The hunt is on.
With only two weeks left in the regular season, both the Seattle Seahawks (6-8) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6) are desperately vying for playoff scraps.
For Seattle, a win in Week 16 provides a much needed edge in the neck-and-neck-and-neck NFC West. Even with the win, Seattle has to beat the Rams in Week 17, but a win over Tampa Bay would help if St. Louis can’t eliminate the 49ers this Sunday.
Tampa Bay has to go all-in and win out then cross their fingers for losses from Green Bay, Chicago, and NYG.
Both teams are playing for keeps.
Seattle has not played at all consistently this season, exhibiting only fleeting flashes of excellence among an overall theme of mediocrity and missed opportunities.
This weekend, Seattle’s receiving core should be fully staffed again, but the Defensive Line suffered another blow last week which translates to Seattle’s biggest hurdle for this week.
Defensive Tackle Junior Siavii suffered a neck stinger Sunday vs. the Falcons and was placed on injured reserve Thursday afternoon. Siavii had been filling in for Red Bryant who suffered a season-ending injury against the Raiders in Week 8.
Siavii had become integral to Seattle’s rush defense and now, facing the ninth-ranked rush defense in the league, the Seahawks will sorely miss him there. They have signed Joe Pawelek off the practice squad to fill the gap and try to plug up the Bucs tackle-breaking RB LeGarrette Blount.
Additionally, Matt Hasselbeck has had a rollercoaster season. Two weeks in a row he looked like the pro-bowl veteran the team’s fans and rookies have been counting on, throwing for over 300 yards. In the four weeks since then he’s thrown at least two interceptions per game.
It’s no news now that Hasselbeck will be getting the starting nod over Charlie Whitehurst who almost staged a comeback against the Falcons after Hasselbeck was pulled in the third quarter. For the first time, the Pacific Northwest had the opportunity to see in Whitehurst what Carroll must have seen the entire time.
If Hasselbeck continues to be hampered by that broken left wrist, expect to see more of Whitehurst.