The Seattle Seahawks are going back to the playoffs. Will they be satisfied with that fact alone, or are they going to go all-in to try and beat the Arizona Cardinals to secure themselves a better seed? The instinct I often hear from fans is that they never want to see Pete Carroll rest players, but given the injuries facing the team right now I can’t imagine it will be in their best interests to completely ignore the benefits.
That being said, a loss could also be detrimental to their chance of winning in round one.
As I wrote in the announcement of the Seahawks making the playoffs, Seattle could still drop to the six seed if they lose and the Minnesota Vikings get a win over the Chicago Bears. That’s unlikely given that the Seahawks are heavy favorites over a Cardinals team that is lining up to pick first overall next year and that the Bears are a very good team that knows it could be playing for a first round bye, but it is still possible.
And if Seattle loses, the Vikings win, that tells me that they’d be playing the Bears in Chicago rather than the Cowboys in Dallas. The matchup against the Cowboys seems more favorable.
Which players might Carroll want to consider sitting?
Well, D.J. Fluker was active but didn’t start as the team is still concerned about his injury. He was forced into action after an injury to J.R. Sweezy. Another offensive lineman on the mend is Germain Ifedi, who missed the start and was replaced by George Fant. The team probably wants to sit Fluker and Ifedi to get an extra week of rest. Then we’ll see the status of Sweezy moving forward. The question then becomes: if the team is starting Ethan Pocic and George Fant and other backups, will they want to keep Russell Wilson behind them for long?
Doug Baldwin is another question mark. He came up huge vs the Chiefs but he’s been hurt all year. Some more time off for him seems beneficial. A week off for running backs Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson seems like a conclusion that is foregone.
On the defensive side of the ball, Bradley McDougald was questionable going into the game. Jarran Reed missed some pratice this week and came out of the game against Kansas City. Frank Clark was also on the injury report, as was K.J. Wright who has missed most of 2018. Tedric Thompson missed the game and it would be surprising to see him come back against the Cardinals given that Carroll seemed a bit cryptic about his injury and he was the first player ruled out.
The Seahawks no longer need to beat Arizona to get into the playoffs, but implications still exist. Will they sit some starters, should they, and what starters are the first on your list to get a week off?