Week 11: Seahawks & NFC West
November 12, 2013
After a win in Atlanta the Seahawks (9-1) return home to host the Vikings (2-7) this Sunday in a tale of two tired teams.
For the Vikings, this will be the third away game in a stretch of six played since their week 5 Bye. Last week was a short one for them following a win during Thursday Night and the current ten day break couldn’t have come at a better time. Heading into Seattle to face the 12th Man is the dread of the entire NFC right now even without a depleted roster.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ponder starting as QB for the Vikings after dislocating his non-throwing shoulder last week against the Redskins. It’s a safe bet that this Sunday @ Seattle the arm will still be sore even if he does start. However at (2-7) and with two other eligible QBs I wonder if Minnesota will want to.
The Vikings still have 7 games left to play without a break left in the regular season. Even if Minnesota is sticking with Ponder, who has been out-thrown in pass yardage by opponents during every game this year, they only need look at their previous opponents the Redskins and Griffin III for reason not to start an injured QB too soon. They have nine days to prepare both Freeman and Cassel for a one game start with your starter still there in case things get real ugly.
Who knows? Along with players getting healthy and returning to the line, starting a backup QB that the Seahawks haven’t been preparing for might give the visiting Vikings a much needed edge.
For the Seahawks, week 11 will only be their third home game dating back to September 22nd. As a fan it really seems much longer than that. It will also be their 11th regular season game in a row on a schedule that has already seen Monday, Thursday and Sunday night games. With another Monday night against the Saints December 2nd still to go. Needless to say the upcoming week 12 – Bye is going to be a much welcomed break.
The trouble currently facing Seattle is the need to go through the Vikings to get there. The remaining Seahawks schedule;Vikings @ 2-7 – Bye – week 12 Saints @ 7-2 @ 49ers 6-3 @ Giants 3-6 Cardinals @ 5-4 Rams @ 4-6
An injury list that now includes Browner is still too long for the Seahawks but Okung, Giacomini, Unger, Bryant, Harvin and Lynch are all expected to practice this week.
With Lynch, himself coming off an injury (hip) and listed during week 10 with another (knee), I kind of hope to see more of Turbin and Michael if Seattle has the game in hand. Keeping Lynch rested and healthy once the guy finally has a stable line blocking and opening lanes I believe is key. Even if our injured starters miss Vikings @ this Sunday I can’t wait to see Beastmode unleashed against the Saints on Monday Night after practicing for 3 weeks behind roughly the same line.
And about Harvin, who hasn’t played a single game this year and the Seahawks being (9-1). With a Bye week approaching and two additional weeks of practice before the Monday Night Saints, why start him now? See above about starting injured players too soon. And against his previous team? Just one more unneeded distraction for a player many in Seattle have big expectations of. I say increase his practice time and debut him on Monday Night.
But hey, that decision is in Carroll’s more than capable hands. If this season has shown anything about the coach it has been his mastery of the depth chart. The fact that the Seahawks rush offense is ranked 2nd in the NFL behind an O-line playing musical injury chairs is nothing short of remarkable.
If we all really need a human interest story, rather than Harvin how about prior Seahawk John Carlson? You know, the Viking who led his team last week with seven catches for 98 yards and a touchdown against the Redskins? Personally I hope he has a great game @ Seattle, just not a winning one of course.
The rest of the NFC West;
Cardinals (5-4) week 9 Bye@ Jaguars 1-8 Colts @ 6-3 @ Eagles 5-5 Rams @ 4-6 @ Titans 4-5 @ Seahawks 9-1 49ers @ 6-3
Arizona is down but not out. Playing this week @ Jaguars (1-8) the Cardinals have an excellent chance to put the pressure on their divisional rivals with a win. The NFC West right now is the best division in the conference and wild-card spots for the playoffs are still up in the air. A win this Sunday not only moves the Cardinals two games above the Rams (4-6), but with a loss by the 49ers would tie the two rivals at (6-4) with a possible tie breaker to end the season with 49ers @ Cardinals.
Rams (4-6) week 11 Bye– Bye – week 11 Bears @ 5-4 @ 49ers 6-3 @ Cardinals 5-4 Saints @ 7-2 Buccaneers @ 1-8 @ Seahawks 9-1
Following a victory @ Colts, that was stunning to everyone but the Seahawks, the Rams head into a much deserved week off. Two weeks of practice for their new starting QB following a win on the road might just be what this team needed. Considering my Seahawks have a 5 game lead in the NFC West along with the Bye I’ll be cheering on the Rams during week 12 when they host Chicago.
49ers (6-3) week 9 bye@ Saints 7-2 @ Redskins 3-6 Rams @ 4-6 Seahawks @ 9-1 @ Buccaneers 1-8 Falcons @ 2-7 @ Cardinals 5-4
I find myself torn as the 49ers travel to the Saints for their week 11 game.
On one hand I would like to see the 49ers win @ Saints. This would create a possible 3-way tie for second best record in the NFC with the 49ers, Saints and Lions all at (7-3) while the Seahawks sit atop at (10-1) following a victory at home.
On the other hand a loss by the 49ers drops them into a possible tie for 2nd place in the NFC West with the Cardinals at (6-4). For reasons I won’t bother listing to explain that just makes me start laughing every time I think about it. Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Since hoping both teams rack up injuries against each other before ending the game in a tie isn’t really an option then it comes down to playoff considerations for my Seahawks. From that point of view week 11 will see me cheering on the Saints of all teams and placing my hopes on the Panthers and Rams to slow New Orleans down instead. The enemy of my enemy and all that.
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