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Seahawks 'Get Lucky' In Drawing Lions For Fifth Straight Playoff Run

Seahawks-Clink-2017.jpg
John Froschauer
/
AP Photo
2014 file photo of CenturyLink Field.

The Seahawks host the Detroit Lions Saturday night in the wildcard round of the NFL playoffs. Kickoff is at 5:15 p.m. at CenturyLink Field.

Knkx sports commentator Art Thiel talked with 88.5’s Kirsten Kendrick about the game, and also about why it’s so impressive that the Seahawks have made it to the postseason again.

'A Really Big Deal'

"There are some weaknesses but it isn't like they can't fix it." Thiel said about this year's playoff team.

He pointed out that it's the fifth year in a row that the Seahawks have made the playoffs.

"That is really a big deal. I know there is a lot of hand wringing going on among the 12s about whether the Seahawks can handle the playoffs this year. But five years in a row is a very hard thing to do in the NFL.

"The league is designed to encourage parity - with the reverse draft and the way free agency works. It's really hard to sustain success."

Seahawks In Top 3 For Playoff Consistency

"In fact, the only two teams that have been in the Seahawks' category in that are New England and Green Bay," Thiel continued. "Those two teams have been to eight playoffs in a row. The Seahawks are next at five in a row.

"So, the rest of the league has had a very hard time just getting one team in once. Or two in a row, three in a row. Very hard thing to do.

"I want to make sure people appreciate the difficulty of this feat. Then, you can go ahead and do the hand wringing."

Injuries And Inexperience

"They've had a number of injuries," Thiel said. "Certainly to [quarterback] Russell Wilson. Even though he didn't miss a game, he was playing in a diminished capacity because of ankle and knee sprains.

"And there's also Earl Thomas. He's done for the season. He was really the heartbeat of the defense as a free safety and they just can't, really, make up for that.

"And then wide receiver Tyler Lockett was also a premier return man and he's out for the season.

"There have been other injuries that guys have come back from. But it's been a hard thing. 10-5-1 is their record and they earned it in multiple ways."

'Gambled' On Offensive Line

"The vulnerabilities were clear in the offensive line," Thiel continued. "That's where the Seahawks have struggled this year. They have three first-year starters in the line and that's way too many to develop the cohesion necessary to be successful.

"So, the Seahawks, rather than being a top rushing team - they've been in the top four for the last several years - they are 25th in the league in rushing yards. And that's terrible.

"Obviously, [running back] Marshawn Lynch being gone is the biggest factor. But they gambled a little bit on the youth on the offensive line.

"Having said all of that, [coach] Pete Carroll has a great record of pulling together young people by the end of their first seasons. That could happen as early as Saturday and I think they do have a good chance to do well."

'Lucky' To Draw Lions

"The Lions are not the most formidable team," Thiel said about the wildcard playoff matchup. "In fact, the Seahawks really got lucky. They drew, I think, the weakest team in the 12-team playoff field.

"The Lions are 9-7 but they've lost three in a row. Their quarterback Matthew Stafford has an injured finger; he's wearing a glove. He's done pretty well with it and he's getting better every week. But I think, overall, this is not a powerhouse team.

"The Seahawks may run into that in the following week, if they win, because they will play the Atlanta Falcons who were very difficult to beat here in Seattle. But, let's not get ahead of things.

"I think the Seahawks are going to pull this out - something like 24-13. And I think you're going to see a lot more productivity from the offensive line and the rushing game."

You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and Crosscut.com.

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between historylink.org and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.
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