Team of destiny? Seahawks face a big week

We might see a lot more of this tomorrow...

Despite sitting nicely atop the NFC with an 8-1 record, the Seahawks don’t necessarily feel like a team of destiny.

Not recently, anyway.

I’m not sure how many Super Bowl champions have looked the part in early November. This time last year the Baltimore Ravens were 7-2, but were two weeks removed from a crushing 43-13 beat-down in Houston.

They got hot at the right time — aka the post season. And then they became a team of destiny. The pieces fell into place and story lines emerged. Ray Lewis’ final dance, Joe Flacco’s ever growing contract demands.

The Seahawks could just as easily catch fire, especially if they secure home field advantage in the playoffs. Teams who don’t face many obstacles during the season usually drown in their own self satisfaction by January.

Those that are challenged usually see the benefit down the road.

Yet the Seahawks still face what seems like a particularly crucial week — starting in Atlanta tomorrow.

What actually looked like a very easy part of the schedule has turned into a war of attrition.

The game in St. Louis against Kellen Clemens and a home meeting against the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers was supposed to be a cake walk. It was the opposite. No cake. Just mountains and rain.

This ‘easy’ run was supposed to continue into the Falcons game and move into the pre-bye encounter with Minnesota.

10-1. Bring on the Saints and Niners.

Not so fast.

The horrible struggles that emerged in the last two games were a warning shot. Not a catastrophe or even a reality check like some have suggested. Just a little nudge.

If Seattle can keep rolling with the punches and get into their bye at 10-1, they’ll be well positioned to go for home field advantage and the NFC West title. They won’t necessarily have to rely on winning in San Francisco.

Atlanta hasn’t run the ball well this year. In fact, they rank #32. Yet St. Louis and Tampa Bay haven’t run the ball all that well either. The Rams and Buccs got a huge statistical boost against the Seahawks but are still only 23rd and 18th respectively when it comes to running the ball.

If the Falcons are looking for a kick start, this could be it.

The run defense needs to improve. Losing Red Bryant to a concussion won’t help matters — but it could be argued the main problem lies beyond the defensive line. The linebackers just haven’t done a good enough job filling the gaps. The defensive ends — undersized as they are — are never going to be great edge setters.

I genuinely wonder if we’ll see a more orthodox four man front on Sunday, with Michael Bennett playing mostly end. Pete Carroll suggested they’d worked on a formation to cover Bryant’s absence. Maybe the most creative defensive line in the NFL will go back to basics?

They need to do something, because while Atlanta has struggled to run this year — they ran all over the Hawks in the playoffs. With Michael Turner at running back. The same Michael Turner who is now out of the league. They managed 167 total yards.

Things don’t get any easier next week with Adrian Peterson in town — and he gashed the Seahawks last year for a half before Minnesota bizarrely took the ball out of his hands.

It’s only two weeks removed that Seattle were shutting down the run in Arizona superbly. More of that and you have a great chance to win the next two.

One other issue they face this weekend (not so much against the Vikings) is a good quarterback. However well Clemens and Mike Glennon played, they couldn’t finish the job. Matt Ryan will not go cold. He won’t need four downs to get into the end zone from a yard out. And he can be incredibly clinical.

It’s a little bizarre how badly Atlanta has folded this year, but most of their problems are on defense. They still have their franchise quarterback.

If there’s a week to bring the pressure and really bring it, this is it. Ryan cannot be allowed to pick apart this defense like he did at times last season. Of course, he’s also one of the more generous quarterbacks out there and can be good for at least one head scratching pick. He had three last week.

There’s no doubt this team will be far better after the bye. Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini will return. Hopefully Percy Harvin will be back too — and boy does that offense need a playmaker at receiver.

Right now they need to try and limp home, battered and bruised but still winning.

Max Unger’s absence will mean we get to see the same line that was abused by Houston in week four. Once again, only one of Seattle’s five offensive line starters will feature in his intended position (J.R. Sweezy).

The Falcons have the 21st best rush defense and the 21st best pass defense. They only have 18 sacks for the year.

Even with another patchwork line, there’s nothing to fear there. But can they get the job done?

More than anything it’d be nice to see a completely boring victory.

Every win apart from the walkover against Jacksonville has had it’s moments. Some games have been more stressful than others. The Arizona win is a great example of what was actually a pretty emphatic victory, but they still managed to turn a 14-0-with-the-ball waltz into a 17-13 battle to start the second half.

If it has to be stressful on Sunday, so be it.

If it can be dull, dull dull and 20-3 Seattle instead, I think we’d all appreciate the break.

But this is a big two weeks. The Seahawks are hurting and might just run out of luck after testing it several times in the last two weeks. If they are flying back from Seattle a home game away from 10-1 and then the bye — maybe this is a team of destiny after all?


  1. Colin

    I posted this in another thread, but I’m really excited to see how Bennett does in Red Bryant’s spot tomorrow. Bryant has no dead money after this year… it’s possible we could be seeing his future replacement there, although Pete has always maintained they want size at that position.

  2. smitty1547

    Banged up O line, big run stuffer hurt when we have been getting killed on the run. E Coast early start Im a little nervous for this one.

  3. KyleT

    I’ve given up trying to figure out how this team is going to play on any week. They seem to be able to turn it on at will to pull out a win or look incredibly mediocre sometimes from quarter to quarter. It’s why even though I was at the game last week I was never really nervous. I’ve become desensitized to anxiety over how they will perform.

    I think the biggest concern we all have as fans has to do with winning the division and the post season. We are worried that if we don’t get it right in games like this we may end up the #5 seed and struggle to pull out the road wins we need to get to febuary.

    What I have to keep telling myself is that it doesn’t matter. What matters is getting the “it” factor. The team of destiny factor. The we will beat you anywhere anytime anyway because we are playing our best football factor. We have a chance at that over the next 7 weeks.

    Until then, buckle up and enjoy the ride. If nothing else the seahawks have to be one of the most entertaining teams to watch right now. And remember home field advantage doesn’t matter when you play like crap. We have to set our sights on seeing the team playing their best football not necessarily the end result of a few games.

  4. Turp

    I think rotating in Malcom Smith more (at the expense of Wagner, who has been terrible at run D lately) will help a little bit.

    One of my favorite PS guys finally made the 53 man roster today – Michael Brooks! I’m excited to see him get a few snaps and hopefully claim his spot on this team.

    Matt Ryan is dangerous – I hope we don’t come out flat (Houston) this time…more like the Indy game without the ridiculous mistake plays.

  5. Hay stacker509

    Off topic a little but I’m watching the LSU game and I’m liking everything I’m seeing from Odell beckham!

    • CC

      Me too – he looks good. There are several LSU D players that look fast and hit hard – reminded me that Tharold Simon is a guy we’ll see next year.

  6. CC

    I keep thinking that because the Falcons ended our season last year, the team will be ready and will play well tomorrow. ATL is still dangerous, but I think our guys will be focus and ready to go. Last year in the first quarter ATL with supposedly no running game gouged us – let’s hope that doesn’t happen this year. Ryan will throw at least 2 picks tomorrow – he’ll try too hard to make plays and will turn it over.

  7. MJ

    Watching the LSU-Bama matchup too…can’t help but think of what a huge boost CJ Moseley would give this defense. He’s an absolute monster.

    • OakHarborHawk

      He had some big plays to keep LSU from getting back in the game.

      Could also see us drafting Beckham if Tate want’s too much money.

      • AlaskaHawk

        Moseley had a great game. I would pick him if he falls to us. He would solidify the LB play against the run.

        • MJ

          He’s so good in coverage. No chance he reaches us, but that’s one LB in R1 I would love to pounce on. I bet he runs a low 4.6 too; so plenty of speed.

  8. Belgaron

    Looking forward to a big win. Last chance for some of the young guys to get snaps before the cavalry arrives. Just when the trend followers are sure they’ve figured this team out, a big win will offer a new mystery. Big game for Lynch, Wilson, Thomas, Sherman, Bennett, and Irvin. Seahawks are about to be the most feared team again; the way they were in the latter half of last year.

  9. chris

    i think if we don’t get behind early and can feed lynch the ball at least 25 times we will win this one.

  10. Zach

    Look, even if you think the Seahawks are clearly the best team in the NFL (which to me is debatable and largely dependent on whether we’re talking about a theoretical healthy lineup or the current one), it’s not as if teams don’t struggle at various points throughout the season, even really good teams.

    Case in point: the 2007 Patriots, who I think we’d all agree were the most dominant regular season team in a while, needed a late touchdown to beat the AJ Feeley-led Eagles team (that went 8-8) in Week 12 and another late touchdown to beat the Kyle Boller-led Ravens (who went 4-12) in Week 13. This shit happens. The talent spread in the NFL (Jaguars notwithstanding, perhaps) is way less than we think, and good teams lose to bad teams all the time.

    While of course we’d all love for the Seahawks to be dominating every team they played, that’s just an unrealistic expectation. Great teams, Super Bowl-winning teams, have to gut out wins against inferior competition some times. That’s how you get to 14-2, how you get home field advantage, and get to the Super Bowl. It’s (sadly) not all 42-10 cakewalks.

    • Miles


  11. Miles

    Light at the end of the tunnel. 🙂

  12. AlaskaHawk

    Half time report: 23 to 3, the Seahawks are dominating. I’m final seeing the offense we all knew was hidden inside.

    • House

      The gritty wins we have pulled out prior to today’s game were much needed. Today’s game was without Harvin and 3 starting OL… Things can only look better!

      Browner’s groin injury may keep him out for a while, but Thurmond looked very good moving to #2.

  13. Hay stacker509

    I’m so so sooooo happy to finally see Michael out there running the ball… So impressed and I think Seattle has got the rotation it needs with bailey coming in and moving everywhere on the oline. He didn’t seem to get swallowed up to much and stood his ground rather well.
    9-1 and the hawks are running this bus full speed towards the meadowlands come February!

    • House

      Michael getting some burn is definitely a good thing. He is still having issues with pass protection in practice and I think that is the leading factor to his limited reps.

      I really like Bailey and think he’ll be one the main reasons McQuistan will be gone after this season. I think Bowie is doing better and seeing more of him is vital to the future of the RT position

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