Russell Wilson has never lost three straight games, but he faces the biggest test of that streak ever on Thursday against Arizona.
The Cardinals have won four of the last five in Seattle, all coming in Week 10 or later. And they’re on a hot streak, having won four out of five – including a Hail Murray win over Buffalo on Sunday. That is the same Bills team that put up a Pete Carroll era-worst 44 points against Seattle two Sundays ago.
If the Seahawks lose this game, they will drop to 6-4 and basically be two games behind Arizona, thanks to a sweep. Seattle has an easy slate the rest of the way, with three NFC Least teams, the Jets and the battered 49ers. But the Hawks need to show they can beat good teams.
Their six wins have come against teams that are a combined 22-32 (.407), with surprising Miami (6-3) the only winning club. Seattle’s three losses have come against fellow playoff contenders Arizona (6-3), Buffalo (7-3) and Los Angeles (6-3). So 1-3 against winning teams.
The Hawks will face the Rams in Week 16 – and that game likely will predict whether the Seahawks will win any playoff games this season.
The defense, one of the worst over half a season in NFL history, showed some gumption in L.A. on Sunday. The 23 points scored by the Rams were the fewest since coach Sean McVay’s first game against Seattle, in 2017. That offers some hope going forward.
Carlos Dunlap already has made his presence felt. If Jamal Adams can keep himself on the field, those two should really help put some pressure on quarterbacks. The secondary – missing the starting corners again this week — obviously will never have any consistency this season, so it is up to the pass rush to kick into high gear.
The biggest issues in Seattle’s losses have been Wilson’s 10 turnovers. It sounds like the coaches are going to take some pressure off Wilson by running the ball more, as we have said they should for a couple of weeks now. Carlos Hyde is expected to return for the Arizona game, which should give Schotty more confidence in mixing the run so the Cardinals can’t tee off on Wilson, as the Bills and Rams did. Whether it’s Hyde or Alex Collins, they have to run the ball more than 15-16 times.
Schottenheimer also said he and Wilson have talked about simplifying the quarterback’s in-play thinking and being more decisive and instinctive.
Bottom line: As long as Wilson stops turning the ball over, the Hawks will have a chance to beat Arizona – and any good team.