The likelihood of a Seahawks victory against the Chargers on Sunday isn’t very high. The Chargers have an elite offense and strong enough defense, while the Seahawks are still finding their identity. Unlike our week one opponents, the 49ers, the Chargers are proven winners and have a Pro Bowl quarterback. They are not over-hyped. Instead, they fall into that category of not-quite-Super Bowl-contenders that is mostly anonymous.
For the Seahawks to beat them on Sunday, they will need a standout performance on defense and offense. You won’t beat the Chargers with one hand tied behind your back, even at Qwest Field.
If the Seahawks do find a way to rise up, it would tell us a few things. It would indicate that the Seahawks are official playoff contenders in the NFC. Some may argue that’s already proven, but most analysts around the country still see the 0-2 49ers or the 1-1 Cardinals as the clear favorites. A win over the Chargers would validate the opening day romp was about how good the Seahawks were instead of how bad the 49ers were. It would also put the defense on the map. Despite a horrible showing on 3rd down in Denver, there are signs that this could be a special defense, especially against the run. The coaches made significant alterations to their attacking scheme in week 1, and dropped lots of defenders into coverage against Kyle Orton. I’d expect to see a return to the attacking style after getting shredded last week. A win would help solidify that identity for the defense.
A win would make the Seahawks 2-1, with a real shot at going 3-1 with a game @STL in week 4, heading into the bye week. This is arguably the toughest home opponent the Seahawks face, although Atlanta is right there. Beating the Chargers makes a 7-1 home record a distinct possibility, which means only 1-2 road victories could win you a division.
These are the fun games to watch because a loss is expected for completely valid reasons, so anything other than a blowout becomes goodness. Maybe Earl Thomas announces to the league to be wary of him on deep balls. Maybe the pass rush forces people to reconsider the perceived weakness there. Maybe Justin Forsett can make fantasy football players rejoice by grabbing hold of the running back spot. Maybe Mike Williams causes Matt Millen to cry in his beer with a dominant performance. The worst-case scenario is we learn the Seahawks truly are a rebuilding team. Something tells me we’re in for a surprise.