After their dramatic win over the Steelers last weekend, the Seahawks face the Vikings in Minnesota Sunday morning at 10. It’s an important game for the 6-5 Hawks.
KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel expects the team to win, and keep winning through the end of the season.
"Call me crazy but I think they're gonna win," Thiel said. "I think they're going to score at least 30 points and I think it's going to be a big win.
"I think the Seahawks are set for a run.”
Why So Optimistic?
"I think it's coming from Pete Carroll's record in December," Thiel explained. "The Seahawks have had a tremendous amount of success in his tenure here in December.
"He has a philosophy about playing young players early. It can cost them games, which we saw this year with starting an undrafted free agent center, Drew Nowak. They had to cut him because it wasn't working out and they put in a more experienced player.
"They also had other young people playing prominent positions. But his belief is that you play a young guy and give him a learning curve of 10-12 games and it should start paying off in December.
"It worked for him in Seattle. It worked for him at USC. The idea is to save your best for last," Thiel said.
"Pete calls it finishing. And it doesn't just apply to the fourth quarter of an individual game. It applies to the fourth quarter of the season. And we're there now," Thiel continued.
"This is the 12th game of the Seahawks' year. And they've got three lesser opponents coming up after they get done with the Vikings. They play the Cleveland Browns, the Baltimore Ravens and the St. Louis Rams - all of whom have quarterback troubles and other woes.
"I can see them beating Minnesota and the next three games should be Seahawk wins, leaving them the January 3 game at Arizona against the division-leading Cardinals, who by then may not need to win that game to preserve their playoff status. So they may rest their players.
"The Seahawks have an excellent chance to run the table.”
Easier Said Than Done?
Thiel said he doesn't think the Seahawks are going to have any trouble compensating for the loss of Lynch and Graham.
"It's going to be easier than it may seem. They've already found rookie undrafted free agent Thomas Rawls, who has been a revelation.
"I think a lot of Seahawks fans are absolutely amazed that they came up with this guy out of Central Michigan, who is nearly the equivalent — at least in terms of his running style — to Marshawn Lynch.
"Marshawn is likely out until the end of the regular season, if not longer, after having hernia surgery. He's still back in Philadelphia recuperating,” Thiel said.
Offensive Line Gelling
"Jimmy Graham was the high-priced acquisition that they really enjoyed up to this point. But he hasn't had the impact.
"And the reason he hasn't had the impact is because the Seahawks offensive line has been inadequate to provide the protection for Russell Wilson to throw to Graham and the other receivers.
"That changed against the Steelers Sunday. They really had the most effective offense they've ever had.
"I think Russell Wilson, from the standpoint of throwing from the pocket, had the best game of his career. A big pivot point there in the season.
"I really to see the Seahawks not only surviving this game in Minnesota but thriving because the line is now sufficiently mature to handle their responsibilities," Thiel said.
"Russell Wilson is going to be able to distribute the ball to all receivers, including the tight ends they still have on the roster, without missing a beat because of Graham's absence.”