RENTON — Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll may bounce around touting his “Win Forever” mantra, but that doesn’t mean looking ahead to “forever” is all right.
In fact, it’s something Carroll consistently warns against. He’s the same each week, touting that seven days as another “championship week,” and he is loathe to talk beyond that.
So, let’s do it for him.
The Seahawks (6-1) are heading into the end of their most difficult road stretch of the season. When the clock runs out Monday night in St. Louis, they will be done with four road games in five weeks.
Included was a Thursday night road game last week after a short week of preparation.
The Seahawks took four days off before returning to full practice Tuesday after that quick turnaround. Since their bye week comes Nov. 18, the break was welcomed.
“I think a lot of guys were kind of down on ‘E,’ as far as gas in the tank,” safety Earl Thomas said. “I feel very good right now. Very rejuvenated.”
Looking down the line, that refueled group will see just two opponents (New Orleans and San Francisco) remaining with winning records. The Seahawks have their bye the week before they play host to New Orleans, giving them two full weeks of preparation for the Saints (5-1) on a Monday night. Seattle heads to San Francisco the next week.
But, starting this Sunday, the Seahawks’ remaining opponents outside of those two have a combined 13-33 record. Two, the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings, have one win each. The Giants picked up theirs against the Vikings on Monday night.
Tampa Bay is winless and visits CenturyLink Field on Nov. 3.
The Seahawks also close with four of six at home, where they have won 11 consecutive games, one short of tying the franchise record.
Which makes considerations of home-field advantage throughout the playoffs for the Seahawks a legitimate thought, even in Week 8.
San Francisco and New Orleans appear to be the two main competitors. The Saints have a more difficult schedule in front of them than do the Seahawks or 49ers.
New Orleans has to play the Carolina Panthers, who have won consecutive games by a combined score of 65-25, twice. The Panthers (3-3) are in second place, behind New Orleans, in the NFC South.
The Saints also play at Seattle and at home against San Francisco, and have a tricky trip to play the New York Jets, who knocked off the Patriots last week.
New Orleans will be doing all of this without the benefit of a break. It was on a bye last week and is looking at 10 consecutive games, including five on the road plus a Thursday night game, to close the season.
San Francisco has a schedule similar to Seattle’s. The 49ers have a bye week still to come, following a game in London this weekend against woeful Jacksonville (0-7).
Like the Seahawks, San Francisco has just two teams, Seattle and New Orleans, above .500 remaining on the schedule.
Which brings intrigue.
If the Seahawks and 49ers finish 14-2, a possible path if Seattle loses in San Francisco and each otherwise wins out, the 49ers would likely be the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
Seattle and San Francisco would be tied in overall record. They would be tied in head-to-head record, the next tiebreaker. They would be tied in division record and common-game record. They would be tied in conference record.
Which moves them all the way down to the “strength of victory” tiebreaker.
That involves uncommon teams on the schedule. In Seattle’s case, it plays the New York Giants and Minnesota, a combined 2-11, and the 49ers do not. San Francisco plays Green Bay and Washington, a combined 6-6, and the Seahawks do not.
So, if both teams were to lose just two games and split against each other, with a common loss to Indianapolis, the 49ers would have home-field advantage.
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First up is a “championship week” against the Rams (3-4) and their backup quarterback.
We’ll deal with forever later.
SEAHAWKS’ NEXT OPPONENT
ST. LOUIS RAMS (3-4)
5:40 p.m. Monday, Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
Against the Seahawks: This is the 30th regular-season meeting between the teams. The Rams lead the series 18-11. The last time the teams met, the Seahawks won, 20-13, on Dec. 30, 2012, in Seattle.
Stats and stuff: Quarterback Sam Bradford tore a ligament in his left knee Sunday and is out for the season. … Backup quarterback Kellen Clemens has 13 career interceptions, 12 career fumbles and seven career touchdown passes. … The Seattle defense is second in the NFL with 11 interceptions. … The Rams are 30th in the 32-team league in rushing yards allowed per game. … The Seahawks are second in rushing yards gained. … The Rams’ three wins came against teams that are a combined 5-16. … St. Louis also can’t run, ranking 29th in the league in rushing yards. … The Rams are bringing in multiple quarterbacks for tryouts in the search for a backup. Among them is Brady Quinn, who was in preseason camp with the Seahawks and was cut Monday by the New York Jets. … The Rams’ lead running back, Zac Stacy, has fewer rushing yards (214) than Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson (323).
Quotable: “You’re the emergency plan that nobody really hopes gets used.” — Rams backup quarterback Kellen Clemens, who will start this week in place of injured Sam Bradford
Sept. 8 vs. Arizona W, 27-24
Sept. 15 at Atlanta L, 31-24
Sept. 22 at Dallas L, 31-7
Sept. 26 vs. San Francisco L, 35-11
Oct. 6 vs. Jacksonville W, 34-20
Oct. 13 at Houston W, 38-13
Oct. 20 at Carolina L, 30-15
Monday vs. Seattle
Nov. 3 vs. Tennessee
Nov. 10 at Indianapolis
Nov. 24 vs. Chicago
Dec. 1 at San Francisco
Dec. 8 at Arizona
Dec. 15 vs. New Orleans
Dec. 22 vs. Tampa Bay
Dec. 29 at Seattle