“We don’t have to lose anymore.” — Pete Carroll
Fresh off a comeback win against Green Bay that got his team back to .500, Pete Carroll thinks there’s no reason for his team to lose another game.
With the running game now on full blast — seven straight games over 150 yards — and the defense tightening up in the second half against good quarterbacks, the Seahawks certainly have a chance to win out.
Carroll told 710 ESPN that his team’s 5-5 record “sucks. Why are we here? We’re better than this. … We don’t have to lose anymore. We’re done with that stuff. Let’s go win some games.”
The Seahawks certainly could be better, having lost every game by no more than eight points and having given away three games on late turnovers. Their losses have come against teams that are a combined 25-11, which explains why Football Outsiders ranked the Seahawks as the NFL’s eighth-best team before Seattle beat Green Bay on Thursday.
FiveThirtyEight gives the Hawks a 37 percent chance to make the playoffs, but the Hawks play both Carolina and Minnesota — the top two wild-card teams right now — and wins against those clubs would give the Hawks an even better chance (assuming they handle their bad NFC West foes).
As the Hawks take a mini-bye before heading to Carolina for another NFC “playoff” game, let’s look at their chances of running the table:
Week 12: At CAROLINA
DVOA: 12. Offense: 7. Defense: 24.
Early preview: The Panthers are 5-0 at home, where they have a plus-10 turnover margin and are averaging 165.6 rushing yards. Cam Newton also has played well; he has thrown at least two TD passes in eight straight games and has just five picks. The Panthers have been solid against the run (99 yards per game) but have given up 22 TD passes (second most in the NFL). Russell Wilson’s Hawks are 3-0 at Carolina in the regular season, including 2-0 in 10 a.m. PT starts, so they know how to win these games. It probably will be a close game; all three of Seattle’s wins have been by four or five points.
Week 13: 49ERS
DVOA: 26. Offense: 27. Defense: 18.
Early preview: This game was once slated for Sunday night as Richard Sherman faces his former team, but the 49ers are terrible — so, as expected, it is now an afternoon game. The Seahawks have won eight straight in the series and Wilson is 6-0 at home vs. the Niners, with five of those wins by double digits. This should be an easy win for Seattle.
Week 14: VIKINGS
DVOA: 14. Offense: 17. Defense: 7.
Early preview: The Vikings had a rough start, 1-2-1 including a head-scratching blowout home loss to Buffalo. But they have won four of five — the only loss to the league’s best team, New Orleans. The Vikings’ defense has improved vastly over the past month and has given up just 12 TD passes this season (tied for second fewest in the league) and is surrendering just 88.9 rushing yards per game (76.8 in the past five). The Vikings will be a big test for Seattle in this Monday night game, which figures to be another playoff contest for the Seahawks. Even if the Hawks have lost some of their home-field edge (Vikings fans might be plentiful at C-link Field), it is hard to bet against Carroll and Wilson at home in prime time (12-2).
Week 15: At 49ERS
DVOA: 26. Offense: 27. Defense: 18.
Early preview: The Hawks have won four straight in San Francisco and should make it five.
Week 16: CHIEFS
DVOA: 1. Offense: 1. Defense: 25.
Early preview: The Chiefs might not care much about this game if they have the No. 1 seed wrapped up already (they have a two-game lead in the AFC). That would be great for the Seahawks, who then might not have to try to outshoot Patrick Mahomes, who is the favorite for league MVP as he leads in passing yards (3,150) and TDs (31) and is second to Drew Brees in passer rating (117.4). If Mahomes plays the entire game, this will be another Rams-like shootout. The main difference is the Chiefs’ defense is terrible. Carroll might watch the Chiefs-Rams Monday night matchup this week with great interest.
Week 17: CARDINALS
DVOA: 32. Offense: 31. Defense: 6.
Early preview: The Cardinals have scored under 20 points in every game except a 28-18 win over the 49ers. They bottomed out with a blowout loss against Denver — firing OC Mike McCoy afterward — and then beat the 49ers 18-15 the next week. Arizona’s defense is giving up 140 rushing yards per game, so Seattle should have no problem grounding to a halt its three-game home losing streak against the Cardinals.