Week 16. Seahawks vs Chiefs, Christmas Eve at Arrowhead Stadium.
Well, shit. I don’t know that it gets any harder than this. Our beloved Seahawks, a team struggling on so many levels, take on the Kansas City Chiefs, red hot champs of the AFC West led by the ever mighty Patrick Mahomes. Adding to the difficulty, the Hawks will be down three of their best weapons with Tyler Lockett, Ryan Neal and Al Woods all out with injuries. If all that weren’t enough misery, throw in the forecast of 19 degree temps in Kansas City that morning.
When the Hawks were sitting at 6-3, they had an 80% chance to make the playoffs. However now, after losing four of their past five games, their chances have dropped to 63%. Obviously, a win against the Chiefs would bolster their playoff chances. A loss would decrease them, especially if the Lions were to pull off a win against the Panthers. It’s no surprise that the Seahawks are 10 point underdogs in this game. Pretty much all the experts are predicting the Chiefs to win, with the exception of Matt Calkins. The perpetually contrarian Seattle Times sports columnist picks the Hawks over the Chiefs, 28-27. Gotta love that guy.
I believe in my team. I’m also not expecting a Christmas miracle on Saturday. Still, I do have a wish list. Santa, I hope you’re listening. Here it is:
- DK Metcalf to step up. With Tyler Lockett out and a consistently stalled run game, DK will need to help Geno carry this offense. He’s certainly been a formidable presence this season. He’s got 920 something in receiving yards. He also creates a lot of defensive challenges for opposing teams trying to cover him. He’s full of swagger and attitude and has a knack for getting into the heads of his defenders, which is highly entertaining to a point. All that said, the stupid unsportsmanlike penalties have got to stop. This Hawks offense can’t afford to lose an inch of field, much less 15-yards. Also, DK is a fast motherfucker and can certainly turn on the jets. I’d love to see an increase in his yards after catch in this game.
- Contain Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce. This is probably the most lethal quarterback/tight end combo in the league right now. If the Hawks defense did nothing else but shut these two down, it could make a big difference.
- Seahawks O-Line like a fortress. I’m tired of watching Geno get sacked and with the attendant shutdown of momentum these sacks create. I want to see the Seahawks o-line form an impenetrable fortress around the pocket, protecting Geno so he can do his thing. If the o-line can’t open gaps for the running backs, then they should at least protect their damn quarterback who will be forced to throw the ball all day. Former Seahawks Frank Clark and Carlos Dunlap, now two of the Chiefs nastiest edge rushers, will make this very difficult.
- Transcendence over the cold. I suppose the good news is that they won’t be playing in a blizzard. Still, these frigid temperatures are no joke. Under the best of circumstances, this game pushes bodies to ridiculous extremes. Bitter cold must add an unimaginable layer of pain. I have no idea how you get your mind around pushing your body through something like that. But I hope they can do it.
- Chiefs on the naughty list. OK, this is a longshot but perhaps one way the Seahawks can win. With the Chiefs on the naughty list, Santa may deliver their lump of coal in the form of a loss.
Player to watch: DK Metcalf. Please refer to my first bullet for all the reasons why.