The Seahawks’ victories have come against teams that are a combined 5-13. But their losses have come by three, seven and two points, and that's credible testimony to their potential.
LONDON — Like a convention bump in an election year, there’s usually an optimism bump after a convincing win on the football field.
So after the Seahawks throttled the Raiders 27-3 on Sunday at Wembley Stadium, it was understandable if enthusiasm spiked for a team that once seemed a loss from calling hospice.
But a day later, as subsided emotion makes way for reason, it’s fair to ask: Are the Seahawks on a roll, or are they just rolling bad teams?
Anybody watching the Raiders on Sunday could see they’re a hapless bunch right now. They couldn’t have passed the eye test if they had stolen the answer sheet before kickoff.
The offensive line was in shambles. The pass rush was invisible. The game was basically over when the Wembley fans sat after God Save the Queen.
The Cardinals squad Seattle beat on a last-second field goal two weeks earlier wasn’t much better. And though the 3-3 Cowboys are defying expectations, the fact remains that the Seahawks’ victories have come against teams that are a combined 5-13, and only Arizona was a true road game.
So you could argue that anything short of a .500 record at this point would be an embarrassment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t argue these guys are legitimate playoff contenders as well.
One of the measuring sticks for the glory-days Seahawks was the 95 consecutive games they played without losing by more than 10 points. Losses are inevitable in the parity-stamped world of the NFL, but incessantly avoiding blowouts is revealing of a team’s mettle.
And in 2018, the Seahawks’ losses have come by three, seven and two points, the most recent of which was against the unbeaten Rams.
That’s not insignificant. That’s credible testimony to their potential.
It doesn’t mean you’ll see any of these guys gracing a Sports Illustrated cover anytime soon, but it could mean their vacations won’t start before January.
Once-tenuous areas suddenly look tenable. The offensive line bullied the Rams in Week 5 and bulldozed the Raiders on Sunday, re-establishing the previously forsaken running game in the process. The secondary that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll expressed concern over just before the regular season began has been surprisingly effective, with Seattle ranked third in the NFL in passing defense.
And though quarterback Russell Wilson isn’t being asked to provide the entirety of the Seahawks’ offense, as he has in previous years, he’s having a quietly efficient season after a shaky first two games.
I don’t know if there’s enough evidence to call the Seahawks good, but as far as slipping into the postseason, they might just be good enough.
Fact: Six of Seattle’s next 10 games are at home, which generally is worth a touchdown when it comes to betting lines. Throw in CenturyLink Field’s notoriously eardrum-punishing atmosphere, and it might be a touchdown and a two-point conversion.
Fact: Only half of the Seahawks’ next 10 opponents have winning records. The key to a playoff appearance is to hold serve in all the “should win” games and sneak in an upset somewhere along the road. Given how tight the Seahawks played the Rams two Sundays ago, the chances of that upset have gone from “never” to “ya never know.”
Fact: The NFL doesn’t make any sense. We’ll see the Bills lose to the Ravens by 44 then beat the Vikings by 21. We’ll see the Lions fall to the Jets by 31 then beat the Patriots by 16. We’ll see seasons defined by fluke injuries, missed extra points and calls that make you wonder if the replacement refs are back.
Other than the Patriots eventually figuring it out and making a deep postseason run, it’s nearly impossible to forecast anything in this league.
But I think we’ve learned enough about the Seahawks through six games to know that relevance is a real possibility all season long. To proclaim they will get back to the playoffs this season might be arrogant, but to say they can’t would just be ignorant.