At this point in the season, every team is hurting.
The Seahawks certainly are, with 12 guys on various injured lists (IR, NFI, PUP) and eight on the weekly report. Against Houston on Sunday, they will play without five, possibly six, players who would be starters if healthy — Cliff Avril, DeShawn Shead, Chris Carson, George Fant, Luke Joeckel and maybe Justin Britt (ankle).
But, as bad as the Hawks have it, some of their upcoming foes might be even worse.
Houston, coming to town this weekend, is playing without three top defenders. J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus were lost for the season in Week 5, and Brian Cushing is suspended until December. Without those guys, the Texans have been giving up 24.5 points per game (they gave up 20.5 last season).
The MIAs will give Seattle’s struggling offense a shot to start better — especially if Britt is able to go.
In Week 9, Washington comes to Seattle. Star corner Josh Norman is coming back this week, but linebacker Mason Foster just went on IR and the Redskins have all kinds of injury issues on the offensive line. Rob Kelley just returned after missing several weeks, but he and Chris Thompson might not have much of a blocking front the next week or two.
In Week 10, the Seahawks will go to Arizona, where the starting backfield is gone. Both Carson Palmer (arm) and David Johnson (wrist) are on IR.
The Cardinals traded for Adrian Peterson to step up for Johnson, but Peterson followed up a big debut with a lousy game last week in a 33-0 loss to the Rams. Palmer was replaced by Drew Stanton, who completed just 5 of 14 passes and threw an interception.
The Seahawks have not lost at Arizona since 2012, and that streak should continue.
If all goes as expected, the Seahawks should be 7-2 as they get set for a more difficult stretch: vs. Atlanta, vs. Philadelphia, at Jacksonville, vs. the Rams and at Dallas in the final seven weeks.
Atlanta is scuffling on offense — and complaining about OC Steve Sarkisian — but still is very dangerous. Carson Wentz’s Eagles look like the best team in the NFC . The Jags, who are tied atop the league with Seattle in scoring defense, just added Marcell Dareus in a trade with Buffalo to help beef up their poor run defense. The Rams are always a tough out. And Dallas figures to be dangerous at home.
The Hawks could easily lose three or four of those games. But that would still give them 10 or 11 wins — assuming they take care of business against their next three hurting opponents.