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12 Thoughts about Week 13 and the Seahawks ‘must win’ game in Dallas

A collection of FTR thoughts that weren’t turned into their own articles ...

I’m going to skip the intro and jump into the Seattle Seahawks thoughts.

Thought No. 1

A month ago today, the Seahawks pulled out a 4-point win against the Cleveland Browns and improved their record to 5-2.

That seems so, so, so long ago.

Thought No. 2

On Thursday night, the Seahawks face a Dallas Cowboys team that hasn’t lost at home since Week 1 of the 2022 season.

That was 444 days ago (445 days at kickoff).

In their five home games this year, the Cowboys have outscored their opponents by an average of 29 points per game.

  • Points scored: 30, 38, 43, 49, 45 . . . total = 205 points
  • Points allowed: 10, 3, 20, 17, 10 . . . total = 60 points

Of course, their opponents in those games were the New York Jets (30-10), New England Patriots (38-3), Los Angeles Rams (43-20), New York Giants (49-17), and Washington Commanders (45-10), so . . . not exactly a murderer’s row of high-powered offenses and/or stingy defenses.

Thought No. 3

Despite their loss against the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving night, the Seahawks are still 19 games over .500 in primetime games under Pete Carroll (34-15-1).

Can this year’s team hang their helmet on that?

No, they cannot.

Unless they beat the Cowboys Thursday night.

Then they kind of can since they’d be 2-1 in primetime this season with a very real possibility of having another game flexed into a primetime slot before year’s end.

Thought No. 4

The Philadelphia Eagles host the 49ers on Sunday afternoon in a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game.

Go Eagles!

A hundred times more so if the Seahawks upset the Cowboys on Thursday night.


Thought No. 5

Imagine for a moment what the rematch with the 49ers looks like next week if Seattle wins this week and Santa Clara loses . . .

A longshot? Sure.

In part because, even with the chance to knot up the division record-wise, the NFC West lead wouldn’t be on the line in Santa Clara.

In fact, ESPN’s Football Power Index currently puts Seattle’s chances of winning the division title at 0.7%.

But if everything went perfectly over the next ten days, the Seahawks and 49ers would both be 8-5 with four games to go - which, all things considered, would be C-R-A-Z-Y.

Thought No. 6

Let’s explore crazy for a moment . . .

If the playoffs started today, the Minnesota Vikings would be the 7th-seed, which is completely crazy since they started the season 1-4.

They’ve lost their last two games by a combined 3 points (21-20 and 12-10) but in between their rough start and recent losses, they had a 5-game win streak.

Even crazier . . .

The Denver Broncos fell to 0-3 after getting plastered by the Miami Dolphins (70-20) in Week 3, dropped to 1-5 after losing two of their next three games, then . . . ripped off five straight wins against the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings, and Cleveland Browns.

Russell Wilson & Co. are still on the outside looking in, playoff-wise, but that could change this week if they beat the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts fall to the Tennessee Titans. In fact, the “Let’s ride!” crew could climb as high as No. 6 if all of that happens and the Arizona Cardinals beat the Cleveland Browns.


Thought No. 7

Let’s take crazy a step further . . .

If Seattle wins their next two games (at Dallas, at Santa Clara) and the Cowboys lose their next two (vs. Seattle, vs. Philadelphia), Seattle would replace Dallas as the 5th seed.

While a division title would guarantee at least one home playoff game, the No. 5 seed might actually be the preferred outcome for Seattle since it would mean a wildcard game against whichever subpar team wins the NFC South.

Note: The Atlanta Falcons are currently the division leader with record of 5-6.

Just as importantly, the fifth seed would set up a showdown with the Eagles in the division round (unless something crazy happens and Philly coughs up their 2-game lead in the chase for the No. 1 seed).

Remember, I did say that I was going to take crazy a step further.

As I see it, if the Seahawks DO make the playoffs, there are two preferred first round matchups: either the NFC South champ or the Lions, who Seattle has beaten this year (and last year).

In the division round, there’s only one preferred matchup and that’s the Eagles because, despite their 10-1 record, they’re very, very beatable.

Doubt that?

Their wins this year have been by 5, 6, 14, 3, 9, 14, 7, 5, 4, and 3 points, and both of the 3-point wins were in overtime.

Thought No. 8

Optimism can only take one so far.

To get the rest of the way to full-blown delusion requires the 2023 NFL Playoff Machine.

I won’t bore you with the scenarios, but there are definitely some ways for the Seahawks to unseat the 49ers as the NFC West champs . . .

Even if Seattle doesn’t win out.

The Seahawks definitely need to win two of their next three games though, and one of those wins has to be next week in Santa Clara.

Also . . . the 12s would probably need to become Rams fans in Week 18.

Thought No. 9

It’s been a little while since I looked at Tyler Lockett’s receiving line and projected his season totals.

Warning: It ain’t good for those, like myself, who are hoping Lockett tops 1,000 yards for the fifth straight season.

Through the first eleven games, Lockett has 54 receptions for 575 yards and 4 touchdowns which puts him on pace for 83 or 84 receptions for 889 yards.

That’s an improvement over the 72 receptions and 667 yards that I projected for him in Week 5, but it’s a slight decrease from the 899 yards that I projected for him at the beginning of November, and . . .

Time is running out.

As things stand right now, Lockett needs to average roughly 71 yards a game over the final six weeks. That’s doable (he averaged 73.4 per game in 2021), but it’s also something of a tall order given how the season has progressed thus far.

Thought No. 10

Interestingly, DK Metcalf has 103 more yards than Lockett right now, despite having 11 fewer receptions.

And it isn’t because he’s getting a lot more targets . . .

  • Lockett: 79 targets in 11 games
  • Metcalf: 80 in 10

Extrapolating that into targets per game gives us an 8.0 to 7.2 advantage for Metcalf which means we could/would/should expect Metcalf to get targeted 48 times over the final 6 games while Lockett gets targeted 43 times.

Again, not a big advantage in targets.

Thought No. 11

When Seattle entered their Week 5 bye, Jaxon Smith-Njigba (JSN) had 12 receptions on 20 targets (60%) for 62 yards (5.2 average) with 0 touchdowns.

His season projection at that point was 51 receptions for 264 yards.

The receptions would be quite respectable for a No. 3 receiver but the yards would have left a lot to be desired.

Over the last seven games, JSN has caught 26 of the 37 passes thrown to him (70.3%) for 344 yards (13.2 average) with 2 touchdowns (including one on a wide receiver screen!!).

With six games remaining, JSN projects to somewhere in the neighborhood of 59 to 61 receptions for 690 to 700 yards (depending on how one does the calculations).

For context, Seattle’s third-leading receiver has averaged 32.3 receptions and 417.4 yards per season since 2010.

Tyler Lockett was the most prolific of the bunch, recording 51 receptions for 664 yards in 2015 and 45 receptions for 555 yards in 2017. Jermaine Kearse (2016) is the only other No. 3 wideout to top 40 receptions and/or 500 yards.

Here’s the full list:

  • 2022: Marquise Goodwin: 27 receptions for 387 yards
  • 2021: Freddie Swain: 25 for 343
  • 2020: David Moore: 35 for 417
  • 2019: David Moore: 17 for 301
  • 2018: David Moore: 26 for 445
  • 2017: Tyler Lockett: 45 for 555
  • 2016: Jermaine Kearse: 41 for 510
  • 2015: Tyler Lockett: 51 for 664
  • 2014: Paul Richardson: 29 for 271
  • 2013: Jermaine Kearse: 22 for 346
  • 2012: Doug Baldwin: 29 for 366
  • 2011: Ben Obomanu: 37 for 436
  • 2010: Deon Butler: 36 for 385

Thought No. 12

The last time I checked, Seattle was a 9-point underdog this week.

In Week 3, the Texans went into Jacksonville as 9-point underdogs and won by 20 points. Four weeks later, the Patriots beat the Bills (by 4 points) as 9-point underdogs at home.

So it does happen.

And the Cowboys aren’t invincible.

The same week the Texans won as 9-point road ‘dogs, the Cowboys lost as 12-point favorites at State Farm Stadium and gave the Cardinals their only win in the season’s first two months.

Bottom line: Whatever happens against the Cowboys this week, the Niners next week, and the Eagles the week after that, I’m going to remain optimistic.

I’m going to choose to believe.

Go Hawks!