Everything has been about two-game streaks, both winning and losing, for the Seattle Seahawks this season. Heading into their most difficult game on the remaining schedule, they’re hoping Russell Wilson and Thomas Rawls don’t drop the momentum they’ve been carrying.
The 6-5 Seahawks play on the road against the NFC North leaders, the Minnesota Vikings. A team that’s all about not making mistakes, letting Adrian Peterson run and getting the job done on defense. The Seahawks have had a similar approach in the past, and while their defense can have its impressive days, the team relies on Wilson and the offense’s production more than ever, especially with Marshawn Lynch not playing.
Thomas Rawls has been doing a good job of keeping the running game in top shape. The Seahawks average 144.2 yards on the ground per game, second in the league, behind only the Vikings, who lead the NFL on the ground. Rawls has rushed for 685 yards in 11 appearances, although only in five of them he’s had double-digits in carries. He has 290 yards in the last two games, including 209 in the win over the San Francisco 49ers.
Minnesota don’t do very well against the run, allowing 4.3 yards per carry, while the Seahawks, while dropping in pretty much every aspect defensively compared to the last couple of seasons, are still a top 5 rushing defense, allowing only 3.8 yards per game, although they’re more suspect to big throws than before. Playing the Vikings means they probably need to focus more on loading the box against Peterson, who has rushed for 1164 yards this season already.
Maybe the big difference maker in all of this is Wilson, who is slowly getting better protection from his offensive line and seems more comfortable inside and outside the pocket. He had five touchdown passes in the 39-30 win against the Steelers and is relying less and less on his legs to get him out of trouble. He hasn’t thrown an interception in two consecutive games, and seems to be out of the funk he suffered from with four consecutive games of sub-100 passer rating before the last couple of wins.
If the season ended right now, the Seahawks would make the playoffs with a Wild Card ticket. It’s going to be difficult for them to catch up with the Arizona Cardinals, likely to win the NFC West and pretty much the superior team. But the Vikings, despite their record, have a lot of bad games, even when they win. If the Seahawks are to make sure they don’t let this playoff spot slip away from them, losing in Minnesota is something they can’t afford to do.