If the Seahawks don’t beat the San Diego Chargers on Sunday — perhaps handily — it will be a huge surprise. After all, how many advantages can one team have over another?
Shall we count the ways?
1 — The Seahawks saw the Chargers’ personnel in the preseason, during a 41-14 demolition, and we saw what happened the last time the Hawks played a preseason opponent during the season: Seahawks 43, Broncos 8 in the Super Bowl.
The Seahawks blew out the Broncos in the preseason last year, too, and they used that game to familiarize themselves with the Broncos’ personnel. (The Broncos have to really be looking forward to coming to Seattle next week.)
The Hawks did the same thing with the Chargers this preseason.
Safety Earl Thomas on what he took from that game: “The biggest thing for me was just formation awareness. They kind of hid (Philip Rivers) as he only played seven snaps. I guess they didn’t want to see him against us on film or make him nervous for this game, but we’re confident in what we do.”
2 — The Chargers are coming off a short week — and a tough, 18-17 loss vs. Arizona — while the Seahawks have been off for more than a week and had time to heal up.
The Chargers lost center Nick Hardwick for the season and have been practicing without tight end Antonio Gates and linebacker Melvin Ingram, who both have hamstring injuries, and defensive starters Corey Liuget and Brandon Flowers are banged up, too. Flowers and Ingraham are questionable for the game, Gates and Liuget probable.
Coach Mike McCoy dismissed the perceived disadvantage, though.
“Everyone is going to play those Monday night games during the year and be on a short week,” McCoy told Seattle reporters. “There are no excuses in this business. We put in our game plan, had a great practice, and we got a couple more days to get ready, and we’ll take care of the players. The players have to do everything extra that they can to be ready for the game Sunday on a short week. It’s not the first time we’ve done it, so we have to go out there and play a great game.”
The Seahawks have faced this situation once before in Pete Carroll’s four-year tenure. Coming off a Thursday night loss to San Francisco in 2012, they went to Detroit as the Lions came home from a Monday night loss at Chicago. The Lions beat the Hawks 28-24 in the final minute.
That Seattle team was in its infancy, though. This team is coming off a blowout win over Green Bay and has a defense that has learned how to hold a lead when it needs to.
The Seahawks are 2-1 under Carroll when coming off Thursday games — both wins coming against St. Louis.
“We’re really fortunate that we had our break after the Thursday game,” Carroll said. “We had a couple good days where we could rest and get back. Hopefully that will help us play a good strong football game against a really talented football team.”
3 — Because of the big layoff, the Seahawks were able to scout the Chargers on TV Monday night.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said watching the game was good just to understand San Diego’s personnel.
“I was trying to figure out who they were going to have in,” he said, “so at least we know who the people will be now. (In the) preseason, there are so many numbers out there, it’s kind of hard to figure out.”
Quarterback Russell Wilson said the Chargers held some of their defensive starters out of the preseason game, but he saw them Monday.
“They bring a good amount of pressure,” he said. “They make their plays and they make it tough on third down for guys. We’re going to have to be on top of our game. They show a lot of different looks and we will be ready for that through our preparation and through our studying. We’re just going to have to play it one play at a time and see how on schedule we can be.”
Yep, it all comes down to the schedule: Preseason, layoff vs. short week, time to scout and prepare.
The Hawks sure seem to have all of those things in their favor.