Here we are already entering week 11 of the NFL season, and the Seattle Seahawks hold a 9 – 1 record, meeting their expectations. As it stands right now, only the Kansas City Chiefs (9 – 0) have a better record, but let’s be real: the Chiefs have had it easy. The Chiefs will get their chance to show what they are made of the rest of the way, starting with the Denver Broncos (8 – 1) this Sunday night.
Despite the exciting matchup between the Chiefs and Broncos this week, it ultimately doesn’t matter to the Seahawks. At least not at this time. Right now the Seahawks have six games left to play in the last seven weeks of the regular season, with four of those games being at home. The division, and the 1st seed for the playoffs are in their hands. That is all that matters. The most important thing for the Seahawks is to take the division. The difference between winning the division and being a wildcard team is huge. Taking the division guarantees you at least one home game, whereas being a wildcard will force you to be a road warrior. Right now the San Francisco 49ers (6 – 3) are second in the division, and pose the biggest threat to the division crown. Seattle crushed the 49ers at home earlier this season, but Seattle will have to travel to San Francisco in four weeks in what should be a crucial game for our Hawks!
The second most important thing is to try any hang on to the 1st seed. The New Orleans Saints currently have the 2nd seed and are guaranteed a home game as well. However, the 2nd seeded team will be forced to travel if it came down to the 1st and 2nd seed in the conference championship game. That is why maintaining the 1st seed is so important for Seattle – The 12th Man has proven to make things very difficult in Seattle for opposing teams. I think that it goes without saying that it is a benefit for any team to be playing at home, especially come playoff time. The Saints face the Seahawks in Seattle in just three weeks. The matchup could mean the difference between the 1st or 2nd seed.
Let us not get too far ahead of ourselves! Instead, let us concentrate on what is right in front of us. I think it is time that we start focusing on not only the Seahawks, but other important NFC games as well. This way we will know exactly what the Seahawks have to do on a week to week basis in order to meet their goals of taking the division and being the 1st seed heading into the playoffs. The Carolina Panthers and Detroit Lions have both made some noise, but I think right now we should be paying a little closer attention to the 49ers and Saints.
This Sunday the Seahawks host the Minnesota Vikings (2 – 7). On paper this one isn’t very exciting, but the Viks are coming off a victory and a lot of people will be paying attention because of the expected return of Percy Harvin against his former team. The Seahawks will need to concentrate on stopping Adrian Peterson, because whatever QB they trout out their (Probably Christian Ponder) won’t be able to do much against the Seahawks’ defense. Seattle needs to pick up where they left off: being awesome. This game is one full of returns. Other than Harvin, the Seahawks are expected to finally see the return of starting tackles Russell Okung, and Breno Giacomini. Additionally, it is more than likely that Max Unger, and Red Bryant both return after missing the game against the Atlanta Falcons last week due to concussions that they both suffered against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a couple weeks ago. Jeremy Lane is also likely to play, and Tony McDaniel is a game-time decision.
Yeah, the Seahawks are starting to look absolutely stacked, but not all is right. Seahawks CB Brandon Browner suffered a severe injury to his groin, according to Pete Carroll. It is unclear whether the Seahawks will place Browner on IR, which would end his season. Hopefully we will have a better idea soon, but when Carroll says it is serious, I fear the worst for Browner. Regardless, the Seahawks need to take care of business and get their 10th win, maintaining their position at the top of the NFC.
San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints:
Oh, hey, look at that! Aren’t we lucky; the 49ers happen to travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints! One of these two teams has to lose this Sunday, or at least tie (unlikely). That means if the Seahawks take care of business against the Vikings, they will gain ground on at least one of these two teams. This matchup has many confused about which team they should root against more, but I am here to tell you that you should absolutely always root against the team that is within your own division. Yes, the gap between the 49ers and Seahawks is larger, but that does not change the fact that taking the division is Seattle’s first priority.
Brees doesn’t do terrible / New Orleans Saints Facebook Page
Outside of our game against the Vikings, the 49ers and Saints is the most important game of the week. The 49ers’ defense was good last week against the Panthers, but Colin Kaepernick and the offense were terrible. Kaepernick will have to have a stellar game in order to beat the Saints, who are coming off a red hot performance on both sides of the ball. The one thing the 49ers’ offense cannot afford is to have another outing like the one they just had, so Kaepernick will have to turn a corner, and fast. If Kaepernick is unable to complete a pass more than 10 yards down field again – game over. You can be sure that Drew Brees will be able to complete passes down the field, so the 49ers’ defense will have to be on top of their game if they hope to slow down the Saints offense enough for the 49ers to try and keep pace. San Fransisco is a good team, so they should not be written off against the Saints so easily.
Welcome to the playoff push. Go Hawks!
Tyson Sweet is a Seattle Seahawks writer for cascadiasports.com. Follow him on Twitter @The12thDude, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google