Seattle Seahawks: What You Need to Know Heading into Week 11

Keith Myers@@myersNFLContributor INovember 12, 2013

Nov 10, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate (81) reacts as he leaves the field after defeating the  Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Seahawks defeated the Falcons 33-10. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It was a good week for the Seattle Seahawks and their fans. Not only did they blow out the Atlanta Falcons, 33-10, on the road, but other game results helped out Seattle's playoff cause. 

After playing five of their past seven games on the road, the Seahawks now wrap up the regular season playing four out of six games at home. That begins this Sunday against All-Pro Adrian Peterson and the visiting Minnesota Vikings

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

Division Standings

NFC West Standings
Seattle Seahawks91.900265159106
San Francisco 49ers63.66722715572
Arizona Cardinals54.556187198-11
St. Louis Rams46.400224234-10

The Seahawks were given a large gift on Sunday, courtesy of the Carolina Panthers. With San Francisco's loss, Seattle is now 2.5 games ahead of the 49ers in the race for the division crown. Even if Seattle were to lose to San Francisco later this year, that wouldn't be enough for the 49ers to catch the Seahawks in the standings.

The loss by the 49ers also helped Seattle in terms of the tiebreaker situation. The Seahawks now hold the tiebreaker over the 49ers as well, based on results against common opponents. Overall, it was a great week for the Seahawks in their quest to win the NFC West. 

Playoff Standings

NFC Playoff Standings After Week 10
1Seattle Seahawks91
2New Orleans Saints72
3Detroit Lions63
4Dallas Cowboys55
5Carolina Panthers63
6San Francisco 49ers63
7Arizona Cardinals54
8Chicago Bears54
9Green Bay Packers54
10Philadelphia Eagles55

There wasn't a lot of movement in the playoff standings this week. The Seahawks are still on top, with the Saints right behind them. In fact, the only change for the teams currently holding a playoff spot is that Carolina and San Francisco swapped spots as the two wild-card teams. 

Injury Report

Significant Injuries for Week 11
PlayerInjuryLikelihood of Playing
Brandon BrownerGroinNone
Tony McDanielHamstringMedium
Russell OkungFootHigh
Breno GiacominiKneeHigh
Max UngerConcussionHigh
Red BryantConcussionHigh
Percy HarvinHipMedium
Pete Carroll's Press Conference

Seattle head coach Pete Carroll addressed the media on Tuesday and spent much of that time discussing the team's current injury situation. These updates come from his comments. 

The Seahawks added two new names to their injury list this week, and one of them was serious. Cornerback Brandon Browner's groin injury is significant, and it is possible that it will land him on injured reserve. 

The news was much better on defensive tackle Tony McDaniel. Carroll said that McDaniel could have returned to the game on Sunday if he was needed. Clearly, his hamstring injury wasn't serious.

Carroll wasn't able to say conclusively that defensive end Red Bryant or center Max Unger would be able to return this week. Both are bound by the league's concussion protocol, so until they are cleared by the doctors, Carroll won't comment on their availability. Both should play, though they might not be cleared to do so until Thursday. 

Seattle is also expecting to get both starting offensive tackles back this week. Breno Giacomini and Russell Okung both returned to practice a week ago, and both should be ready to play on Sunday. If Okung is going to be active, then the Seahawks will need to add him to the roster at some point this week. Okung is currently on injured reserve with the designation to return.

According to the team's official transaction list, wide receiver Percy Harvin was added to the 53-man roster on Monday. That doesn't mean he will play this week—it was just the deadline to do so. Harvin needs to have a full week of practice to prove that he's ready for playing time before the Seahawks will have him in uniform on Sunday. Harvin will be highly motivated, this Sunday's opponent is his former team.

What Must Improve

Everything the Seahawks tried to do on Sunday seemed to work. Expecting improvement over their performance in Atlanta isn't reasonable. What can improve is the amount of competition that is going on for playing time, and it is guaranteed to happen this week.

As discussed above, the Seahawks are expected to get both of their starting offensive tackles this week. Both will certainly see the field on Sunday, but should both be expected to play the entire game?

Carroll indicated on Tuesday that the answer to the question might be "no."

While that comment might anger some fans who are tired of watching backups like Paul McQuistan struggle, easing the starters back into the lineup is the right thing to do. The Seahawks cannot afford for one of them, especially Okung, to come up with another injury because he was rushed back too quickly. 

Besides, the Seahawks have found a rotation that is working. Once rookie Alvin Bailey began seeing some playing time, the offensive line solidified and started to play better.

As long at this trend continues, there is no reason for Seattle to rush players back from injury. The Seahawks have the luxury of letting Okung and Giacomini prove that they're ready to play before getting them back out there full time.

The Seahawks have great depth on this team. They have used that depth all year to allow players to get themselves fully back to 100 percent before returning to the field. This has been the case since training camp and has continued throughout the season. There just isn't any reason to deviate from that strategy at this point in the year. 

"We haven't rushed any of our guys. We're not going to start now," said Carroll.

Video of the Week

Golden Tate's one-handed touchdown grab:

BR Media Team