seahawks

The Finale – Seahawks At Cardinals To End 2015/16 Regular Season

Seahawks In, But A Win Could Net The Five Seed

The stage is now set for the Seattle Seahawks final regular season game of the NFL 2015 season.  The opponent is the already crowned, 2015 NFC West Champions—The Arizona Cardinals.  Despite the Cardinals already locking up the division crown, both Seattle and Arizona have something to play for on Sunday, however.

A Seahawks win over the Cardinals, accompanied by a loss by the Vikings to the Packers, would mean the Seahawks would be awarded the number five seed in the playoffs.  Seattle would head to Washington for the first round of the playoffs.  This could arguably be seen as a more favorable place to begin the playoffs than heading to Minnesota or Green Bay. 

The Cardinals have a similar scenario in that if they beat the Seahawks, and that win is joined with a loss by the Panthers to the Buccaneers, they would have the number one seed and the coveted home field advantage throughout the playoffs that comes with it.

For the Seahawks, it has to begin with winning their game and not worrying about anything else.  Here’s what I’ll be hoping to see if the Seahawks are to take out the Cardinals Sunday.

Russell Okung

Okung out does not help the Seahawks’ offensive line.

The Offensive Line

Bottom Line, the offensive line had better play much, much better than they did a week ago against the Rams.  Patrick Lewis, the Seahawks center, was particularly bad in blocking and had trouble with the snap on two occasions, sending one high and one low back to Russell Wilson in the shotgun.  While neither blunder was officially a turnover, both were drive killers.

Also of concern is the Seahawks overall health on the offensive line.  Russell Okung, who missed last week’s game, is still questionable with a calf injury.  J.R. Sweezy is also a question mark after sustaining a concussion.  The injuries would mean that Alvin Bailey could get the start again at left tackle while Lemuel Jeanpierre would likely take over at guard.

Missing two of the five guys who had finally started to play well together could wind up being detrimental to the Seahawks chances in this one if both are forced to sit out.

More Injuries

It’s not just the offensive line that’s dealing with too many guys in the training room.  Luke Willson is still trying to work past a concussion.  Jimmy Graham is already out for the year and he’s been joined by Anthony McCoy.  That leaves just Cooper Helfet at the tight end position for the Seahawks along with Chase Coffman who’s played a grand total of one game in the past two seasons.

If Willson can’t go, the Seahawks will be severely limited in one they can do offensively while utilizing the tight end position.  It could lead to more four receiver sets, more passing and with a weakened offensive line, it could be a long day for Russell Wilson.

Still no Beast for Seattle. They cannot give up on the run, however.

Still no Beast for Seattle. They cannot give up on the run, however.

Also of concern injury-wise has to be the continued absence of Kam Chancellor who’s been nursing a sore tail bone.  He’s joined by Michael Bennett on the defensive side of the training room.  The only good news here is that their replacements, Kelcie McCray and Frank Clark, have both played well.

The Run Game

As bad as the running game was for the Seahawks last weekb they cannot just give up on the run against Arizona.  Marshawn Lynch won’t be back just yet and the offensive line is definitely a big question mark in this game.  Still, the Seahawks will have to get some combination of Christine Michael and Fred Jackson working on the ground if they want to win.

One thing I have noticed on Michael is that he seems to be far more effective in less exotic run blocking schemes.  I actually look for the Seahawks to not abandon the runb but to emphasize the simpler runs, such as power, or draws, while shying away a bit from the read-option.

Wilson will have to lead the Seahawks to victory like he never has been asked to do before.

Wilson will have to lead the Seahawks to victory like he never has been asked to do before.

Russell Wilson

If ever there was a game set up for Wilson to pick up the Seahawks, put the team on his shoulders, and carry them to a victory, it would be this one.

Wilson has been dogged his entire career as a guy who was not capable of doing that the way a Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers can.  This game represents an opportunity for Wilson to take on that challenge and silence his critics on one of the few aspects of his play that he’s not already done so.

Doug Baldwin and Wilson are starting to form the kind of chemistry between QB and WR that you rarely see in the NFL anymore.  They’ll need to look every bit the part of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice on Sunday for the Seahawks to beat the Cardinals.

Prediction

I’m not an optimist on this one.  Arizona is one of the top two teams in the NFL right now and the Seahawks area beat up with injuries all over the place.  Seattle will have to play a nearly perfect game in all three aspects to beat the Cardinals on their field.

I don’t think it will happen.  The Seahawks will be the number six seed in the playoffs after falling the Cardinals, 27-17.

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About Brian Scott

Husband, Philosopher, Animal Rights Advocate, and Author Brian is a Spokane native and Gonzaga University grad. Seahawks, Mariners, GU Hoops and Cougar football are the teams that drive his passion for sports. You can catch him on twitter too! Connect with Brian today!
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