The Lookaround was like 15% more helpful in the first 10 games of the season because the Seahawks had only one divisional game until Week 12 and are now entering the most important part of their schedule, but there's still plenty of NFL business to keep an eye on because Seattle is fighting for a wild card spot at least as much as they are the division.
Though it's not like they should forget about the division.
The Seahawks 19-3 win over the Cardinals on Sunday (which could have been 26-3 with just a little bit of greed) assured that Pete Carroll's team is far from collapsing after their Super Bowl season and also closed the gap to two games in the NFC West. That's still a considerable gap with only five games to go but how much is it really going to take for Seattle to find themselves with another division title (what would be their eighth since the 2002 realignment) this year?
Either a lot or a little depending on how you weigh it, because the Seahawks play the Cards again in Week 16 and still have two games left against the 49ers, the first of which takes place in just four days. From Lookaround to Lookahead:
- Arizona's final five games are at Atlanta, Kansas City, at St. Louis, Seattle, at San Francisco.
- San Francisco's final five are Seattle, at Oakland, at Seattle, San Diego, Arizona
The Niners have arguably the easiest schedule between the three teams but "easy" is only relative to the fact that it really only matters who wins those two games in the the next three weeks. If the Seahawks or 49ers come away with a sweep, they'll essentially be dusting away the other team's playoff chances. If they split, then San Francisco probably does have an advantage. But who cares?
Seattle is the defending Super Bowl champions. It's no time to be whining about "advantages." They just need to win their own games and that'll take care of the rest.
49ers 17, Redskins 13
Take solace in the fact that it was fairly difficult for the 7-4 Niners to beat the 3-8 Redskins at home. It wasn't even until 2:59 left in the game that Carlos Hyde gave San Francisco the lead that would become the final score. If it weren't for the fact that Robert Griffin III looks like the fourth or fifth in a line of clones of the original RGIII (in a "Multiplicity" scenario) then Washington would have probably won this game.
Colin Kaepernick was 20-of-29 for 256 yards, one touchdown, one interception, but that sort of masks the fact that Kaep and the 49ers offense is rather blase this season. Let's not forget that he has a career passer rating of 53.4 against the Seahawks with two touchdowns and five interceptions. Even if he's won both home games against Seattle, he has never had a good passing game against this defense.
San Francisco didn't suffer many injuries this week that I know of other than backup tight end Derek Carrier, which is significant in the fact that they were already hurting at tight end and are now relying on Vernon Davis not getting disconnected faster than LEGOS being dropped off of a building when he meets Kam Chancellor this Thanksgiving.
The winner of SEA-SFO will move to 8-4 and have a very, very solid chance of making the playoffs. The loser will drop to 7-5 and still have a decent chance of surviving.
Just remember that this game is in San Francisco so if the Seahawks can "steal" this one, then the 49ers will have to pull off the unthinkable and win in the Clink to even the score in three weeks.
St. Louis continues to demoralize themselves, this time with Shaun Hill throwing a game-losing interception inside the 10-yard line of San Diego to end the game when all they needed was a field goal to send it to overtime. Many people will point to a "bogus" penalty on Tavon Austin's punt return as to why the Rams lost this game, but unlike what you'd want to do at a pretzel factory, don't get it twisted.
Austin's punt return ended inside the 10-yard line. A few plays later, Kenny Britt made a spectacular catch inside the 10 to set the Rams up with basically the exact same situation and Hill still blew it. That's why St. Louis is now 4-7.
That's a good thing for Seattle and San Francisco, because the Rams have the easiest remaining schedule: They face the Raiders, Redskins, Cardinals, Giants, and Seahawks, with three of those games coming at home. Had they won this week, they might have gotten to 7-6 with three games to go.
Not so much anymore. Thanks, St. Louis.
Should Seattle find themselves the victor this Thanksgiving, they may very well be secured in the five-seed. (This may be a fact actually, but I don't care to confirm right now.) Well, the five seed is quite the precarious position.
Atlanta's loss drops them to 4-7 and they wait for the result of the Saints game on Monday night against the 6-4 Baltimore Ravens. Should Baltimore win (and they probably should) then New Orleans will drop to 4-7 and keep the Falcons in first place. At 4-7.
The Falcons are now 4-0 in the NFC South and 0-7 against anyone else, with the Cardinals on deck next week. The 3-7-1 Carolina Panthers have a bye week but are also very much in contention for the NFC South and it seems like a closing certainty that the winner of that division will have a losing record.
Okay, it's been nigh on two or three weeks that everyone has felt like they're the first to point out that the Seahawks could be a Super Bowl-defending Wild Card to the Saints losing-record-division-champion, but rather than focus on the nostalgic, cosmic wonder of fate, let's check on the facts:
The 5-seed is gonna have a hell of an advantage.
The winner of the NFC South is certainly going to be a really, really bad team and the three seed might end up being the winner of the NFC East. Well, the Cowboys already beat the Seahawks in Seattle. I am not sure I'd want to find out what happens in Dallas.
Nor would they want to travel across the country to Philadelphia (again) compared to a game in Atlanta, Carolina, or New Orleans.
So who do you root for?
Uhhh ... The Seahawks, of course.
Just a quick note:
Dan Quinn is a Super Bowl-winning defensive coordinator and who knows, maybe his resume gets even better than that by next February. He certainly seems like a coach that is going to be getting some interviews next year (though I suspect there will be fewer jobs available than usual) but is it possible a former "Carroll disciple" could hurt his chances.
Or help them?
Gus Bradley's Jags dropped to 1-10 this week and Blake Bortles looks so far out of his element that you have to wonder if Bradley could catch any flack for putting him out there so soon ... unless he was pressured to do so, in which case, he'll still fall on the stake for it.
Bortles threw another pick on Sunday, meaning he has yet to play in a game in which he hasn't thrown at least one interception. If Jacksonville ended the season at 2-14 or so, very few coaches have survived winning just six games in their first two seasons. I'm not saying that Bradley is entirely to blame for this awfulness, but he might end up being the scapegoat anyway because who else is going to take the blame for it? Not the rookie quarterback or the GM that drafted him.
Maybe it's nothing, but Gus needs to a morale injection just like he got at the end of last year or maybe he'll have to swap places with Quinny.
In other news, TY Hilton tried to express how happy he was to become a father just hours before having another big game for the Colts:
Cowboys 31, Giants 28
This just in: Dallas wins and moves to 8-3. The Eagles also won and improved to 8-3.
Dallas and Philly meet on Thursday, just hours before Seattle and San Francisco kickoff.