There seem to be far too many Seahawks fans calling for Pete Carroll to rest a bunch of guys against Arizona on Sunday. Fortunately, Carroll is much smarter than that.
The Seahawks absolutely should prefer to go to Dallas rather than chilly Chicago in the wild-card round. To do that, they have to beat Arizona, or Minnesota has to lose to the Bears, who are angling for the No. 2 seed.
Dallas would easily be the best postseason matchup for the Seahawks, who then would head to New Orleans if the No. 3 seed (Chicago or L.A.) also won in the wild-card round.
Of course, if the No. 6 seed (Minnesota or Philadelphia) were to win, that would send Seattle to the No. 2 seed. And that’s why the Hawks should be rooting Sunday for the Rams to beat the 49ers (or the Bears to lose).
The Seahawks just don’t want to go to Chicago in mid-January, when temperatures are as frigidly unfriendly as you can get. They surely would prefer to play the division rivals they came close to beating twice earlier this season and probably are well suited to beat in a prospective third matchup in sunny California.
The easiest route to the NFC title game would be through Dallas and L.A., especially if the Rams might be without Todd Gurley in the playoffs. Then the Hawks could root for Minnesota or Philly to do the improbable and win in Chicago and New Orleans, which would give Seattle home field for the NFC title game. (Hey, nothing wrong with dreaming.)
Of course, the reality is the Hawks are probably going to Dallas and then New Orleans for an upset try that could then send them to Chicago or L.A.
It all starts with beating Arizona this week. Carroll definitely wants to do it — and not just to end a bizarre three-game home losing skid to the Cardinals.
“I know that there are coaches (who say) you can only get up (for games) so many times a year; you can only have so many big games and all that,” Carroll said. “I just flat out know that’s not true. We don’t subscribe to that thinking, and we’re going to go for it every freaking time forever, no matter where it is or when it is, so that we learn to find the edge that it takes to stay consistent and stay good.”
That took Carroll on a monologue about his Win Forever philosophy: “We’ve been pretty consistent over a really long time. I think that’s a statement of what this mentality is all about, that you just don’t allow yourself to take a breath and kick back and put your feet up. You don’t get to do that. You just keep pushing and keep going and you only learn one way to do it. …
“It’s not worth cracking the egg and then starting over again. I just don’t want to do that. It’s worked out, and I don’t feel like I’m driving these guys into the dirt by the way we do it mentally. I feel like they work to establish a discipline that allows them to have a manner in how they do this and they have habits that they create and they have regimens that they live by and that’s what gives them the chance to keep coming back, and we just don’t want to mess with those. They’re too precious and it’s fleeting. It’s so fleeting. It goes away in a heartbeat. Normal teams go up and down all the time. That’s not the way we want to do it. We want to be uncommon.”