Huard: What the Seahawks must do to win the NFC West

Nov 24, 2020, 2:49 PM | Updated: 3:09 pm

Seahawks Rams...

The Seahawks' Week 16 game with the Los Angeles Rams may decide who wins the NFC West. (Getty)


The Seahawks are coming off their biggest win of the season, a 28-21 victory against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 11, and now Seattle is 7-3 with just six games remaining in the 2020 season.

LB K.J. Wright says Seahawks found a clear turning point on defense

Unfortunately for Seattle, the Los Angeles Rams are also 7-3 and currently sit atop the NFC West thanks to a Week 10 win over the Seahawks.

The Seahawks will have another crack at the Rams in Week 16 and they are also about to enter far and away their easiest stretch of the 2020 season, and former NFL quarterback Brock Huard told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant that for the Seahawks to win the division, the last two games of the season against the Rams and San Francisco 49ers are of utmost importance.

“I think the division will come down to (those games) and it’s one of the neat things the league has done from a scheduling standpoint is to set those (matchups) up at the end of the year,” Huard said. “And they’re going to have four games to get right defensively, to feast on some inexperienced quarterbacks and some teams that they’re going to be favored to beat.”

Before Seattle gets its rematch with Los Angeles, it will face the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, New York Jets and the Washington Football Team. Those four teams have combined for just nine wins through Week 11.

While it’s clear that the Week 16 rematch with the Rams will be key in deciding who wins the NFC West, it’s extremely likely that the 49ers, who won the division and the NFC last year, won’t be competing for those crowns again this season. San Francisco, which Seattle beat 37-27 in Week 8, is 4-6 and is arguably the most injured team in the NFL. Huard thinks the 49ers will put up more of a fight than their record indicates come Week 17, however.

“San Francisco will probably be better at the end of the year than they are now (as they get key starters back and healthy) and they’re still playing and are super competitive,” Huard said. “… (The Seahawks will) win the division if they take care of business in those (final) two games.”

But in order for the Seahawks to be playing for the NFC West crown in Weeks 16 and 17, they have to take care of business in their next four games. Huard said there are a few keys for both sides of the ball to watch for during that span. The defense, which has struggled overall this year but appears to have taken a step forward since the second half of Week 10, has more work to do than the offense.

“In order to win those two games, they’ve got to grow over the next four weeks,” he said. “The pieces do come together, you do expect to get healthier … You get those pieces back and (starting cornerback Shaquill Griffin) has got into the fold with this secondary and (nickel cornerback) Ugo Amadi has got to continue to get more reps and more games under his belt. And (Defensive end) Carlos Dunlap and that crew on that D-line that took a step forward on Thursday night has got to keep taking those steps.”

The Seahawks’ offense, which has been one of the best in the NFL in 2020, just needs to focus on staying healthy, Huard said.

“It will all be about the health on offense because if (receivers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf) and (running back Chris Carson) and (quarterback Russell Wilson) and (right tackle Brandon Shell) and those pieces are all there, they can beat the Rams at home,” Huard said. “But that’s what it will all come down to is taking care of business come the end of December.”

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