After the Seahawks won three straight games, they were in a good position to get back on top of the NFC West. Things changed on Sunday when they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Arizona Cardinals won their match up. Now they are three full games behind their division foe. Even if the 2013 Superbowl champions can beat the Cardinals in both their meetings, they will need a little outside help. To say the Seattle Seahawks are facing an uphill battle, may be an understatement.
It has been over a decade since the last time a team won the Superbowl in back to back years. With the Seahawks being the youngest team to win the Superbowl last year, things looked good for them to break that streak. Now they are going to be fighting just to make it into the playoffs.
During their 2013 Superbowl campaign the Seahawks only lost three games the entire season. In 2014 they have lost four games before Thanksgiving. The road to the playoffs is the hardest in the NFL for the defending champions, as all but one of their remaining opponents had double-digit wins last year.
The Chiefs use to be the division rival of the Seahawks back when they were both in the AFC West, and the Kansas City fans have not forgotten that rivalry. In the bitter cold weather, the two teams battled it out in a dirty game, but the Chiefs were able to walk away with a victory. No bad calls by the referees, no dirty plays, just a hard-fought victory.
Both teams were near the top against the run on defense, but both Marshawn Lynch and Jamaal Charles made running look easy. Lynch ran for 124 yards on 24 attempts but was unable to cross pay dirt and get a touchdown. Through 10 games the Chiefs still have not allowed a rushing touchdown.
The Seahawks immediately felt the impact of losing defensive tackle Brandon Mebane. Charles gashed the defense for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Charles was able to break off several big runs against a defense that for the most part looked strong. With an uphill battle looming, the Seahawks are going to need every man to step up and play their best. The motto of “Next man up” is going to be put to the test in the final six weeks of the season.
The Seahawks won every statistical category possible, except the score. The team and the fans knew this would be a tough match up against a solid team. The outcome could have gone either way, and had Seattle been able to convert on several fourth down opportunities, they could have walked away with a much-needed win and extended their win streak to four games.
Next week the Seahawks are back in the comfort of Century Link Field, where they have only lost two games since Russell Wilson has been the starting quarterback. One of those two losses was against the Cardinals last season. If the Seahawks are going to get back on track and be a playoff team they are going to have to beat the Cardinals this Sunday.
The Cardinals are also facing several injuries, so they have no sympathy for the Seahawks injury woes. Starting quarterback Carson Palmer went down two weeks ago with a torn ACL and is out for the rest of the season. Backup quarterback Drew Stanton picked up right where Palmer left off, and played effective in a home game against the Detroit Lions. The Cardinals defense is one of the strongest in the league and has been winning games for them all season long.
The Cardinals come back to Seattle for a 1pm game Sunday Nov 23. The Cardinals are looking for the same result as the last time they were in Seattle, while the Seahawks are looking to avenge that lost, and get back into playoff consideration. If the season were to end today, Seattle would be watching at home on TV with the rest of the fans. The uphill battle for the Seahawks has gotten a little steeper after losing in Kansas City.
Commentary by Andy Lapic
Photo by Mobilus –Flickr License