Discover more from Seaside Joe
What a win over the Cardinals would mean for the Seahawks in Week 9
Seaside Joe 1342: 6 takeaways from the difference of winning and losing
The Seattle Seahawks have yet to sweep the Kliff Kingsbury Cardinals. Could Geno Smith be the missing component that is now ready to lead the charge towards getting the broom out?
I have at least six benefits—other than obvious—to beating Arizona on Sunday.
Seaside Joe is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Let me know what I’m missing when you get to the comments section.
A 6-3 start
The Seahawks best starts under Pete Carroll are 8-0 in 2013 and 7-1 in 2019. The outcomes of those two seasons were very different. In 2019, Seattle ended up with an 11-3 record and had a slight advantage over the 49ers, but then the Seahawks lost their last two games and settled for a wild card.
Since losing the Super Bowl to the Patriots, the only quarterbacks that the Seahawks have beaten in the playoffs are Teddy Bridgewater (2015), Matthew Stafford (2016), and Josh McCown (2019). Can Seattle change that trend in 2022? First, the Seahawks need to qualify for the playoffs and a 6-3 start under these current circumstances would be a huge step towards clinching a spot.
The Seahawks have started 6-3 under Carroll four times, including 2014 (SB), 2016 (DIV), 2017 (missed playoffs), and 2020 (WC).
First place in the NFC West
A win on Sunday would guarantee that the Seahawks are in first place after nine weeks.
The 4-4 49ers are on their BYE week. The 3-4 Los Angeles Rams are facing the 3-5 Buccaneers in Tampa Bay; their records are similar, but the Bucs are eighth in DVOA and the Rams are 24th. The implication being that Tampa Bay is saving their best for the second half of the season, but Los Angeles has had massive issues in pass protection, run blocking, and supporting cast around Matthew Stafford that seem to have no easy answers.
And the defense ain’t much better.
Imagine how difficult it would be to convice somebody a couple of months ago that the Geno Smith-led Seahawks would not only have a better record than the defending Super Bowl champions at the midway point, but that Seattle would actually appear to be the better team by almost any measure.
However, the Seahawks still have both games left against the Rams and Sean McVay has won eight of 11 career games coached against Pete Carroll.
But if the Seahawks improve to 6-3 and the Rams fall to 3-5, Seattle buys a lot of legroom between themselves and Aaron Donald this time. (Speaking of Donald, is there a deterioration of skills that’s being covered up right now? Donald had 70 pressures in 2018, but that number has gone down in three successive seasons (55, 45, then 41 last year) and right now he’s on pace for about 20 pressures.)
A 3-game lead on the Cardinals
The Seahawks are 24-22-1 all-time against Arizona and 4-3 since the Cardinals adopted the Kliff Kingsbury plan in 2019. Kingsbury has never been swept by the Seahawks, rebounding from losing the first game against Seattle in 2020 and 2021. Can Kingsbury rebound this time?
If not, the Seahawks will be looking at 6-3 against 3-6 in the division with a sweep over Arizona. That’s an insurmountable lead, by NFL standards.
Added pressure to fire Kingsbury
I have absolutely no desire to see Kliff Kingsbury get fired, but I’ve long monitored coaching hot seats and tried to predict what would be the final nail in the coffin. As most of us do, I assume. It sure seems like the Seahawks have been the last or near-last game for many head coaches in the last 10 years.
The Cardinals went 11-6 and made the playoffs last season, leading to extensions for Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim, as well as Kyler Murray. However, it will be very hard to get right if Arizona starts 3-6, followed by two more divisional games in Weeks 10 and 11: at Rams, vs 49ers.
Kingsbury and Kyler can’t go 0-3 from Week 9-Week 11 without thinking long and hard about whether or not this air raid head coach is the right air raid head coach. Because Kyler’s not going anywhere.
Keep pace in the NFC playoff picture
If Seattle wins, then the leading team in the NFC West is 6-3. If the Seahawks lose, then they’ll be 5-4, followed by the 49ers at 4-4 (so technically, Seattle will still be in first, even if they lose) and the Rams could be 4-4 or 3-5, while the Cardinals would be 4-5.
A loss keeps the Cardinals one game behind the Seahawks in first. A win gives Seattle a nice cushion.
If the Seahawks get that cushion, then they can keep looking eye-to-eye with the Vikings (6-1, facing the Commanders on Sunday) and they can keep ahead of the NFC South-leading Falcons (4-4, facing the Chargers). The Seahawks also wouldn’t fall behind the 6-2 Cowboys (bye) and 6-2 Giants (bye).
It’s midseason, but not too soon to start thinking that whether Seattle is competing against divsion-winners or wild cards for positioning, a 6-3 record is going to be much more reason for optimism than 5-4. It could be the difference of jostling against the winner of the NFC South/scratching for a wild card berth OR establishing themselves as a legitimate threat to the 8-0 Eagles.
Your support is immense and it keeps my family in tact, consider upgrading at $5/month to get tons of weekly bonus content:
More fuel for Geno
Though I predicted that Drew Lock would win the competition, I was also rooting for Geno Smith because I knew that if it somehow worked out, he’d be the best story in the NFL. Somehow it’s working out, he’s the best story in the NFL (Mike Florio said this himself this week), and people love Geno Smith. I was going to say “People love Geno Smith again,” but this is the coming out party than Geno never had in New York.
There’s going to be a lot of support for Geno to win awards if the Seahawks keep winning with him. Rightfully so.