Rost: Seahawks have something more and unexpected to play for this year

Oct 31, 2022, 10:03 AM
The Seattle Seahawks celebrate against the New York Giants at Lumen Field on October 30, 2022. (Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
(Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

One win against Denver was satisfying. Another against the Lions was fun. But eight weeks and five wins into the season, it’s time to wonder whether the Seahawks have something more – something unexpected – to play for this season.

Seahawks surging, put clamps down in dominant win over Giants

Of course, players and coaches would tell you they’ve believed in a postseason trip all offseason – as they should! – but critics and fans would be forgiven for having their doubts.

Gone was the most prolific passer in franchise history. Gone was the leader of the defense and one of the league’s most consistent defenders. Gone was the first 1,000-yard rusher since Marshawn Lynch, gone was their best cornerback from last season, and gone was their best left tackle in years. There was a first-time defensive coordinator. And a veteran quarterback who had played behind starters for seven years.

Oddsmakers had the over/under at 5.5 wins in August and projected Seattle would finish in fourth place in the NFC West and miss the playoffs.

Despite the change and the doubt that accompanied it, this team is 5-3 and in first place in the division.

You certainly couldn’t say it with one win, nor could you say it with three. But as the first half comes to a close, with an offense that’s top-five in scoring and a defense that’s steadily improving, it feels more real than not: the Seahawks look like a legitimate playoff team.

Context matters: thank a weak NFC and a surprising downturn for a couple preseason favorites.

The Buccaneers are off to a 3-5 start, the first of Tom Brady’s career. The Falcons just took the lead in a dreadful NFC South, where Baker Mayfield wasn’t the answer after all in Carolina and the Saints can’t stay healthy. The Packers fell to the Bills Sunday night and look like a team with few strengths outside of running back Aaron Jones. The Rams have had a less-than-stellar start to the season and are averaging just 16 points per game, worst in the division. They look like they may well be competing for a Wild Card rather than the NFC West title (which could go to San Francisco). Even the Giants and Vikings, two teams that have started hot, have played close contests, and the Giants’ offense was held to a season-low 78 rushing yards against Seattle.

There’s just over half of a season left to play and plenty more to figure out about this team than we’ve had answered.

But one of the earliest and most important questions – can the Seahawks find success this year without Russell Wilson? – has an answer quickly taking form: yes.

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