The Seahawks are back in the postseason for the eighth time in the last nine years, and for the first time since 2016, they're hosting a playoff game with the Los Angeles Rams coming to Seattle for the second time in three weeks. To get ready for that game, and hopefully answer any other questions y'all might have, it's time once again to dip into the virtual mailbag to answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I couldn't get to yours this time around.
@hollyberry06 asks, "How far do you think the Seahawks will make it in the postseason?"
A: This is always such a trick question because, for the most part, every team that gets to the playoffs is pretty darn good, so the whole "any given Sunday" (or Seattle's case this weekend, any given Saturday) is pretty true. Are the Seahawks good enough to go win a playoff game or even two on the road and get to the Super Bowl? Absolutely. Are the Rams good enough that they could pull off an upset in Seattle this weekend? You bet. That's just how playoff football works, with a few rare exceptions where a top seed just dominates an opponent, like say, in a certain Super Bowl played in New Jersey seven years ago.
So I won't make a prediction of exactly how far the Seahawks will advance, but to make the case for why they could go on a run, I'd point to a few factors. For starters, they have a great quarterback, which is always the most important factor in the NFL, and one who has a ton of playoff experience. The Seahawks defense is also playing at a very, very high level since turning things around midway through the year, so the Seahawks can win even if a good defense like the Rams is making things tough on Russell Wilson and company. And after a bad trend of turning the ball over midway through the year as they lost three of four while committing 10 turnovers in those losses, the Seahawks offense has gotten back to taking care of the ball. Seattle has not turned the ball over in the last two games and had only one in each of the previous two games, and that's significant in a season in which the Seahawks are 12-0 when committing zero or one turnover.
Of course, winning on the road is always a challenge in the playoffs, and the Seahawks would have to do that at least once and likely twice to get to the Super Bowl—they could possibly host an NFC championship game if the Tampa Bay vs. Washington winner were to beat Green Bay in the divisional round, or host a divisional round game if Chicago upsets New Orleans this weekend—but it's not impossible, particularly not with a very good defense complementing one of the best quarterbacks in the game and a strong running game, not to mention great special teams play.
@pc_250 asks, "What is the key to beating the Rams on Saturday?"
A: As mentioned above, taking the care of the ball is always huge, and that's particularly true when facing a great defense like L.A.'s. The Seahawks offense did enough in the second half to get the job done last time around, but if they want to perform at a higher level, they'll need to avoid taking as many drive-killing sacks as they have in the first two meeting with the Rams, who have sacked Russell Wilson 11 times in two meetings.
On the other side of the ball, regardless of who is playing quarterback for the Rams, the Seahawks need to keep the pressure on. They did a great job last time around forcing Jared Goff into rushed, errant throws, including an interception, and sacked the Rams quarterback three times while hitting him nine times. A lot of that pressure came due to the Seahawks doing a great job of covering things up on all the roll-out and bootleg plays the Rams run, so keeping those plays in check again will be huge.
@SeaHawkGER, the account of the German Sea Hawkers, asks, "What role do you see for Tre Flowers going forward? Feels like there is no way D.J. Reed loses his job as a starter right now?"
A: Vielen Dank für diese Frage… OK, time to switch back to English, that high school German class was a long time ago. Reed started last week even with Flowers back in uniform, and you're right, it seems unlikely the Seahawks make a change there now with as well as Reed and the entire defense has played. For now, that would leave Flowers in a backup/special teams role, but it's not inconceivable that the Seahawks could find times to get him on the field to match up with bigger receivers depending on an opponent. And at the very least, having Flowers back gives the Seahawks a starting-caliber option to fill in if Reed or Shaquill Griffin were injured, or for that matter if nickel corner Ugo Amadi were unavailable since Reed could slide inside and play that role.
And one more thing on this, Reed keeping that job is about how well he has played, not about anything Flowers did wrong prior to the injury. As much as fans have been hard on Flowers at times, he was playing very well during the middle part of the season prior to injuring his hamstring and landing on IR. Sticking with Reed in this moment seems to be the right move, but that doesn't mean Flowers can't have a future as a starter for this team, or that he won't have a big role at some point this postseason.
Marti Tennant from Roy, Washington says, "I don't have a question, but my friends and I believe kicker Jason Myers deserves a standing ovation. He's doing a wonderful job."
A: You're right, Marti, Jason Myers has been outstanding this season. Myers, who has made a team-record 35 straight field goals dating back to last year, went 24 for 24 on field goals this season, making him the third kicker in NFL history to make every field goal attempt in a season with 20 or more attempts, joining Indianapolis' Mike Vanderjagt, who went 37 for 37 in 2003, and Minnesota's Gary Anderson, who was 35 for 35 in 1998.
@tweetsbydyland asks, "What are the chances of the Seahawks having to play both Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers to get to the Super Bowl."
A: It's possible, but for that to happen you'd need to have the No. 7 seed Chicago Bears win at New Orleans this weekend. In that case, the Bears would travel to Green Bay in the divisional round, then the Brady-led Buccaneers would come to Seattle presuming Seattle and Tampa Bay win this weekend. Then if the Seahawks were to beat the Bucs and Green Bay beat New Orleans, the Seahawks would head to Green Bay for the NFC championship game. A lot would have to happen for that scenario to play itself out, but the possibility does exist.
@homer_lillie asks, "What do the players eat in preparation for the playoffs?"
A: That depends on the player, but in general I'd imagine most eat the same way they do in the regular season. While meals are different this year due to COVID-19—all meals are to-go instead of players, coaches and staff having a well-stocked cafeteria at their disposal—players are still eating well thanks to the kitchen staff led by the team's executive chef, Mac McNabb, and cooks Pedro Flores, Stuart McNabb and Nick Burge (I miss the food at work). On the road, team performance dietician Andrea Vanderwoude works with hotels to make sure players and coaches are taken care of, again with food coming in to-go boxes this year.
On an actual gameday, every player is different, but a lot will stick to the same routine and same meal. Generally the morning of a day game, players have breakfast or lunch options, while for a night game they might have choices like chicken or pasta, but again, most players tend to stick with whatever is working for them.
@AAGlory_ asks, "Is Jamal Adams good to go this weekend?"
A: Ask me again about 90 minutes before kickoff, because until then we probably won't know for sure. Adams didn't practice Tuesday, and Carroll said they will probably wait until gameday to make a final call. Adams obviously will do everything in his power to play in his first playoff game, but whether not he will be cleared medically remains to be seen. While it doesn't guarantee anything, it could perhaps be taken as a positive that Adams did return to Sunday's game for two plays late in the fourth quarter, the second of which was Benson Mayowa's sack that forced a fumble.
@Wittkinator asks, "Should be trying to get Rashaad Penny going during the most important time of the season or should we trust more in Alex Collins, who looked promising against the 49ers?"
A: The Seahawks got Penny more involved last weekend and likely would have played him even more down the stretch had he not started cramping up—not an entirely shocking development for a player who only recently returned for a year-long absence—and that opened the door for Collins, who played very well and score the touchdown that helped put the game away.
Obviously the Seahawks still have very high hopes for Penny and in all likelihood he stays ahead of Collins in the rotation—remember, Collins has been on the practice squad since joining the team, but has been elevated on gameday three times—but Collins' play is encouraging in that the Seahawks have another legit option to turn to if needed.
@eteodoro suggest the Seahawks should get some sort of award for having no COVID-19 cases, adding, "Wins aside, this is a huge accomplishment, and they should be rewarded. That's serious teamwork."
A: I don't know if any trophies will be handed out after the season for COVID-19 compliance, but you're right that what the Seahawks have been able to do this year has been impressive and is a good sign of the leadership, both from Pete Carroll and John Schneider, but also from veteran leaders in the locker room. Prior to last week's game, the Seahawks had not had a player on the 53-man roster go on the reserve/COVID-19 list before Brandon Shell and Damarious Randall did on Saturday. Shell, who Carroll said was a close-contact situation and not a positive test, already returned to practice on Tuesday. Add to that the fact that the Seahawks, unlike a lot of teams, have not had to shut down their facilities or cancel practices, and again, their handling of the pandemic has been impressive.
Soon-to-be dad (and a former co-worker of mine at the Everett Herald) @Krueger_David asks, "Who's the first jersey I should get for my kid? His initials will be DK, but he's slightly smaller than DK Metcalf. Russell Wilson is always a solid way to go. Also, I love Jamal Adams. Could go old-school with Matt Hasselbeck. Feel like there's no wrong way to go, but appreciate any advice."
A: I mean, you kind of covered a lot of solid options already. You also couldn't go wrong with a throwback of one of Seattle's Hall of Famers like Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy, Kenny Easley or Walter Jones—those will never go out of style—or if you want to keep it current, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright are both great options who will go down as all-time Seahawks greats. As a general rule, I always think it's good to go with somebody who is under contract for a while, so as to avoid an awkward situation should that player leave in free agency a year later or something, or someone who is such a legend that they could finish their career anywhere and you'd still proudly rock that jersey at Lumen Field.
Go behind the scenes from the Seattle Seahawks' Week 17 game vs. the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium in Arizona. Eye on the Hawks is presented by Western Washington Toyota Dealers.