A win against a 10-loss team showed us nothing about the Seahawks we didn’t already know, but a win against a 10-win team Sunday night would tell us a whole lot we didn’t expect.
The 24-13 win over the 49ers was just as ugly as expected and the Seahawks had most of the same troubles that have plagued them all year — scoring in the first half (just seven points), running the ball (68 yards by the running backs), throwing interceptions and missing kicks. The only weakness that seemed stronger this week was penalties — they broke their five-game streak of 100-yard days.
Beating the 10-loss 49ers was no statement. But, if the Hawks had lost, it would have said a lot — i.e., that they were not a playoff team. That is still in question, since the Hawks, even at 7-4, are outside the playoff picture right now.
They can prove they belong Sunday night in their biggest test of the season: a high-flying Eagles team that has won nine straight (10-1 overall), has defeated each of its past three opponents by 28 points and beat the 49ers by 20 in Philly a month ago.
The Eagles are the class of the NFC, with the highest-scoring offense in the NFL (32 ppg), the No. 2 rushing attack (147.5 ypg) and the No. 1 run defense (65.1 ypg).
The Seahawks have lost just eight home games since Russell Wilson arrived in 2012 — none of them by more than seven points. But that streak looks in serious jeopardy vs. the Eagles.
Wilson’s Hawks are 10-2 at home in prime time, but that stat won’t help them Sunday night. One of the losses was to Atlanta a week ago — and the Eagles are better than the Falcons (7-4).
Based on how they have played on offense, the Seahawks look hopelessly outmatched in this one. But, one way or another, it will show just how competitive they really are — whether they are indeed NFC contenders.
Some might argue that would be a premature assessment, but there are only four games after this, so whatever teams are at this point is basically what they are going to be in a month. If they aren’t hitting stride right now, they are not going to — because they will run out of time.
If the Seahawks can beat the Eagles, it would show they are capable of running the table and possibly claiming a first-round bye (with a lot of help). It would at least put them in great position to make the playoffs.
Yes, the Hawks could make the playoffs without beating Philly, but they would need to win the NFC West (they play the Rams in three weeks) or else get some losses from Carolina, Atlanta and Detroit to make it as a wild card.
Wilson’s Seahawks have never faced this kind of challenge at home this late in the season — hosting a far superior team with their playoff lives in the balance.
The closest they have come was in 2012, when the 9-5 Hawks blasted the 10-3-1 49ers 42-13. But the 49ers won the division in the final week, and the Hawks had to hit the road as a wild card.
In 2013, the Hawks (10-1) were the top dogs as they hosted the 9-2 Saints — and blew them out 34-7 on the way to Seattle’s only Super Bowl title.
These Seahawks are not nearly as strong as either the 2012 or 2013 clubs. They have no running game, no first-half offense and no reliable kicker, and their defense is missing three top starters.
If they can beat the Eagles with all of those problems, it might be the best regular-season home win in the Wilson era.