Seahawks vs 49ers; is it a case of do or die?


Is tonight’s Seahawks vs 49ers matchup a “must-win” game for Seattle?

Comedian Brian Regan sure doesn’t think so.

OK, so we’re not talking about a best-of-seven series here, but the same concept applies. The Seahawks CAN lose this game tonight and still make the playoffs….. mathematically. 

Consider this:

  1. As much panic and hand-wringing as there is in Seattle today, and for all the focus on how these two teams are tied for last place in the NFC West heading into tonight’s contest, “last place” doesn’t have the same meaning in October as it does in December. The Seahawks are only two games behind Arizona in the standings, with two game against them still ahead on the schedule.
  2. The have-nots clearly outnumber the have’s in this year’s NFL. In fact, 18 of the league’s 32 teams have a losing record at this point. The typical separation we see this time of year between would-be playoff teams and also-rans just doesn’t exist. That creates more opportunity.

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So yes, the Seahawks could lose tonight and still have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. They would even still have a realistic chance of winning the division and the home playoff game that comes with it. Mathematically. 

But we know that football, perhaps more than any other sport, is so much more than a game of numbers. Intensity, confidence, swagger, momentum, desperation and emotion can play just as big a role in a team’s success.

You can try to X and O the Seahawks troubles this year all you want, but the line between winning and losing in this league is so razor thin…. the difference between the Seahawks of 2015 and the previous two year’s can simply be a play made here or there. IF Tyler Eifert dosn’t make that amazing sliding catch in Cincinnati. IF Dion Bailey doesn’t slip and fall in St. Louis. IF Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas are both playing the correct coverage on the final play against Carolina. You can easily make a case of why the Seahawks should be 5-1, or even 6-0.

Or, look at it this way. How many times have the Seahawks been the team to make that play to ice a game over the last couple seasons? The goal line stand on Monday night in St. Louis, or the Earl Thomas/Benny Cunningham forced fumble, or the Kearse catch in Carolina, or…… take your pick.

The sky isn’t falling, Pete Carroll hasn’t forgotten how to coach, and this team isn’t on the verge of requiring a dismantling. They just aren’t doing enough things to finish off wins.

That being said, it sure feels as if tonight’s game will determine what the rest of this season is going to look like. For the first time in four years we are seeing cracks in the team’s foundation. That once massive chip on their shoulder is missing, as is their intensity, their confidence, and their killer instinct. Things that used to be a given for them aren’t any longer. The talent is there, but something has been missing. How they respond tonight, on a short week, against a team that now lacks many of the components that made Seahawks vs 49ers such an epic rivalry before, will speak volumes.

A win under these circumstances could be the spark that ignites a winning streak.

A loss could render this year one to forget.

At least until I do the math again, and possibly write these same exact things a week from now. Because if there was ever a year when the NFL was forgiving of a slow start, it’s this one.

Game on!

Next: NFL TV Maps for Week 7

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