Updated Game-by-Game Outlook for the Seattle Seahawks
Wilson has been playing well, but his game needs to be elevated if he wants to lead this team to the playoffs in the surprisingly impressive NFC West.
Here is a look at the rest of the season with predictions for the Seattle Seahawks.
Week 6: Patriots at Seahawks
Patriots 20, Seahawks 24
The last time these teams played, it was 2008. The quarterbacks? Matt Cassel and Seneca Wallace. The running backs? Sammy Morris and Maurice Morris. Yes, they were much different teams back then, with the Seahawks losing 24-21 on their way to a 4-12 season with the second worst defense in the league. Things have changed, though.
The Seahawks have really turned things around and now have, statistically, the best defense in the league. However, the Patriots have become much more dynamic with the inclusion of a running game. And having Hernandez back can only help a striving offense.
This weekend, Tom Brady throws for 312 yards and two touchdowns, but two interceptions prove costly in the end. Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden can't get anything done on the ground as the front seven of the Seahawks continue their dominance. The bright spot, however, is Wes Welker, as Marcus Trufant's age catches up to him in the nickel.
The Seahawks try to lean on the run, but the Patriots focus on it, with Lynch only getting 72 yards and a touchdown. Russell Wilson steps up, though, and throws for 236 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions to his name. All in all, the Seahawks barely come out of Century Link Field this weekend with a win and a 4-2 record.
Week 7: Seahawks at 49ers
Seahawks 19, 49ers 27
On a Thursday night spectacle, the Seahawks go into San Francisco with a new-found confidence from a win over the Patriots, but the 49ers bring them back down to Earth. With a defense that is equal to the Seahawks, it comes down to the offense, and the Seahawks just can't keep up.
The 49ers can't get much done on offense, but short fields lead to scores. Frank Gore is limited to 72 yards and a one-yard touchdown, but he proves important in the time management at the end. Alex Smith has 292 yards, but only gets a single touchdown.
The Seahawks lose this game by shooting themselves in the foot. Lynch breaks the 100-yard mark, but has a key fumble along with a short touchdown. Russell Wilson regresses as he has 168 yards but three costly turnovers, with one going the other way for a pick-six and another sealing the game for the 49ers as the Seahawks drop to 4-3.
Week 8: Seahawks at Lions
Seahawks 14, Lions 16
Their last game was in 2009, but I won't bore with the historical details. Although the Seahawks did win, 32-20. This year, though, the Seahawks come in as small favorites with the Lions trying to turn their seasons around.
The games MVP goes to the kicker, Jason Hanson, as he drills two 50-plus yard field goals and a poach kick, with one 53-yard kick as time expires. Stafford struggles with 250 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Richard Sherman shuts down Calvin Johnson and only allows 29 yards on two catches.
Lynch has a career game with 164 yards and a pair of touchdowns as Wilson goes back to his complimentary role with only 11 completions on 27 passes. The defense plays great, but it isn't enough, as they drop to a .500 record at 4-4.
Week 9: Vikings at Seahawks
Vikings 6, Seahawks 17
The Vikings come into Seattle with a lead in the NFC North and all the confidence in the world. They leave with second place and questions across the board. Earl Thomas becomes a nightmare for Ponder as two early picks lead them to the running game.
Wilson and Lynch don't do anything special, but Sydney Rice comes alive against his old team with 125 yards and two touchdowns with a notable 46 yards catch and run. A solid game against a good team stops the Seahawks' skid and puts them back on track with a 5-4 record.
Week 10: Jets at Seahawks
Jets 7, Seahawks 31
The NFLs newest punching bag comes to town for the first time since 2009, as the Seahawks try to go into their bye week on a high note. Not even Tebow time can help the Jets as they get kicked up and down the field. Wilson's semi-slump comes to an end as he gets his first career 300-yard game thanks to a 72-yard screen pass to Marshawn Lynch for a touchdown.
Every player on the team gets its share of action with Robert Turbin even getting 70 yards in garbage time. Defense has its way, as Sanchez gets what could be his last start for a while. The 6-4 record puts the Seahawks two games back from the 49ers as they continue their quest for a playoff berth.
Week 12: Seahawks at Dolphins
Seahawks 17, Dolphins 13
Another team that the Seahawks haven't faced since 2009, the Seahawks come in fresh off of a bye and are ready to get their seventh win. But the Dolphins don't give in easily. A tough game comes down to a Dolphins drive with a four-point deficit and time running down. But a fourth-down drop by Brian Hartline adds to the late-game woes that have plagued the Dolphins all year.
Both running backs manage the game, with each getting over 100 yards. Neither team has any notable stats, as a hard-nosed game goes back and forth, with Leon Washington's solid returns becoming key in the field position game. A big Seahawks win gets them to 7-4 and a playoff spot in sight.
Week 13: Seahawks at Bears
Seahawks 7, Bears 27
The Seahawks' three-game winning streak comes to a screeching halt as the Bears show why they are on track to win the NFC North. The Jay Cutler-Brandon Marshall connection comes alive as they combine for 13 completions for 154 yards. Forte adds to the mix with 92 yards and a touchdown as everything goes right for the Bears.
Wilson plays shaky and doesn't take any shots down field, even when they fall behind. Lynch has an average game with 81 yards and 32 receiving yards. The defense plays slow and doesn't make the plays were used to from them. The 7-5 record hurts the Seahawks' chances, but the playoff hopes are still alive and well with a decent schedule left .
Week 14: Cardinals at Seahawks
Arizona 7, Seahawks 16
A rematch of the first game of the season, this divisional game has playoff implications as two 7-5 teams square off in hostile Century Link field for an epic showdown. Arizona never really gets anything going with Kevin Kolb struggling for the entire game, which takes Larry Fitzgerald completely out of the game.
Seattle gets a great run game, with Lynch getting 103 first-half yards before leaving at halftime with back spasms. But Turbin picks up where Lynch left off with 107 yards of his own, including a 33-yard touchdown scamper. As the Seahawks move to 8-5, the playoffs are clearly in sight.
Week 15: Seahawks at Bills
Seahawks 9, Bills 6
And the award for the most boring game of the year goes to...Seahawks at Bills! Every year, the Seahawks have one of these games. But regardless of how little excitement this game has, a win is a win. No noticeable stats, so I'll keep this short. Defense plays great, Steve Hauschka does his job and hits three field goals and the Seahawks move to 9-5.
Week 16: 49ers at Seahawks
49ers 17, Seahawks 14 in overtime
Possibly the best game of the year, the 49ers need extra time to take down the Seahawks in Seattle as the Seahawks lose their chance to have a great chance at a playoff berth. Alex Smith has decent game, but Patrick Willis' forced fumble on the Seahawks' first play of overtime clinches the game, and more importantly, the division.
But the season isn't for nothing, as the Seahawks would only need a Week 17 win, as they have the tiebreaker over the Packers. 9-6 puts the Seahawks in prime position to make the playoffs as the wild-card team.
Week 17: Rams at Seahawks
Rams 13, Seahawks 16
And the playoffs are in the Seahawks' future, as they take down the Rams in a thriller that saw four lead changes. A Hail Mary on the last play is knocked down by Earl Thomas as the Seattle faithful celebrate the win and a berth in the playoffs. Richard Sherman's pick-six is the only touchdown for the Seahawks in a defensive struggle.
As the season comes to a close, the Seahawks' 10-6 record is enough to get the six seed. Unfortunately, a close loss to the NFC North Champion Bears in the Wild Card round ends a great season for the Seahawks and leaves optimism for the future.
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