The Seahawks play the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., this Sunday. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel told Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick it will be a situation that's become familiar for the team this season.
A LOT OF LUCK
Thiel said, in addition to playing well, the Seahawks have been lucky this season. They've played teams (Pittsburgh, San Francisco) when key players have been out. They won two games because their opponents missed last-second field goals. They also lead the league in fumble recoveries. All of that has helped them obtain their 10-3 record, which has them in second place in the NFC West, behind the 11-2 49ers.
Thiel said luck will be on the Seahawks' side again this weekend as they face a Carolina team that just fired its head coach, is without star quarterback Cam Newton (recovering from foot surgery) and has lost the last five games in a row. Thiel expects the Seahawks to win.
"If they do so, they will finish with a road record of 7-1, the best in franchise history," he said. "There's got to be a little luck involved in that, too."
But Thiel said even if the Seahawks lost all three of the games they have left, they would still probably make the playoffs: "It's all about seeding. It's not about making the playoffs."
Thiel said, if the Seahawks win the next two games and the 49ers do the same, it could all come down to the final regular season game on Dec. 29, when the NFC West rivals meet at CenturyLink Field to determine who wins the division. The Seahawks beat the 49ers 27-24 last month, but Thiel pointed out that San Francisco was without star tight end George Kittle.
"I think the aspiration for the players, fans and the national audience that likes to follow these things is to have a game with meaningful stakes. Having the division title up for grabs. Maybe even the best record in the NFC, which means home-field advantange for the playoffs. All of that could be a part of it if both teams win out," Thiel said. "A game with stakes at the end of the regular season like that — it just doesn't get better."