It was a great week for the Seattle Seahawks. They clinched a spot in the playoffs with their 34-7 blowout win over the New Orleans Saints. Seattle also moved one step closer to clinching home-field advantage in the NFC.
Here is the weekly recap of all things pertaining to the Seahawks:
|NFC West Standings|
|Team||W||L||Games Back||Pt. Dif|
|San Francisco 49ers||8||4||3||+100|
|St. Louis Rams||5||7||6||+1|
The Seahawks can clinch the NFC West title with a win in San Francisco on Sunday. If the Seahawks lose, they can still wrap up the division with a combination of either two wins or San Francisco 49ers losses in the last three weeks of the season.
|NFC Playoff Standings After Week 12|
|1||Seattle - x||11||1||NFCW|
|4||Dallas||7||5||NFCE -behind Lions due to head to head win %|
|5||Carolina||9||3||behind Saints due to head to head win %|
|7||Philadelphia||7||5||behind Dallas due to head to head win %|
|8||Arizona||7||5||behind Eagles due to head to head win %|
A complete breakdown of all the playoff scenarios regarding the Seahawks was published after the game on Monday. The summary is simple: If the Seahawks win two out of their final four games, they'll clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
The Seahawks suffered just one injury on Monday. Tight end Kellen Davis left the game with a concussion according to the official Seahawks' Twitter feed.
The only other injury news for Seattle was the continued problems for wide receiver Percy Harvin. Harvin reportedly had "a little procedure" on his hip during the bye week, according to Liz Mathews of ESPN Radio 710 in Seattle (via Chris Roling of Bleacher Report).
Head coach Pete Carroll is optimistic Harvin could play this week against San Francisco, according to ESPN's Terry Blount. It remains a wait-and-see game with Harvin and his surgically repaired hip.
What Must Improve
After a blowout win over a quality opponent like the Saints, any criticism feels like nitpicking. Still, the performance by Seattle wasn't perfect, and there was one area where considerable improvement is possible.
The Seahawks' run blocking over the last two games hasn't been up to Seattle's usual standard. Running back Marshawn Lynch rushed for just 2.8 yards per carry and was dealing with defenders in the backfield on almost every run.
That performance followed another subpar game rushing the football. Before the bye, Lynch averaged just 3.2 yards per carry against the Minnesota Vikings. Neither Minnesota nor New Orleans are particularly adept at stopping the run, which indicates that this is a potential problem for the Seahawks in their quest for a Super Bowl.
The onset of the problems in run blocking coincides with the return of starting offensive tackles Breno Giacomini and Russell Okung from injuries. So while the pass blocking has been much-improved in those two games, the run blocking has taken a major step backward.
There is reason for hope, though. Both tackles were known for being decent run-blockers last year. The zone-blocking scheme employed by the Seahawks isn't easy to just jump into. It takes practice to get all the elements right, and Seattle's tackles haven't been able to get in much work this season.
It is a fairly safe assumption that the run blocking will get better as the offensive line plays together as a unit in the coming weeks.
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