Closing schedule could set up Seahawks for another strong finish
Things are certainly looking up for the Seahawks, who have won five of their last six games and are coming off their most thorough performance of the season in a 38-7 dismantling of Minnesota.
They’re looking way up when you consider their remaining schedule, which is favorable even with a Week-17 matchup against the division-leading Cardinals in Glendale, Ariz. The three teams that Seattle will face before then – Baltimore, Cleveland and St. Louis – have lost a combined 13 straight games and have a collective record of 10-26 not to mention some less-than-optimal situations at quarterback.
Here’s a closer look at Seattle’s remaining schedule, which begins with Sunday’s game against the Ravens:
Week 14: at Baltimore (4-8). The Ravens have been decimated this season with 18 players on either injured reserve or the physically unable to perform list. Quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Justin Forsett, wide receiver Steve Smith and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs are among the starters who have gone down. Matt Schaub replaced Flacco, but his status for Sunday’s game isn’t certain. That means Baltimore could have to turn to Jimmy Clausen, who has one victory in 12 career starts and was the Bears’ quarterback when they were shut out by Seattle in Week 3.
Week 15: vs. Cleveland (2-10). It’s been another mess of a season for the Browns, who have lost seven straight games and have averaged fewer points this year than all but two teams. Johnny Manziel is back in the starting lineup for the third time this season, returning from what was essentially to a two-game timeout for his off-field indiscretions. He would seem to give Cleveland a better opportunity to win than Austin Davis, but Seattle should nonetheless be heavily favored at home.
Week 16: vs. St. Louis (4-8). The Rams are 31st in scoring behind an offense that has hit the skids since a season-opening victory over the Seahawks. St. Louis recently fired its offensive coordinator and benched quarterback Nick Foles in favor of Case Keenum before that. Keenum is expected to return to the starting lineup after missing last week’s game with a concussion. The Rams have lost five straight games. They also haven’t won in Seattle since the 2004 season.
Week 17: at Arizona (10-2). The Cardinals are still rolling and the Panthers are still undefeated. That sets up the possibility that Arizona’s playoff seed could already be determined before the end of the regular-season, which would lessen the importance of that Week-17 game against Seattle. Would the Cardinals rest some of their starters in that scenario? One would think that it would at least be a consideration, especially given the way an injury to quarterback Carson Palmer derailed Arizona’s 2014 season. And who’s to say the Seahawks couldn’t win even if the Cardinals played all their starters?
Last year, the Seahawks won nine of their last 10 regular-season games while holding their final six opponents to a total of 39 points. They might be set up for a similarly strong finish to this season considering their upward trajectory and a favorable remaining schedule.