By Jim Moore
If you listen to Russell Wilson, you know that the Seahawks’ quarterback likes to take it one game at a time.
I don’t. At this point in the Seahawks’ season, I like to take it six games at a time. Or in the case of the 49ers, seven games at a time.
I’m looking at the schedules of both teams and trying to see if Seattle has a reasonable shot at winning the NFC West. Like every other Seahawks fan, I’d take a wild-card berth, but Pete Carroll’s team has a better chance to advance in the playoffs if they win the division.
With their running game and defense, they are built to win on the road, but we all know they’re much better at home.
The NFC West-leading 49ers have a difficult remaining schedule that includes a Week 16 game against the Seahawks in Seattle. (AP)
The Seahawks have a bye this week, but we’ll all be watching the other games, hoping the NFC teams that are ahead of them lose. Same goes for the teams that are just behind the Seahawks, such as the 4-5 Cowboys and 4-5 Saints. The Cardinals are 4-5, too, but I’m not worried about them – they’ve lost five in a row and are about to make it six with a drubbing in Atlanta on Sunday.
At 6-2-1, the 49ers are only one game ahead of the Seahawks. I just don’t feel like they’re significantly better than the Hawks anymore, and the one-game difference speaks to that.
It’s going to get even tighter. The 49ers have a tougher schedule ahead. Here’s how I see it playing out:
Week 11: vs. Bears (possible loss)
Week 12: at Saints (possible loss)
Week 13: at Rams (possible loss)
Week 14: vs. Dolphins (win)
Week 15: at Patriots (possible loss)
Week 16: at Seahawks (possible loss)
Week 17: vs. Cardinals (win)
For my purposes, defined as wanting the Seahawks to be Super Bowl contenders, let’s say the 49ers lose four out of five to Chicago, New Orleans, St. Louis, New England and Seattle. That’s a plausible scenario when you consider that the 49ers aren’t invincible if they can lose 26-3 to the Giants and tied the Rams 24-24 in a couple of home games.
Chicago’s 7-2 and certainly capable of beating them Monday night. The Saints are on the rise, and the game will be played in the Superdome. The Rams just proved they can play the Niners to a standoff in San Francisco and will be even tougher at home. The Patriots in Foxboro? Another likely loss followed by the Hawks at CenturyLink.
Assuming the 49ers beat Miami and Arizona at home, that gives them a 10-5-1 record.
Now then, the Seahawks’ remaining schedule:
Week 12: at Miami (possible loss)
Week 13: at Chicago (possible loss)
Week 14: vs. Arizona (win)
Week 15: Buffalo in Toronto (win)
Week 16: vs. San Francisco (possible loss)
Week 17: vs. St. Louis (win)
In my NFC West-Division winning scenario, the Seahawks need to go 5-1 the rest of the way to finish with an 11-5 record and edge the Niners.
I’m counting on a win in Miami; the Dolphins lost their last home game 37-3 to Tennessee, and I’m pretty sure the Seahawks are better than the Titans.
I also have them losing in Chicago and ending the season with a four-game winning streak.
While all of this is happening, I’ll be hoping for the ultimate pipedream to come true. That involves a first-round bye, given to the two division winners with the best records.
So why not root for the 6-4 Giants to keep struggling and win the NFC East with a 10-6 or 9-7 record? Why not root for the Bears to finish 11-5 and lose on a tiebreaker to Seattle? Or heck, the way they looked in last Sunday night’s loss to Houston, maybe they’ll finish 10-6. I’ll give Atlanta the No. 1 seed, but as for the No. 2 seed, why can’t Seattle make a run at it?
At this point, aren’t all things in play for the Seahawks?