If you remember the 2010 season, the Seattle Seahawks had just gotten smashed 38-15 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, sending them to 6-9 on the season. Because the NFC West was all-time bad that year, Seattle had the chance to get into the playoffs by simply beating the 7-8 St. Louis Rams in front of a nationally televised audience on Sunday Night Football.
The 2010 Seahawks were at below 50% win probably 100% of the time in the 2nd halves of all of their losses. It was brutal to watch and somehow the team was actually worse (by DVOA) than the Jim Mora-led 2009 mess. This famously led to debate over whether or not having a high draft pick at 6-10 was preferable to making the playoffs and likely getting squashed again. After all, Seattle was starting Charlie Whitehurst in week 17.
I was fully on board with tanking, then Whitehurst did this and all of my tanking thoughts went away…
Here we are seven years later, and we are almost in the same spot. Seattle needs a hell of a lot more help to make the playoffs this time around, and if they don’t, it’ll be one of the shocks of the season that a preseason favorite to win the NFC didn’t make it into January. Hope is not lost yet, but is it worth going to the playoffs, knowing full well this team cannot overcome the injuries it’s suffered, and getting blown out again?
The positive of making the playoffs is the impossible-to-suppress belief that once you’re in, you can win. I reckon the 2011 New York Giants are the worst team to win the Super Bowl in this century. Screw draft positioning, why can’t Russell Wilson and company win three straight on the road and make it to Minneapolis? Stranger things have happened.
Then you have the flip side, which is not wanting to be involved in the playoffs at all given the way this season has gone. It gives the Seahawks a head start on a critical offseason in which you figure many key moves will be made. Seattle would be assured no worse than the 20th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. They do not have a second- or third-rounder, so you just know John Schneider is itching to use pick #20 to trade, trade, and do more trades until Seattle has literally an entire round all to itself. The Seahawks are conclusively not as talented in 2017 as they were in 2013, and that’s with a 100% healthy roster. Michael Wilhoite is not in the same zip code as Bruce Irvin. None of the current running backs is as good as Marshawn Lynch. Every receiver not named Doug Baldwin is inferior to Golden Tate. Bradley McDougald is good and simultaneously not better than 2013 Kam Chancellor. Talent means everything to this team and the Seahawks need more of it, and their #1 source is the draft.
So what do you want? Playoffs or no playoffs? I’m torn between two minds, but at a minimum, I’d love to knock the Dallas Cowboys out of contention, regardless of how Seattle’s season ends. The recency bias of getting smashed to pieces at home by the Rams may sway results a bit, but remember that “I don’t want to see the Seahawks in the playoffs” doesn’t mean “I hope they lose out.” Seattle can finish 10-6 and still miss anyway.