Thanks to the offense’s pitiful performance vs. the Rams, the Seahawks’ playoff destiny is no longer in their hands. But the season of rematches is about to begin.
If the Minnesota Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, the Seahawks will head to Minnesota for the NFC wild-card round — regardless of what the Hawks do against Arizona earlier that day.
If Green Bay wins, Seattle’s result against Arizona will matter: A win would mean the Hawks go to Washington; a loss would mean they go to Green Bay.
Other than the possible Washington matchup, every game the Seahawks might play the rest of the way — starting this week in Arizona — will be a rematch from earlier in the season. And the Seahawks owe payback to all but Minnesota — they lost to Green Bay, Arizona and Carolina.
The Seahawks — destined for their worst record with Russell Wilson at QB — will have a prime opportunity this week vs. Arizona to avenge their 39-32 loss in Week 10 — a game in which Wilson played poorly and the offense sputtered (just 1 for 8 on third downs).
Arizona will be playing to win, hoping to catch Carolina for the NFC’s top seed — Tampa Bay and Carolina will be playing at the same time.
Even though Seattle does not control its playoff fate, it would behoove the Hawks to try hard to beat Arizona — if only to gain confidence that they can defeat top teams as they head into the playoffs.
Pete Carroll agrees, telling 710 ESPN today, “I think we are still playing to get ready for the playoffs and to make sure we are right. … We need to get our game right.”
The loss to Arizona in Week 10 was the last bad game the offense had played until the debacle vs. St. Louis. Don’t let the 32 points fool you: Wilson and the offense were horrible in that loss to Arizona.
Seattle trailed 19-0 before finally getting on the board at the end of the first half. The Hawks actually took a 29-25 lead on Bobby Wagner’s fumble return early in the fourth quarter. But the offense had only one TD drive in the second half, and the defense gave up two 80-yard scoring drives to lose the game in the fourth quarter — the fifth fourth-quarter collapse of the season.
The Seattle offense needs to prove its five-game hot streak following that loss was not the product of woeful opponents — San Francisco (4-11), Pittsburgh (poor secondary), Minnesota (missing three key defenders), Baltimore (5-10), Cleveland (3-12). Wilson and the line need to put it back together vs. Arizona, and the defense needs to find a way to keep Carson Palmer & Co. under 30 points (the 39 were the most Arizona had ever scored vs. Seattle).
If the Seahawks can’t beat the Cardinals, they aren’t going to go to the Super Bowl — because, assuming Seattle knocks off its first-round foe, it very likely will see Arizona once more (either before or after Seattle plays Carolina again).
The season of rematches is about to begin.