Seattle Seahawks: What You Need to Know Heading into Week 17

Keith Myers@@myersNFLContributor IDecember 25, 2013

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 22:  Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks throws against the Arizona Cardinals on December 22, 2013 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

It was a rough week for the Seattle Seahawks and their fans. Not only did they lose and fail to lock up the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs, but they also were given some bad injury news. 

The Seahawks now must fix what went wrong on offense before taking on the St. Louis Rams this weekend. At least it appears they got an early start on Monday morning:

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

Division Standings

NFC West Standings
TeamWLGBPt. Dif.
Seattle Seahawks123--168
San Francisco 49ers1141131
Arizona Cardinals105258
St. Louis Rams7852

Heading into the final week of the season, the NFC West has two teams that have already clinched their spot in the playoffs and one team that is still alive. The Seahawks can win the division with either a win this week or a 49ers loss. San Francisco can still win the division if they win and the Seahawks lose.

Arizona can still make the playoffs with a win over San Francisco and a New Orleans loss to Tampa Bay

Playoff Update

NFC Playoff Standings
1Seattle Seahawks12-3
2Carolina Panthers11-4
3Philadelphia Eagles9-6
4Chicago Bears8-7
5San Francisco 49ers11-4
6New Orleans Saints10-5
7Arizona Cardinals10-5
8Dallas Cowboys8-7
9Green Bay Packers7-7-1

The Seahawks have just two possible outcomes remaining for their playoff seeding.

They will either be the No. 1 overall seed, or they will be the No. 5 seed. Nothing else is mathematically possible. That means there is also only two possibilities for Seattle in the opening week of the playoffs:

A Seattle win or a San Francisco loss: The Seahawks are off next week and host the lowest remaining seed in the NFC the following week. 

A Seattle loss and a San Francisco win: The Seahawks will play on the road next week. The opponent will either be the winner of Green Bay-Chicago or Dallas-Philadelphia, depending on the results of those two games. 

Injury Report

Seahawks' head coach Pete Carroll addressed the media on Tuesday, per the team's official website, and spoke at length about the team's injured players. The following notes are taken from his comments.

Left tackle Russell Okung, who left Sunday's game after aggravating his toe injury, should play this week. Carroll said that Okung is sore and will likely be limited somewhat by the injury, but it shouldn't prevent him being ready to play. 

Right guard J.R. Sweezy is still recovering from a concussion that caused him to miss the game against the Arizona Cardinals, but Carroll indicated that Sweezy is expected to be back this week. There was also some good news on wide receiver Jermaine Kearse. He was limited but did participate on Tuesday. 

Linebacker K.J. Wright continues to recover from a broken bone in his foot. The timetable for his return would be for him to be ready for the Super Bowl. He could possibly be back for the NFC Championship Game, but that would be extremely early for the type of injury.  

The truly bad news this week was regarding wide receiver Percy Harvin. He has already been ruled out for this week's game and might not play again this season. When pressed, Carroll conceded that the team might make a roster move soon, implying that Harvin would be moved to injured reserve. 

What Must Improve

What needs to improve this week is one of the most unlikely things that has ever been considered for this feature: the overall play and decision-making of quarterback Russell Wilson. Against the Cardinals, Wilson had what was almost certainly his worst game in over a year.

The problems were most apparent on third downs, where Wilson repeatedly decided to throw the ball deep rather than taking the easy first down. 

NFL Rewind

As you can see, Wilson decided to throw the ball into double coverage to wide receiver Golden Tate, rather than to the wide-open receiver underneath. On 3rd-and-8, taking the easy 12-yard gain was the correct decision. 

On this next play, wide receiver Doug Baldwin was open, but his momentum was carrying him out of bounds. Wilson's pass became a difficult toe-tapping catch on the sideline, and Baldwin wasn't able to complete the catch. 

NFL Rewind

It is a high-level-of-difficulty pass, and it was unnecessary to even attempt. It was 3rd-and-1, and Wilson would have been able to easily pick up a first down and more if he had just kept the ball and ran. 

These plays are just a pair of examples of a problem that persisted throughout the game. This is also an uncharacteristic problem for Seattle's young quarterback. Wilson's decision-making is typically one of his best traits.

The Seahawks need Wilson to get back to playing like he has for most of his young career. He is a better player than he showed last week, and the Seahawks need him at his best if they are going to sustain their run toward the Super Bowl. 

Video of the Week 

Derrick Coleman—The Sound of Silence