Seahawks' Game-by-Game Predictions for Second Half of the Season
In a game where it appeared that the 'Hawks would escape with a road win following yet another fourth quarter rally, the defense inexplicably faltered.
All season long, as the offense worked out its issues, the defense had held firm. Now suddenly, as we reach the season's mid point with a 4-4 record, it's hard to tell if this was a momentary lapse against a talented young Detroit offense or a potentially dangerous trend.
While it doesn't make much sense to panic, the facts are hard to dispute. Through eight games, the Seahawks have an 0-3 record in the NFC West and have won only once on the road this season in five tries.
Can the 'Hawks still make the playoffs?
Sure. But the road ahead won't be easy, even if it seems the upcoming schedule could be getting easier.
Unfortunately, predicting the results of the second half schedule as a followup to my full season predictions I posted in April is a bit more challenging now, following two consecutive tough losses, as this looks like a team that could end up finishing the season anywhere between 7-9 and10-6.
Understand, the following is a best guess, so I feel it's only fair to offer my patented disclaimer...
Disclaimer: All predictions guaranteed wrong come January 2013...or your money back!
Week 9: Minnesota Vikings (11/4)
Originally, I had this game pegged as an easy win for the 'Hawks.
I also had this game listed as a must-win.
Unfortunately, that's still very true, and making matters worse, the Vikings aren't quite as bad as originally anticipated. In fact they're currently 5-3, despite their embarrassing 36-17 loss last Thursday night at home to Tampa Bay.
Both teams in essence can't afford to lose. Both teams have outstanding running games. Both teams, when dialed in, can play defense. So in my opinion the difference will come down to which young quarterback can deliver the goods.
So far this season, No. 1 and No. 2 picks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have beaten the Vikes with tight, thrilling performances.
Perhaps Russell Wilson, with the help of the 12th Man, a defense in search of its collective mojo and Marshawn Lynch towing the rock, can get the job done knowing the season is potentially on the line.
It may not be pretty, but with their backs to the wall at home, I think the 'Hawks get the job done...Seahawks 21-16.
Seahawks Record: 5-4.
Week 10: New York Jets (11/11)
If there is one game left on the schedule that the Seahawks should win, it's this one.
The New York Jets, in case you didn't know, are without their No. 1 wide receiver Santonio Holmes and their No. 1 defender, All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis. They've been dealing with a not-so-small quarterback controversy since March and a head coach that always has something to say.
Easy win, right?
Much like the Seahawks, you never know what you're going to get with the Jets, and that's a little scary, if you ask me.
Conventional wisdom says the Seahawks handle their business and run away with this one, but a slow start could doom us to another nail-biter for a finish.
Early on, I think both teams will trade punches, but the 'Hawks will eventually pull away for the win with the help of Marshawn Lynch and forcing Mark Sanchez to make a mistake or two...Seahawks 24-10.
Seahawks Record: 6-4
Week 12: at Miami Dolphins (11/25)
Following their bye during Week 11, the Seahawks will travel cross-country to Miami to face the surprising Dolphins.
Somehow, some way the Dolphins keep finding a way to win this season with a cast of characters most casual fans would have a hard time identifying.
This past Sunday against the Jets, the Fins lost their starting quarterback rookie Ryan Tannehill to injury early on, plugged in backup Matt Moore and still rolled to a 30-9 win on the road with solid play from their defense and special teams.
The Dolphins look like a team that will stick around, and when you factor the 'Hawks travel schedule and a 1 PM EST start time, one has to wonder if this isn't a trap game of sorts.
I'd imagine this is going to be a tight slugfest with both defenses setting the tone, creating turnovers and generating points.
Unfortunately, this game will result in a trip to overtime with Fins kicker Dan Carpenter winning it.
Dolphins 17-14 in OT.
Seahawks Record: 6-5
Week 13: at Chicago Bears (12/2)
Wedged between two games against the Minnesota Vikings, the Chicago Bears will face off against the Seahawks at Soldier Field.
Last year with starter Jay Cutler out with an injury, the 'Hawks breezed through the Windy City and picked up the win against backup quarterback Caleb Hanie.
This year, with Cutler healthy, the Bears are 6-1, with their sole loss being at Green Bay back in Week 2 on a short week during a Thursday night game.
However, in the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see how good the Bears really are, as their schedule includes both the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans in addition to a heavy slate of divisional matchups within the NFC North.
If Cutler can stay healthy, the Bears might actually come into this game with an 8-3 record, even if they lose to both the Niners and Texans.
It would be quite a statement if the 'Hawks could go to Chicago and win this game to recapture some momentum before their final push against their division foes. Still, this looks like a game where the 'Hawks will need to control the clock and the ground game in order to keep the ball out of Jay Cutler's hands.
With Marshawn Lynch grinding away it could be close early on, but I have this nagging feeling that Cutler will make just enough passes to his receivers to give the Bears a safe cushion to force the 'Hawks to pass....Bears 26-13.
Seahawks Record: 6-6
Week 14: Arizona Cardinals (12/9)
It's hard to say whether the Cardinals are still the same team that started the season 4-0 or a team in decline following three straight losses. Monday night's matchup against the 49ers should help provide some insight as to whether the Cards are a contender or pretender in the NFC West.
While anything could happen, given it's a home game, I still think the Cardinals lose this matchup and continue their tailspin with road losses against Green Bay and Atlanta before rebounding against the Rams and Jets, which would then put them at 6-6 just like the Seahawks.
In other words, this game becomes a must-win for both teams.
With the season on the line and the home crowd behind them, the 'Hawks pull through and stop the bleeding as Russell Wilson exacts his revenge following the team's Week 1 loss...Seahawks 28-24.
Seahawks Record: 7-6
Week 15: at Buffalo Bills (12/16)
Aren't you glad that the 'Hawks didn't sign Mario Williams?
By the time the Seahawks visit the Bills in Toronto, you may instead find yourself very happy that the 'Hawks drafted Bruce Irvin instead.
I'm not sure why, but this looks like the one road game this season where everyone comes together on both sides of the ball and puts together a performance to make everyone believe that the 'Hawks can rally for a playoff berth...Seahawks 34-10.
Seahawks Record: 8-6
Week 16: San Francisco 49ers (12/23)
This grudge match will mean far more to the 'Hawks than the 49ers, who by this time will have the division all but locked up.
It's like deja vu all over again with everything on the line.
To be the best, you need to beat the best, but once again the Niners will find a way to win, even with 12th Man screaming at the top of their lungs the entire time...49ers 19-10.
Seahawks Record: 8-7
Week 17: St. Louis Rams (12/30)
Will the Seahawks have a real chance of making the postseason by the time they face the Rams for the season finale?
If things play out as anticipated, I doubt they'll be able to control their own destiny, even if it's a game I think they'll win...Seahawks 20-10.
Seahawks Final Record: 9-7 (2nd Place)
As much as it pains me, I'm not sure if this is a playoff team right now. Like so many other teams around the league, the 'Hawks are a strange mix of brilliant and baffling that can go either way depending on a few plays each week.
For the second half of the season, I imagine they will handle just about everyone they face at home, while 1 PM EST starts on the road and teams that have genuine playoff aspirations will give them trouble.
When you do the math, the Seahawks have a tough hill to climb. Assuming the Giants, Falcons, and Niners win their respective divisions, that leaves three spots up for grabs. Two of those spots will probably go to the winner of the NFC North and the division's runner-up, which will probably be the Bears and Packers.
That leaves one spot available for the Seahawks and possibly a half dozen other teams who are currently in the same boat with roughly a .500 record.
Depending on your view of the situation, the glass is either half full or half empty right now. A 9-7 record doesn't guarantee much of anything, but another win or two would probably help quite a bit, especially if one of those wins came against the 49ers.
Let's face it, this is a team that needs to play at home if it intends to do anything meaningful, whether it's during the regular season or beyond. A playoff berth would certainly be nice, but unless the 'Hawks can win games on the road it's hard to judge whether this is a team worth taking seriously.
Even just one win during Week 12 or 13 on the road at either Miami or Chicago could change that dynamic and help spur a late season sprint to the finish where the 'Hawks can control their own destiny against their division rivals.
If not, who's to say this season is any different from last year?