Seahawks Schedule 5-pack: What's behind, What's ahead?
Zooming out and Zooming in on 5 Seahawks opponents: Seaside Joe 1704
I have had this idea for a while of looking at the most relevant five-game stretch of the Seattle Seahawks schedule: The most recent two opponents, the next two games, and the game this week. Where are those five teams (sometimes four) at either before or after playing the Seahawks?
The idea came to me after the Seahawks beat the Lions in Week 2 because we thought, but didn’t really know at the time, that Detroit could be a great team. Or be the Lions. Well, the Lions did win five of the next six games and are currently competing for the number one seed in the NFC with several other teams, including Seattle.
Now felt like a good time to try this segment out because the trade deadline just passed and there has been some huge news on the head coach and quarterback front this week.
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Week 7 - Arizona Cardinals (1-7)
What’s new: Josh Dobbs out, Clayton Tune in, Kyler Murray next?
The Seahawks best defensive performance of the season so far is probably a toss-up between the Giants and Cardinals. Seattle held Arizona to 122 net passing yards, 15 first downs, 249 total yards, and generated 10.34 Expected Points Added, the second-best for the Seahawks all year. The main difference between this game and New York being the 3 turnovers and 11 sacks on Monday Night Football, but Devon Witherspoon had one of each wiped off the board by penalty.
In their game since, the Cardinals lost 31-24 to the Ravens and traded quarterback Josh Dobbs to the Minnesota Vikings, announcing that rookie fifth round pick Clayton Tune would be the new starter. There are two potential paths forward: 1) Start Tune for the rest of the season and try to guarantee themselves the number one pick, or 2) Activate Kyler Murray to the 53-man roster and start him in 2-3 weeks.
If the Cardinals start Tune for the rest of the season, I do believe that 1-16 is in play and Arizona will have the first pick in the 2024 draft.
If they go back to Murray, they get to see him in the new offense, either to find out if he’s “the guy” or showcase him to other teams. But they also risk losing the top pick.
I think a lot of people, including myself, lost sight of the fact that Murray is an unpredictable weapon at quarterback. You take the highs with the lows and even if he’s not elite, my feeling is that the Cardinals would win more games with him than Tune. It maybe only takes one or two additional wins this year for Arizona to lose out on the number one pick. That could drastically change the plan for what to do with Murray in 2024.
As bad as the Cardinals were last season, they’re worse this season. Even the defense is giving up more points per drive and a higher rate of third down conversions under new defensive-minded head coach Jonathan Gannon.
Betting on any team to get the number one pick, the Chicago Bears should be favored because they have two shots at it. But I think the Cardinals have the best chance to be the worst team this season and it would be embarrassing for Seattle to lose the Week 18 rematch unless they’ve benched starters by then.
Next Game: at Browns. The Cardinals should be 1-8 after this week. Their most winnable games remaining on the schedule are probably the next 3 after Cleveland (Falcons, Texans, Rams) and a Week 16 road trip to Chicago which might be for the #1 pick.
Week 8 - Cleveland Browns (4-3)
What’s new: Deshaun Watson returns to full practice
It’s a “miracle”.
The Seahawks defense had a remarkable 0.00 EPA against the Browns last week: They were the perfect amount of “Didn’t hurt, didn’t help” against Cleveland. Of course, they did help (by Seattle’s defense being 0.00, Cleveland’s offense was also 0.00), I’m just saying that it’s rare to see a 0.00 EPA game as far as I know.
Signs point to Watson returning and he’s basically missed half of the season by now, but how much does that help? The Browns only 30 point games in the last two years have come with either Jacoby Brissett or P.J. Walker, not Watson.
Cleveland made one trade at the deadline, sending receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones to the Lions. His final game with the Browns will have come in Seattle.
Next game: vs. Cardinals. The Seahawks are looking for the Browns to do them three more favors this season: Lose to the Cardinals this week (to weaken their draft position), beat the Rams in Week 13 (unless by then it is better to see L.A. win), and lose to the Bears in Week 15 (to weaken the Cards and Rams draft positions).
Week 9 - Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
What’s new: 3-game winning streak
Since a brutal 17-10 loss to the Steelers in which receiver George Pickens broke past Marlon Humphrey for a go-ahead 41-yard touchdown with barely a minute remaining, the Ravens have pulled together to win 24-17, 38-6, and 31-24. They are third in rushing yards even though they lost running back JK Dobbins to an Achilles tear in Week 1.
Baltimore has many offensive threats including Mark Andrews, Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham, Nelson Agholor, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, and of course Lamar Jackson, who is enjoying his most efficient season as a passer under first-year offensive coordinator Todd Monken.
The Ravens are also first in points allowed, third in red zone offense, third in red zone defense, first in pass defense efficiency, sixth in third down offense, and 10th in third down defense.
They’re a good team and they blew out the Lions, and yet Baltimore also lost to Gardner Minshew’s Colts at home and that game to Kenny Pickett.
I’m a big fan of this All-22 channel by a Ravens fan, although he also does occasional content about the Seahawks, Lions, and whatever else interests him at the time. Check it out for more study on Baltimore:
Though Baltimore made no trade deadline moves, they reportedly had a deal in place for Derrick Henry that fell through. A year ago, the Ravens traded for linebacker Roquan Smith (something I said the Seahawks should consider) and the defense has been much better since that move. Whether Seattle should have done it is a different matter.
Week 10 - Washington Moons (3-5)
What’s new: Traded away Chase Young, Montez Sweat
In the wake of headlines that the Raiders fired Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler, perhaps the biggest news in Washington is the move that they didn’t make this week: Ron Rivera is still the head coach, Martin Mayhew is still the GM, and the team was allowed to trade Young and Sweat for day two draft picks.
I really don’t think that trading Young and Sweat makes the Moons a “worse team” moving forward because they were already really bad: Washington is 31st in points allowed, 29th in yards allowed, and 32nd in passing touchdowns given up. Young and Sweat may each finish with double-digit sacks, but the Moons are bad with or without them.
If anything, I suspect that new ownership kind of panicked after the team started 2-0 with wins against the Cardinals and Broncos. That wasn’t the plan!
They’re 1-5 since then with a win over the Falcons and I do not expect the Moons to beat a single good team this season. I would not be surprised if big names on the roster start hitting IR sooner than later.
Week 11 - L.A. Rams (3-5)
What’s new: Matthew Stafford avoids IR…barely
L.A.’s entire season will be decided this Sunday in Green Bay at Lambeau Field: If they beat the Packers, then the Rams can think about getting healthy during the bye week before facing the Seahawks on November 19th.
But if they lose to a team that currently has a worse record and might not win many more games this season, the Rams must be solely focused on the 2024 draft. It is possible that by next week, the L.A. Rams have as many losses this season as the Panthers, Bears, Giants, and Patriots, and that only the Cardinals have more.
If that happens, we might not see Stafford on the field when the Seahawks play the Rams in two weeks.
If Stafford can’t start this week, which would dramatically increase their odds of losing to the Packers, then Brett Rypien is next in line to start. There is nobody else behind him other than Dresser Winn, a street free agent added to the practice squad this week.
The Seahawks need the Rams to win some of their other games so that Seattle doesn’t feel bad if they beat them in Week 11 and get them that much closer to a top-3 pick.