Many Seahawks fans spent the bye weekend watching teams play from across the NFL. The most common question I was asked was, “Do we want team X or team Y to win in order to help the Seahawks?” It is a natural question, especially during a week when a Seahawks fan has no other rooting interest. It also is an annual tradition in Seattle, since Seahawks fans are so accustomed to being right on the edge of the playoffs. The franchise has a career record of 275-299. The team has finished with between 7-9 wins in twenty of their thirty-six seasons. Fans have become so accustomed to mediocrity that scoreboard watching is second-nature. I am no different. Usually, I am no different.
This season, I can’t bring myself to care that much about who wins and who loses. I am not combing the playoff scenario sites trying to figure out which teams might be the biggest threat to Seattle’s playoff hopes. The reason is that this team should not squeak into the playoffs. It should not win a complex series of tie-breakers, or hold its breath the last week hoping another team will lose. Part of how I am measuring this Seahawks team is whether they back into the post-season, or kick the door in.
Nine victories would be a massive disappointment for a team this talented, especially during a season in which they beat Green Bay, New England, and Dallas. Success this year must include at least ten wins. That is part of why this week is so important. A win puts some distance between Seattle and a .500 record. The goal is to be at least four games over .500, and they are currently just two. One victory in St. Louis, Arizona, San Francisco or Detroit would have the team at four games over. That is how critical each game can be.
I also get questions about whether I think Seattle can still win the division, albeit much fewer of those after the 49ers massacre on Monday night versus the Bears. I am not tracking that either. San Francisco may stumble. Seattle may finish with a flourish. I only care about the latter half of that equation. If Seattle goes 5-1 down the stretch, and finishes 11-5, I don’t really care if the 49ers finish 11-4-1. Well, maybe I’d care a little…
The point is that this season is about how good the Seahawks can be. It is not about making the playoffs. It is not about division titles. It is not about what other teams hand to Seattle. It is about what Seattle can take. They exit the bye week with glory sitting in front of them, waiting to be seized. I will be watching to see if they take it. Forgive me, if I ignore the other teams who have their eyes on the same prize.