Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Re-Assessing the Schedule

by: Michael Steffes

I thought that since news is bye-week slow, and things haven't gone as many expected so far, it would be fun to look back and re-examine the early look I took at the Seahawks and their schedule. Here is the original post.

First off, it is important to note that one of the reasons I originally broke the schedule up the way i did was because NFL football is hard nut to crack so to speak, at least as far as predictions go. Good teams get bad, bad teams rise up, and injuries hit everyone. Some harder than others. So when looking at the schedule after it came out, I broke it up into quarters. I was less inclined to pick specific games because not only are the Seahawks often schizophrenic, but it gives a bit of a cushion for the ever changing NFL landscape. To re-visit the previous predictions with a eye on how it looks now...

Here is what i said about the first quarter (@ Buffalo, San Fran, St Louis, Bye, NYG)

First off, it stinks that the team has their bye in the first quarter. Hopefully, it will not slow down momentum that the Hawks will seem to have after week 3. Buffalo reminds me of opening in Jacksonville in 05', but this is a much more experienced team. Plus, there is a chance Tubbs will still be healthy at this point (please don't jinx him) and that will help with Buffalo's run first offense. Then the team gets two winnable home games against division opponents. Those are key. Expect the Niners to have a long day during the home opener and St Louis, while they will be geared up, they would much rather face us in the dome before coming to Qwest.
I predicted a 3-1 record, for the record (damn!). How wrong I was about the bye week, huh? Who could have known we would be so in need of rest already? The Jacksonville/Buffalo comparison was right on, and in a way I was right about SF. That game was a long day, all the way to overtime. Too bad we couldn't have won it, the Hawks would have had a chance to make me look smart. Now the best we can get is 2-2.

Here is my look at the second quarter (Packers, @ Bucs, @ 49ers, Eagles)
The second quarter has some teams that project to be fine football teams. The first two games are against NFC teams that won their division last year. To me this is the hardest quarter to predict. The Hawks could win all four, or they could struggle like this section of last year.
So far so good, right? This quarter hasn't changed much, except that the Hawks will probably be playing with a bit more urgency after their slow start. I think that next week will go a long way towards foreshadowing how the Hawks will preform in this section of the schedule. My official prediction was 2-2, which still seems reasonable.

On to the third quarter (@ Miami, AZ, Skins, @ Dallas ). Of course this is where we get our first crack at the mighty AZ Cardinals. We can only wonder what the division race will look like at this point. Here is what I said in April:
I think it too much to expect the Hawks to go through this stretch undefeated, however this is the time of the year they really start to role. Plus, they will be thinking playoff bye at least for a few more weeks. The important thing is that they leave this quarter of the season feeling good and gaining momentum. They should even have welcomed Deion back by now. That will provide a boost in energy to the offense.
I guess I was wrong about the team thinking home field advantage, or so it looks. I suppose that is still available, but losses will need to be few and far between from hereon out. All these games still seem winnable, except maybe Dallas, but I am not going to count the Hawks out of that one just yet. My official prediction was 3-1, and I will stick with that.

The fourth quarter (NE, @ Rams, Jets, @ AZ) is where a lot has already changed, mainly because of the Tom Brady injury and Brett Favre trade. Here is what I said:
The New England Sunday Night game starts off this quarter, and it will be like a playoff game....The Hawks will have had ten days to prepare/rest. It will certainly be an epic battle.... Either way, the Rams will want to take a chunk out of the Hawks, as will the Cards the final week. With the Jets in between, this shapes up to be a difficult quarter. I think that if the Hawks are looking for a bye, that will help them. If they are fighting for the division that will help too. But anything in between and I see the patented late season flailing by the Hawks
My official prediction was 2-2 here, but now I am not so sure. I think 3-1 is a much more reasonable expectation. The Pats aren't nearly as formidable. The Jets haven't looked so hot on the road so far, but could be better by then. The Rams are in shambles and home field won't even help them, especially if the game means something to Seattle, which it almost certainly will. If it comes down to week 17, I am taking the Hawks and their playoff experience as of right now.

My overall prediction was 10-6 and a division championship, which still seems very obtainable. While the first quarter hasn't gone as planned, it seems the end of the schedule now looks easier. If the team drops the Giants game, the would still have the back end of the schedule to catch up so to speak. I think getting to .500 by the Eagles game is reasonable. From there, the Hawks should get on a run.

For the first time in several years, this team could be playing meaningful games in December against beatable teams. This is a recipe for playoff success, especially since the Hawks would have a home game to introduce the younger players to the playoff atmosphere.

Of course, all of this could change again by the start of next quarter. ~END~