From the Sidelines: Seattle Seahawks
We are now 3-4 this season, but ranked No. 2 in the NFC West. What is your take on these numbers?
Colin Floyd: Yes we are 3-4 but could easily be 7-0 if not for four fourth quarter collapses by the defense. The NFC West is struggling this year and if the Hawks can catch up to the Cardinals then we will be in good shape.
Cameron Caplinger: The Seahawks have had one one of the toughest schedules this season out of any team this season, without Kam Chancellor for two of the games and with a struggling offensive line. 3-4 isn’t what fans would desire, but it has been a transition period.
Rachel Hunter: I am still very hopeful that we’ll be able to clinch the top spot when it comes down to playoffs but right now, as you can see by the numbers, we’ve got some work to do.
Evan Elliott: I’m not worried. We started 4-4 last season and ended up in the Super Bowl. More importantly, four of our last nine games are against division opponents meaning that wins against them will help us climb both the division and conference standings.
Who has been our biggest asset thus far? Who has been our biggest weakness?
CF: Our best asset has been Tyler Lockett — he’s the second player in Seahawks history to score a receiving TD, punt return TD and kick return TD in a single season. Our biggest weakness has been the defense. It has allowed four teams to come back in the fourth quarter and win; it also are not forcing enough turnovers.
CC: Offensive line coach Tom Cable has been the only thing keeping this team together, dealing with their lack of pass blocking. The Seahawks are the most sacked team in the NFL, with Russell Wilson being taken to the ground 32 times.
RH: Our biggest asset has been Tyler Lockett, averaging 12.8 yards a game and is consistently a great receiver. He comes up with great runs and is just a reliable player to have on the field. Our weakness is the offensive line is just not doing its job and making it impossible to run a successful play.
EE: Russell Wilson is our biggest asset because he offsets the Hawks’ biggest weakness, the offensive line. Wilson doesn’t always get the respect he deserves, because he’s always had a dominant defense and running game. His ability to escape pressure and improvise is why we’re still afloat.
Who is our biggest competitor in the coming weeks?
CF: You don’t have to look any farther than our NFC West foe, the Arizona Cardinals. The Hawks sit atop our division and are fifth in the league in total offense and sixth in defense (Hawks are 16th on O and third on D). If we are going to make the playoffs we will need to beat the Cards both times this year.
CC: The Arizona Cardinals. The offense is finally clicking, something the Hawks couldn’t do last year with a mess of injuries at the quarterback and running back positions. Along with the consistent and well-coached defense, it will be a tough battle.
RH: I think our biggest competitor will be the Cardinals. Arizona is first in our division. If we can beat them, we can regain some confidence to push through the rest of the season. We can win, but we definitely need to be at our best and our O-line needs to figure things out.
EE: Dallas. The biggest competitor is always the next game. A win against the Cowboys would mean getting to .500 before the Hawks go on bye. If you want to look ahead further, the matchup after the bye week is against first-ranked Arizona. We play them twice so winning those games are crucial.
Where should we go from here?
CF: All the Hawks need to do is get the run game back on track, force more turnovers, protect the football better, close-out games stronger and continue to utilize Jimmy Graham, especially in the end zone.
CC: The games against the Cardinals will decide our playoffs fate. Currently the Seahawks have a 36.2 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to metrics by Football Outsiders. Games with the Cardinals with the division in the balance will have significant effects on playoff percentages.
RH: From this point on, we really need to start finishing games. If we can do that, we will head straight to the Super Bowl!
EE: We don’t have a ton of room for error after losing games that we should’ve won, but we should be fine. A lot of my optimism rests on being able to win within the division in the coming weeks. Nothing needs to be dramatically changed, the Hawks got hot around this time last year and I expect that to happen again.