Seattle Seahawks: What You Need to Know Heading into Week 9

Keith Myers@@myersNFLContributor IOctober 30, 2013

Oct 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (right) with head coach Pete Carroll in the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It was a fascinating Week 8 for the Seattle Seahawks. The team keeps finding ways to win despite playing poorly, and Monday night's difficult-to-watch 14-9 victory was no exception. 

Seattle has a short week this week to try and figure out what happened to its offense and if there is any way to fix it.

Luckily for the Seahawks, their next game is at home against the 0-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. After playing four of their last five games on the road, the Seahawks get a home game against a weak opponent that might be just what Seattle needs to get back on track. 

Here is the weekly recap of all things pertaining to the Seahawks:


Division Standings

NFC West Standing
Seattle Seahawks71.87520512580
San Francisco 49ers62.75021814573
Arizona Cardinals44.500160174-14
St. Louis Rams35.375165198-33

Seattle and San Francisco both won last week, so Seattle's lead in the NFC West remains just one game. Those two teams play each other in early December in a game that looks like it will decide the division crown. 

Arizona also won last week, but the Cardinals are already three games behind Seattle in the standings. Even if Arizona were to win all of its remaining games, it is unlikely that the Cards will be able to pass both Seattle and San Francisco to win the division. 


Playoff Picture

NFC Playoff Standings
1Seattle Seahawks7-1
2New Orleans Saints6-1
3Green Bay Packers5-2
4Dallas Cowboys4-4
5San Francisco 49ers5-2
6Detroit Lion5-3
outCarolina Panthers4-3
outChicago Bears4-3
outArizona Cardinals4-4

The Seahawks currently sit alone atop the NFC as the only team with seven wins. If the Seahawks can hold on to that spot, they will play at home throughout the NFC playoffs. 

The Seahawks, Saints and 49ers still have to all play each other this season to make any possible playoff scenarios difficult at this point.

Those games also benefit teams like the Green Bay Packers, which don't have to play other teams contending for the top seed in the NFC. With the other conference heavyweights beating up on each other, the Packers have a clear advantage in the fight for NFC playoff seeding. 


Injury Update

Significant Injuries For Week 9
PlayerInjuryLikelihood of Playing
Sidney RiceKneeNone - Out for the Year
Percy HarvinHipFairly High
Jeron JohnsonHamstringVery Low
Derrick ColemanHamstringVery Low
Pete Carroll pressers, Pro Football Talk

With the Seahawks playing on Monday Night Football last week, there was no Pete Carroll press conference on Tuesday to provide updates on the team's injury situation. Such updates come from Carroll's postgame press conference, his press conference on Saturday, and from news reported on Tuesday. 

The Seahawks did receive the following bad news on Tuesday regarding starting wide receiver Sidney Rice: 

The Seahawks were already thin at wide receiver, so losing Rice is a big blow to Seattle's already shaky offense. The injury will put even more pressure on the Seahawks to get Percy Harvin back on the field.

Unfortunately, there has been no update on Harvin. Carroll indicated on Saturday that Harvin was not a full participant at any practice last week and that Harvin is still working on his conditioning. 

Carroll should provide a more complete injury update on Wednesday afternoon when he addresses the media. 


What Needs To Improve

The blocking by Seattle's offensive line was absolutely atrocious against the Rams on Monday night. It was so bad that describing the depth of that particular problem would take more room than is available here.

The other problem for Seattle that showed up on Monday night was its inability to stop to run. What is interesting is that it hasn't been a consistent problem for the Seahawks, who seem to alternate between looking stout against the run and struggling to stop it at all. 

The Rams had a great game plan against Seattle's run defense. They down-blocked their play-side tight ends and offensive tackles, and then pulled their guards. That changed the blocking angles for Seattle defenders Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant, preventing them from effectively using a two-gap scheme. The result were gaps that were unaccounted for in Seattle's defensive line, allowing the Rams running lanes. 

Compounding the problem were Seattle's linebackers who tried to compensate for the openings in the defensive line by leaving their assignments to try and fill those gaps. They mostly just created additional running lanes for the Rams backs to run through. 

St. Louis has now provided a template for other teams' defenses to follow. The Rams' blocking concepts worked and the Seahawks were unable to make the adjustments necessary to stop them. 

Now, it will be up to Seattle's coaches to figure out how to stop that type of blocking scheme. Until they do, every team the Seahawks play will use it against them. 


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