The entire NFC landscape just changed around them--while the Seahawks didn’t do anything but watch.
Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone during Green Bay’s loss at Minnesota on Sunday brought the Packers (4-2) back from being the favorite to win the conference to the jumbled mass of contenders that includes Seattle.
The Seahawks are 3-2 returning from their bye week to practice Monday for their game this weekend at the New York Giants (1-5). The Giants won amid turmoil for the first time last night as a double-digit underdog at Denver.
With Brett Hundley now running Green Bay’s offense for at least the next two months if not the rest of this season, Lambeau Field is no longer the most likely path through the NFC playoffs to the Super Bowl. I had been sticking to my prediction of Seattle at Green bay in the conference title game. Not anymore.
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Home playoff games--and more than just the one they got last January, in the wild-card round--remains the Seahawks’ goal this season. And that goal got a boost on Sunday. Some are writing off the Packers as done if Rodgers doesn’t return this season.
Without Rodgers, the Packers are now going to be fighting with the Vikings (4-2) and Lions (3-3, losers of two straight) just to make it out of the North division.
Atlanta lost to another AFC East team at home. The defending conference champion blew a 17-0 lead over Miami. Any team that loses to the Jay Cutlers after the week the Dolphins endured has issues that must be fixed before any playoff talk. The Falcons (3-2) now play at New England this Sunday night. They come to Seattle for a Monday night game on Nov. 20.
The Panthers (4-2), not the Falcons, lead the NFC South. And that’s after Carolina lost at home to Philadelphia to fall to 1-2 in Charlotte.
The Eagles are now the trendy risers in the conference, 5-1 atop the NFC East. That division now apparently won’t have Ezekiel Elliott running through it for Dallas over the next five weeks. How good is Philadelphia? The Seahawks will know by the time the Eagles come to Seattle to play on Sunday night, Dec. 3.
The Rams (4-2) showed they are rampaging against every team not named the Seahawks. Los Angeles scored 24 points in the first half of its 27-17 at Jacksonville, one week after the league’s leading offense scored just 10 in a home loss to Seattle. The Rams got 20 points off special teams. Previously flat-lining Arizona woke up in the West by re-starting Adrian Peterson’s career. Some in the desert are saying the running back Arizona signed last week saved the Cardinals’ season on Sunday. He ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns in his debut against Tampa Bay. Arizona scored 21 points the first three times it had the ball in its win. That’s more points than the Cardinals (3-3) had scored in any of their previous four games.
About the only thing that stayed status quo in the NFC: San Francisco lost again, at Washington. The 49ers are 0-6 and have started the C.J. Beathard era at quarterback.
The Seahawks? While the players scattered everywhere for their lone week off until at least January, the team hosted free-agent offensive tackle Branden Albert. It got linked to more rumors about Houston Texans holdout Duane Brown, Cleveland Browns veteran Joe Thomas and just about every other tackle that can locate Seattle on a map.
My News Tribune colleague John McGrath writes the Seahawks should think “to hell with the future” in acquiring a veteran to help fix the offensive line, to seize on this opportunity in the now wide-open NFC.