Jim Mora, Seahawks Facing Must-Win Weekend

Rob StatonCorrespondent IOctober 7, 2009

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Jim Mora of the Seattle Seahawks looks on during the game against the Chicago Bears on September 27, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Bears defeated the Seahawks 25-19. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

When Jim Mora was announced as the new Seahawks Head Coach, no doubt he had visions of making the playoffs.

He probably didn't expect to be playing playoff football in Week Five, however.

That's the situation facing Seattle ahead of a must-win game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

If the Seahawks lose, any talk of a postseason berth will all but extinguish. Three successive defeats have put a dampener on Mora's new era in the Northwest.

Expectations were suitably raised after an unbeaten preseason and a shutout victory over the St. Louis Rams in Week One.

But you only have to ask the Detroit Lions how much stock you can take from a 100 percent record in preseason. That's the record they owned prior to a 0-16 slump in 2008.

Injuries have undoubtedly played their part once again in the Seahawks' early-season struggles and they're likely to remain without Matt Hasselbeck and Walter Jones on Sunday.

Leroy Hill, Marcus Trufant, Patrick Kerney, Sean Locklear, Rob Sims, and Josh Wilson will all definitely miss out with long-term injuries.

But getting to the bye week at 3-3 has to be the target for Coach Mora, whoever suits up.

The Jaguars travel to Qwest Field on the back of a comfortable 37-17 victory over the winless Tennessee Titans. David Garrard recorded three touchdowns for an impressive 323 yards, following up another eye-catching win at Houston in Week Three.

Based on the form book alone, it's hard not to make the Jaguars big favorites.

But despite Seattle's well publicized struggles on the road, they remain a different proposition in front of a noisy 12th man.

That's what the Seahawks have to lean on for the next couple of weeks. In some ways, Qwest Field is Seattle's MVP. An equalizer of sorts, despite the team's recent poor form.

Failure to take advantage and the Seahawks face a long season ahead. But what can they do to hit back?

For starters, they need to establish a running game. Greg Knapp has organized solid ground attacks in the past, but Seattle's hasn't caused too many problems under his leadership to date.

With Hasselbeck's continued absence likely to stretch into a third week, the Seahawks might be best taking the pressure off backup Seneca Wallace and putting more responsibility on the shoulders of Julius Jones, Edgerrin James, and Justin Forsett.

In two games starting, Wallace has thrown an incredible 89 passes. That's far too much for a team missing its franchise signal caller.

It's also time for the defensive line to show up.

Patrick Kerney won't be there, but the rest have to make life difficult for David Garrard, whilst restricting the running lanes for Maurice Jones-Drew and Rashad Jennings.

This will also free up linebackers Lofa Tatupu and Aaron Curry to make plays, something they were unable to do against the Colts due to the amount of time Peyton Manning had in the pocket.

A victory will lift the spirits after last weekend's demolition in Indianapolis. The message will be "Bring on the Cardinals!" with a goal of breaking even before the bye very much achievable.

A defeat and nobody will be looking forward to the visit from Larry Fitzgerald and company.

Much was expected from the Seahawks this year. Changes in coaching, changes on the roster.

Defeat on Sunday and all that expectation will have disappeared. Season ending? Quite possibly.

Playoff football is back in Seattle this weekend. It's just not how the Seahawks intended.