Rost’s Takeaways: Why the Seahawks are down but not out

Dec 24, 2022, 9:56 PM

Seahawks Kelce...

Jordyn Brooks and Mike Jackson tackle Chiefs TE Travis Kelce during the Seahawks' loss on Dec. 24, 2022. (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)

There’s plenty to pick apart with the Seahawks right now. Lose five of six and that’s bound to happen.

Big day for Seahawks’ D spoiled by low point for offense in loss to Chiefs

But during a holiday following a tough loss, maybe it’s better just to talk about what Seattle can still play for. Because despite a less-than-stellar stretch of games, that still includes the playoffs. And after all, by now you know exactly what this team needs to fix.

Those playoff odds are long but still there. So let’s start there and then talk about the good from Week 16.

Congrats! You’re all Eagles and Cowboys fans

The Seahawks (7-8) are the first team out of the playoff picture in the NFC, with the New York Giants (8-5-1) and Washington Commanders (7-6-1) holding the sixth and seventh seeds, respectively. The more games lost by the Giants and Commanders, the better for Seattle, assuming Seattle also wins. Though if the Seahawks win without either of these two teams losing at least once, nothing changes and the Hawks are on the outside looking in.

Coming up for the Giants are the Colts (Jan. 1) and Eagles (Jan. 8), while the Commanders are set to face the Browns (Jan. 1) and Cowboys (Jan. 8). The Eagles and Cowboys will be the tougher matchups, but both Dallas and Philadelphia have already clinched playoff spots and could rest starters. The hope is they’re still playing tough for a divisional win at least next week.

If the Seahawks win against the Jets and the Commanders lose in Week 17, the Hawks would hold a playoff spot – though they won’t have clinched. Seattle could technically afford one more loss, though the only way they’ll make it in is if the Commanders lose in consecutive weeks and the Lions also lose at least one game to the Packers or Bears.

Put in the simplest terms: While it’s not the only way the Seahawks could make the playoffs, their best odds are to win their next two games and have the Commanders lose once.

Silver Bells (and a Seahawks silver lining)

No one wants moral victories, and there weren’t a ton to take from the Chiefs games nor from any of Seattle’s last several losses. But in the spirit of the holidays – and as much as it pains me – let’s take a silver lining approach here.

To be fair, looking for that matters. Here’s why: The Seahawks have a huge opportunity to find an immediate impact for their franchise when they spend the highest draft pick they’ve had in decades this upcoming spring. Thanks to their trade with Denver, that pick could be as high as No. 2 overall and would come with an additional high second-round pick, giving Seattle four picks over the first two rounds.

But I’m not here to tell you that losing games improves the standing of their other picks (the ones not originating from Denver). Instead, it’s important to remember that no matter who the Seahawks add, a couple high draft picks won’t fix deep-seated issues. If the Seahawks lose out – and lose ugly – it won’t matter if they find the second coming of Aaron Donald in the draft. They’ll need more; they’ll need to change, adapt, find more from existing veterans and former picks already on the team.

Improvements, particularly on defense, are important. That goes for Saturday’s game, where they held the Chiefs to 297 net yards and under 30% on third down, and in their two games to come.

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