back-to-back home games against LA and Baltimore, @Denver, home against the Jets and @Dolphins. New England’s challenging schedule comes with the added bonus of a Gronk-less receiving corps. The NFL’s top tight-end will have surgery on his back and be out for approximately 8 weeks. For Oakland, they go up against Buffalo at home, then @KC, @San Diego, home versus Indianapolis and @Denver. The Raiders also face a tough bout as three of their last four games are against divisional opponents and on top of that, they’re all away games. Whichever team takes the top spot, they’ll certainly be battle tested for the playoffs.
- Four weeks out from the last regular season Sunday of the year and a myriad of teams can still get into the wild card. The Ravens, Texans, Chiefs, Dolphins, Broncos, Steelers, Bills, Titans, Colts and Chargers all have a chance to make or miss the playoffs. The Bengals, Jets and Jaguars haven’t been mathematically eliminated, but the stars will have to align and open a vortex that sucks up the rest of the AFC for any one of those teams to make it. Arguably the most exciting part of NFL football is the final few weeks when teams need a crazy sequence of events to occur for them to clinch the playoffs. This season is looking like it will deliver on Week 17 anxiety.
- Tampa Bay rocked Seattle and dropped the Seahawks to 7-3-1. Seattle has only a half game lead over Detroit and Atlanta going into Week 13. This means that the Seahawks will have to at least match what the Falcons and Lions do over the last month of the season. I am confident the Seahawks can deliver on this. If they can overcome their biggest hurdle, the offensive line, I think Seattle will win out the regular season. Detroit has trailed in every fourth quarter this year, so expect at least one or two losses in the coming weeks. The Falcons have lost their best secondary player, Desmond Trufant, to a pectoral injury and face a tough Chiefs team this week. Atlanta closes out the season against Carolina and New Orleans, so I’d imagine the Falcons drop one of the NFC South games to close out the year. No matter what Detroit or Atlanta do in the next month though, the Seahawks still control their destiny to a divisional round home game.
- Just like the AFC, the NFC wild card race looks like it will offer some drama in December. The Redskins, Buccaneers, Vikings, Saints, Packers and Eagles all have a chance to make a run and clinch a wild card spot. In the NFC North and South, the division races could be completely different in two weeks if Atlanta and Detroit choke. December is going to be a fun a month for football fans.
A Rooting Guide for the 12s
Cowboys (10-1) at Vikings (6-5)
- The Seahawks loss last Sunday felt like it ruined their chances of getting complete home-field advantage in the NFC. An upset win at home from Minnesota would go a long way in keeping Seattle’s hopes alive for a few more weeks.
Root For: Vikings
Lions (7-4) at Saints (5-6)
- Detroit is too close for comfort in the standings. A loss would take some pressure off the Seahawks and widen the gap between the second and third seeds. The Saints have the ability to put up points on this average Lions’ defense, but if this game is close in the fourth, I’ll be fearful for yet another Matthew Stafford comeback.
Root For: Saints
Rams (4-7) at Patriots (9-2)
- Bury Jeff Fisher. Bury the Rams.
Root For: Patriots
Texans (6-5) at Packers (5-6)
- Right now Green Bay doesn’t pose a threat to Seattle, but Houston can help ensure that the Packers never pose a threat. I’m not confident about Brock Osweiler and the measly Texans’ offense out-pacing Aaron Rodgers, however, Marcus Mariota and the Titans put up 47 on Green Bay so anything is possible.
Root For: Texans
Chiefs (8-3) at Falcons (7-4)
- Just like the Lions, a Falcons loss would keep Atlanta from taking the Seahawks spot in the playoff standings and possibly widen the gap. The Chiefs talented defense and efficient offense should be enough to outlast the Atlanta aerial attack.
Root For: Chiefs
Buccaneers (6-5) at Chargers (5-6)
- AFC over NFC. Also, I like when teams that beat Seattle drop a game the following week. A Chargers win would also keep them in contention for the AFC playoffs. A loss in this battle could ruin either team’s chance of making the playoffs. Expect this game to be hard-fought and entertaining.
Root For: Chargers
Giants (8-3) at Steelers (6-5)
- It’s always nice for the wild card teams to have a lower record than the divisional leaders. Luckily for Seattle, Dallas doesn’t look like they will let go of the division any time soon. Just for insurance though, the Steelers need to emerge victorious on Sunday afternoon.
Root For: Steelers
Redskins (6-4-1) at Cardinals (4-6-1)
- This game is similar to the one above. However, if the Redskins win and Seattle loses both teams would be at 7-4-1. Normally that would give fans concern, but in this case it shouldn’t. If both teams are tied, Washington will still be third in their division and fighting to stay alive in the wild card race. Dallas being at 10-1 actually helps Seattle here. The worst thing about Seattle going 7-4-1 would be that they potentially drop to the third of fourth seed. The most important part is the Seahawks would still hold a three game lead over Arizona heading into Week 14. Win the division and then worry about the rest.
Root For: Redskins
Broncos (7-4) at Jaguars (2-9)
49ers (1-10) at Bears (2-9)
Eagles (5-6) at Bengals (3-7-1)
Bills (6-5) at Raiders (9-2)
Colts (5-6) at Jets (3-8)
Hopefully the Seahawks have increased their conference and divisional lead when we reconvene next week. See you then.