Seahawks win today would be great. Not critical, but close enough

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 02: <> at CenturyLink Field on December 2, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 02: <> at CenturyLink Field on December 2, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

The Seahawks can clinch a return to the playoffs today with a win over the 49ers. It isn’t critical, but considering the next two, I’d like to get it done.

The Seattle Seahawks are a virtual certainty to make the playoffs after beating the Minnesota Vikings last week. Many sites predict them to go 9-7, at least, and have the fifth seed all but locked up. That’s where I see problems, words like  “virtual” and “all but”. Yes, the 49ers are just 3-10, but they’re better than their record. Happily they played like their record in the first meeting, as Seattle demolished them. But my concerns are legitimate.

The Niners are in the middle of the pack against both the run and the pass. Their big problem is in turnovers. They’re among the league’s worst in turnover margin. They’ve thrown 16 picks, yet managed to make just two interceptions on defense. If Russell Wilson has another glitchy day like he did last week against the Vikings, this could be a difficult game. I expect it to be much tougher than the first, but I do expect Seattle to prevail.

But if they don’t, there’s nothing but trouble ahead. The Seahawks host the Kansas City Chiefs next week. You may have heard of their quarterback, Pat Mahomes. All he’s done is throw 45 touchdown passes so far this season. In 13 games, his passer rating has been over 110 ten times.

You may also recall the Seahawks are no longer among the top-rated pass defenses in the league. This is a really dangerous match-up, and the Chiefs are still fighting to win their division, thanks to the scurrilous Los Angels Chargers.

If the Seahawks are still in need of a playoff-clinching win in week 17, the Arizona Cardinals are all that would stand in their path. The Cardinals aren’t good. But they weren’t good when Seattle struggled to eke out a three point victory over them in week four. They weren’t good last year when Seattle won by six in the first game, then lost in the last week of the season in a game they needed to win for any chance of the playoffs. That hope was lost before the game was, but the Hawks looked out of it from the start. In 2016 Seattle tied a mediocre Cardinals team in one of the worst games ever, then lost in a shootout in the rematch.

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To borrow from an excellent sport, the Cardinals are far from an automatic out. Over the last five games, Seattle is just 2-2-1 against them, despite Arizona clearly being the inferior team. I am not at all comfortable saying the last game of the season is a lock. I’m not at all comfortable saying the playoffs are a lock. The Seahawks are playing two bad teams in the last three games, but bad teams manage to win games they shouldn’t, especially within the division. Let’s see the Hawks put the Niners out, and get this done now.