A few quick day-after thoughts on the Seahawks:
1. At this point, Seattle’s two biggest opponents are injuries and the Arizona Cardinals. The former is obviously preventing the Seahawks from playing at their best. Arizona, meanwhile, at this point can no longer be considered anything other than the favorite to win the NFC West. You keep waiting for the Cardinals to show some real cracks. But they just beat two of the best teams in the NFC in back-to-back weeks — Philadelphia and Dallas — and are now 14-3 in their last 17 games, 17-7 since the beginning of the 2013 season when Bruce Arians took over as coach. And having gotten past that duo, Arizona’s schedule now doesn’t look much more difficult than Seattle’s — the Cardinals play St. Louis and Detroit at home the next two weeks before coming to Seattle on Nov. 23, a game that looms as a must-win if the Seahawks are to repeat as NFC West.
2. In fact, at this point it’s pretty hard to see Seattle repeating as West champs without sweeping the Cardinals — the two teams will also play DEc. 21 on a Sunday night in Glendale, a game that will likely be illdd as one of the bigger in Arizona’s recent regular-season history. A lot to get through, of course, before that happens. But Seattle had big goals again this year and for now, Arizona stands as the biggest roadblock.
3. Seattle at least catches a break in the Giants having to play Monday night against the Colts and then have a short week and a long flight here for a game against the Seahawks. Here’s a preview of the Giants’ game.
4. If the season ended today — and I know it doesn’t, but this is just for discussion and because it’s fun — the Seahawks would have to play at Philadelphia in the wild card round. That would be two trips to Philly in less than a month, also sort of an odd circumstance.
5. I guess I should be having a few more second thoughts about the game against the Raiders. But that sort of feels like a game that was best won and moved on from quickly with the injury situation making it hard to use it as much of a gauge of anything longterm.
But here are a few quick notes an stats on the game:
— Seattle’s 4.4 yards per play was the second-lowest of the season ahead of only the 4.3 against Dallas. But the 38 of the Raiders was by far the lowest for a Seattle opponent this year — 4.5 by Green Bay in the opener had been the lowest.
— Seattle’s done a much better job of gutting off the field on third down the last two weeks. Carolina was 2-10 and the Raiders were 5-15, a combined 7-25, 28 percent. In the first six games, three teams were better than 50 percent and another at 44.
— Seattle has now allowed three rushing touchdowns and 14 passing touchdowns. Last year the numbers were four and 16 for the season.
— Seattle got called for nine penalties. Six, however, were on the offensive line, and five by young players Alvin Bailey, Garry Gilliam and Patrick Lewis.
— Kevin Norwood has been targeted four times this season and has four catches for 36 yards.