Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Is it too early in the season to start talking about “must-win” games for the Seattle Seahawks? After all, we are only in the sixth week of the season. Much can happen between now and the start of the playoffs.
Then again, the NFL season is brutally short. This isn’t Major League Baseball where a team can literally have a bad month or two and still end up in the postseason. If you have a bad month in the NFL, your team may be headed to the top end of the draft.
When you think about it, this game against the Tennessee Titans may actually be a must-win game for Russell Wilson and the talented Seattle Seahawks. Why? I’m glad you asked.
At 4-1, the Seahawks are arguably in a very good position to control their own destiny and win the NFC West. The ‘Hawks certainly cannot relax as they still have to play five games against divisional foes and hit the east coast two more times.
It may not appear that this is a crucial game for Seattle, but a win accomplishes many things.
For one, a win restores a bit of swagger to the team and restarts a winning streak. It is doubtful that the team’s confidence was shattered after a tough loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but there were some mistakes against Andrew Luck and company. A win after a loss is always good for boosting confidence and overcoming that slice of “humble pie.”
Secondly, it is important to win at home. After this home game, the Seahawks have to again go on the road for two straight weeks. Their opponents will be the Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams, and while these are beatable opponents on paper, both the Cards and the Rams could be tricky on their home turf.
Thirdly, beating the Titans this week also keeps some space between the Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. After Week 3, the ‘Niners were 1-2 and looking to be out of sync. Now, they have reeled off two straight wins and outscored their opponents 69-14. Conventional wisdom suggests that the 49ers will not go away. If the Titans rose up and shocked the Seahawks, and San Francisco beat the Cardinals at home, the two teams would suddenly be tied at 4-2.
In addition, a Seahawks loss in Week 5 would cause there to be questions about focus and the true power of the CenturyLink Field advantage. This is not a franchise that wants to go out on the road with a two-game losing streak. Playing out a more negative scenario, a split with Arizona and St. Louis would leave the Seahawks at 5-3.
Still not a bad record, but this team is talented enough to be 7-1 at the halfway point of the season. Let’s stay positive.
Teams have proven that the regular-season record can be a bit overrated when it comes to making the Super Bowl. Once the playoffs begin, anything can happen. That said, the CenturyLink Field crowd can provide a very real advantage. It would certainly be helpful if the Seahawks could accumulate enough wins that they could host playoff games.
Ultimately, the Seahawks should be able to win this game. The Titans are not going to be a pushover as they have an underrated defense and a talented running back in Chris Johnson.
A loss to the Titans would not derail the season, but it would certainly make things harder on a team with high expectations.