Seattle Seahawks Soaring: 10 Things Team Can Be Thankful for This Thanksgiving
Despite the Seattle Seahawks' 34-19 loss this past Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, the Seahawks remain in first place in the NFC West with a one-game lead over the St. Louis Rams.
So as Thanksgiving approaches, the Seahawks and their fans have plenty to be thankful for, even with the rancid taste of a road blowout left in their mouths.
That's nothing a little turkey can't erase, and this list of things the team can be appreciative of should also help make Turkey Day an enjoyable and optimistic day of revelry in Seattle.
No. 10: Being in the NFC West
The Seattle Seahawks are leading their division with a 5-5 record.
Currently, five teams, including the Seahawks, have 5-5 records in the NFL. The Dolphins, Titans and Redskins are in third in their divisions. And the Raiders and Chargers are tied for second place in the only conference that can give the NFC West a run for its money when it comes to worst conference, the AFC West.
Fans of teams like the Saints, Falcons, Giants and Bears are cursing the entire NFC West at the moment because one team from that division is going to be making the playoffs over them despite being undeserving.
Even the Wild Cards will be pissed at the NFC West champion, because that team will have a better seed than the Wild Cards and a better shot at home-field advantage in the playoffs.
So revel in that role now Seattle and hope that you keep it, because it's better to be lucky than good.
No. 9: Having a Positive Turnover Differential
The Seahawks offense is not something to be praised. The Seahawks and their fans should not be thankful for the 29th-ranked offense in terms of yards per game and a measly 18.5 points per game.
But they can be thankful for specific things and players in the offense, and this is the first of such items on this list.
Neither the Cardinals nor the 49ers have positive turnover differentials; the Seahawks and Rams do. That's one of the reasons those two teams inhabit the upper half of the NFC West.
Granted the Seahawks' turnover differential is at just plus-one, but given the ineptitude of the Seahawks offense, their fans should be thankful that they at least take care of the ball.
No. 8: Mike Williams
This one-time NFL Draft bust is now living up to his potential under the guidance of his former college coach.
The 6'5", 235-lb receiver only has one touchdown catch, but he is the leading receiver on the Seahawks with 52 catches and 654 yards.
Those 52 catches are more than double the next closest receiver on the Seahawks. Both Deion Butler and John Carlson are tied for second on the Seahawks with 25 catches.
Williams has become indispensable to quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and made the trade of T.J. Houshmandzadeh and slow development of Golden Tate easier to endure.
NFL fans love a redemption story. The Seahawks should be thankful that they have this redemption story on their side.
No. 7: A .500 Record
Sure this kind of meshes with No. 10 on this list, as they probably wouldn't be .500 in another division, but it is, in-and-of itself, something separate for the Seahawks to be thankful for.
On top of the aforementioned dismal offensive rankings, they also rank 28th in yards allowed per game on defense and have surrendered 23.3 points per game, which is 21st in the NFL.
The Seahawks have a negative-48 point differential, something that is often the trademark of teams below .500. Teams with better point differentials and worse records than the Seahawks include the Rams, Lions, Cowboys, Texans, Bengals and Browns.
That's what happens when your team pulls off upsets against the 7-3 Bears in Chicago and an infinitely more-talented Chargers team at Qwest Field. Though perhaps it would be more accurate to say Leon Washington upset the Chargers.
A .500 record is a good place to be at 10 games in to the season when you've played the way the Seahawks have.
No. 6: Scandal at USC
Pete Carroll can say he knew nothing about the Reggie Bush recruiting scandal as much as he wants. It doesn't change the fact that it went down under his watch, which makes him negligent at best.
Nonetheless, Seahawks fans should be thankful for said scandal because it netted them a solid NFL coach.
Carroll was 33-31 in four seasons with the Jets and Patriots during the early 90's and has now proved that he is, at worst, a .500 coach in the NFL.
Now in his first season with the Seahawks, he is leading a team that will be considered overachieving if it makes the playoffs. That reflects positively on Carroll.
Then again, coaching in the NFC West, where Ken Whisenhunt has allowed the Cardinals to fall apart in the wake of Kurt Warner's retirement, Mike Singletary has screwed up so badly no amount of mooning can save his job and Steve Spagnuolo is busy trying to turn around the worst team in the NFL over the past couple of seasons, as long as Carroll doesn't end up in prison somehow he'll be considered a success in Year 1.
No. 5: A Controversy Free Season
It's been quiet in the Pacific Northwest this season.
Part of that is because of the Seahawks mediocrity. But it also has to do with a pretty ho-hum season in which the most most polarizing argument that can be made regarding the Seahawks is to point out the ridiculousness of any NFC West team making the playoffs.
Other than that, Pete Carroll and the rest of the Seahawks have been level-headed in handling their business and haven't done much to court controversy in the 2010 season.
So, while the results have been mundane, at least fans haven't had much to raise their blood pressure this season.
No. 4: Justin Forsett
Forget Marshawn Lynch. Beast Mode is overrated, if he's even rated to begin with.
Forsett has proved again and again that he is the best running back on the Seahawks roster. Now the Seahawks have to start using him with regularity.
He has run for 407 yards on 93 carries (4.4 yards per carry) and caught 24 passes for 201 yards.
If the Seahawks would just give him the ball a bit more often, maybe their offense would be more productive. Some will say the 5'8" 198 lb running back does not possess the size or durability to handle a full workload.
Maybe so, but he can definitely handle more than the 11.7 touches he's been getting per game. Be thankful for Forsett, Seattle, and show it by using him a bit more often.
No. 3: Relatively Good Health
Here's hoping that Earl Thomas, who injured his ribs against the Saints, is healthy.
The Seahawks need him if they are going to hold on to first place in the NFC West. And they need the run of relatively good health to continue. The biggest example of this is that Matt Hasselbeck, the Seahawks 35-year-old quarterback, has only missed one game after missing 11 over the previous two seasons.
Russell Okung, the team's first pick in 2010, is finally getting healthy and returned in Week 11 against Saints. His return should bolster the Seahawks offensive line down the stretch and, hopefully, get the offense moving.
Of course the team has had some injuries. This is the NFL, what team hasn't? Relative to teams like the Dolphins, Steelers and Packers, the Seahawks should be thankful for their health.
No. 2: Matt Hasselbeck
Speaking of the health of the Seahawks' quarterback, his overall play on a mediocre team at his advanced age has been one of the biggest reasons the Seahawks are in first in the NFC West.
Matt Hasselbeck may not have the stats of Sam Bradford, or the future. But this season Hasselbeck has to be the choice for the top quarterback in the NFC West and he is one of the reasons the Seahawks are making a run at a division title.
His veteran leadership is crucial. It was made obvious by the 41-7 home loss at the hands of the Giants, when Charlie Whitehurst was starting, that no other quarterback on the Seahawks roster can handle the pressure of leading this mediocre team to victory.
He might not be the same quarterback he was a few seasons ago, but the Seahawks and their fans should be thankful that he has stuck around for at least one more season to help keep the Seahawks in the hunt for the playoffs.
No. 1: Schedule Down the Stretch
Here is the Seahawks schedule over the final six weeks of the season:
vs. Kansas City
at San Francisco
at Tampa Bay
vs. St. Louis
The Seahawks control their own playoff destiny. They have a one-game advantage over the Rams and play them at home in the final week of the season. Other than that, they play three more home games and two road games, at San Francisco and Tampa Bay.
The game against Atlanta will be difficult, but the Seahawks have the advantage of the 12th man. With a favorable schedule, the Seahawks should be able to at least win three of their final six games, which might just be enough to lock-up a NFC West division title. So be thankful Seattle. You've got more than enough to be happy about this Thursday when you're eating turkey and watching stress-free football.