Overtime Ireland

Another New England Trade and Seattle Season is Upon Us

russell-wilson

Amidst the sea of forgettable games in week 8 lay a gem in the form of Houston @ Seattle. This marked the kick-start to Seattle’s season with a late win. With the clocks dialled back an hour, us fans in the UK and Ireland were treated to marginally better kick off times to consume our games. Not many games enticed, but there were a few notables.

The first game that caught my eye was Oakland’s trip to Buffalo. I felt this was a pivotal game for both team’s seasons. Would we see what Buffalo were really made of with this test? Or would we see if Carr was capable of getting Oakland back on track? The former won out in the end. I like the Raiders. They’re always fun to watch and unfortunately, they look doomed to miss out on the playoffs this year. Sean McDermott’s side, however, now sit at 5-2 in the AFC East, and while the division title might seem unlikely (for obvious New England reasons), they do look like a side capable of hitting 10/11 wins for a wildcard spot.

Staying with the AFC East, it seems like the Patriots trade a big name every year. Jamie Collins got moved on in 2016 around this time of the year, and now we see the devilishly handsome Jimmy Garoppolo move onto San Francisco. It seems like a good move for all parties; New England get a good draft pick, the Niners get a good QB.

Unless Garoppolo somehow knows the San Francisco offense like the back of his hand, we’re not going to see an amazing turnaround in Cali. That being said, Jimmy has learned from Brady and Belichick and now goes to study under one of the NFL’s greatest offensive coaches. The future is bright for him.

Meanwhile, the Patriots will surge on to finish 12-4, probably get to the AFC Championship game, and then have a nice pick to work with in April 2018. It’s a brave move, even for Belichick, because Brady is 40 and won’t last forever. Maybe they’ll want to draft their next QB. Maybe next year with the 32nd or 33rd pick?

Not unlike the trend of the Patriots annual departure from a talented player, we’re also seeing another trend emerge, the real Seahawks have come to play. They did so in exciting fashion against Houston on Sunday. It feels like it takes a while for Seattle to get going, but when they do, they’re still one of the best in the league.

After a few stuttering losses with Green Bay and Tennessee, Wilson and Co have strung together four straight wins to find themselves with a more familiar record of 5-2. I talked about how the Oakland @ Buffalo game was pivotal for both teams, and this Seahawks win felt like a big momentum gainer too. With just 21 seconds left, Wilson found Jimmy Graham wide open to take their home record to 3-0.

And that’s very much what Seattle do each year. Nobody wants to travel to Century Link in January, but as the Seahawks mount up these home wins, they become more and more formidable. A road through the Pacific North West seems inevitable. Their defense is no joke either, although the high points put up by Watson might suggest otherwise. I think that’s actually a testament to how well Watson is playing. Similarities between the rookie and Wilson aren’t wrong, and if Houston do end up at 6-10 or missing out on the playoffs, they can take solace in this season knowing that they’ve got a star QB.

My one concern for Seattle this season is that their running game isn’t what it once was with Lynch. Wilson finished with 452 yards and 4 touchdowns, but they can’t rely on such a performance every week. The addition of Duane Brown on the OL should do him some favours, and the trade might suggest that Pete Carroll possesses the ‘win now’ mentality. That, plus Seattle see the mediocrity of the NFC and their potential to go far.

The Eagles sit at 7-1 and have a relatively easy schedule to get them around 12-4 or higher, and that could be enough for the 1 or 2 seed. It might be premature to suggest that we know these two sides will face off in the NFC Championship, but with Rodgers out for the season and Atlanta lagging behind, there aren’t many others to fear for Seattle. New Orleans and Dallas could make a push yet. So let’s take a look at how it might shape out:

  1. Philadelphia (7-1)
  2. Minnesota (6-2)
  3. Seattle (5-2)
  4. New Orleans (5-2)
  5. Los Angeles (5-2)
  6. Carolina (5-2)

 

Seattle are good enough to overtake Minnesota, which makes them home fielders for the playoffs until the NFC title game. Can they beat the competition? For me, Carolina aren’t as good as their record suggests, and Dallas are better than their 4-3 record suggests. If Dallas takes one of the wildcard spots, I don’t foresee many other changes in the playoff picture.

New Orleans are a feisty team in 2017, and at home, they’re very dangerous. But – like every other team in that picture – if they have to go to Seattle to win, it’s another story altogether. The Seahawks are 3-0 at home, and I don’t foresee that win-to-loss ratio changing much at the Link. Seattle season is upon us, and it runs into January.

This OTI piece was written by Matt Carolan. Matt is a New York Football Giants fan from Co Wicklow, and is currently working in marketing. Matt can be found on twitter at 


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