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Jim Moore: Time to bet on the Seahawks’ playoff run


Seattle Seahawks quarterback Uchenna Nwosu (10) sacks Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) during the second half of an NFL football game in Glendale, Arizona, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt York)


I thought the streaky Seahawks could face an immediate setback to their surprising season when they take on the Cardinals on Sunday in Glendale, Arizona.

At 3-5, Arizona was in a bigger must-win situation than the Seahawks, and Kliff Kingsbury’s team has played better since DeAndre Hopkins returned from suspension two weeks ago.

So it made sense that the Cardinals were favored by two points early in the game, and it looked like Las Vegas’ odds were right when Arizona took a 7-3 lead in the first quarter, moving down the stretch with ease.

And if it didn’t look like the Cardinals were going to win at the time, it certainly did after Genea Smith’s six tackles as quarterback Zawen Collins turned an interception into a 14-10 Arizona lead midway through the third quarter.

But nothing is stopping the Seahawks anymore. A terrible swing pass might have impressed Smith in the past, but Smith now? Not really. A four-point deficit was erased on Seattle’s next possession when Gino orchestrated a great drive, converting third downs along the way, capped off with a touchdown pass to Tyler Luckett.

The Seahawks won their fourth straight by double digits with a 31-21 victory over the Cardinals to improve their chances of winning the NFC West and becoming the team no one wants to face in the playoffs.

For a month now, we’ve seen a winning formula work at home and away, against good teams and bad teams, and any team in between.

The Seahawks showed again they can move the ball in a variety of ways with 109 rushing yards and two touchdowns from rookie Ken Walker on Sunday and 10 catches combined with tight ends Noah Fant, Will Disley and Colby Parkinson.

That made up for what could be called a so-so afternoon for DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, who each had a touchdown but also combined for just 104 receiving yards, a well-below average.

Fant put the Seahawks in fantastic position to close it out with a 51-yard catch-and-run, and Walker gave Seattle a two-point lead with just over two minutes remaining, not giving Arizona enough time to rally.

Even with more time on the clock, it’s unlikely the Cardinals would have come all the way back because the Seahawks defense posted its fourth straight shutout, limiting Arizona to 262 yards.

Since Hopkins had 22 receptions in the previous two games, I thought he would be good for eight to 10 catches against the Seahawks. But he had four catches for just 36 yards, a stat line that underscored just how great this Seattle secondary has become, particularly quarterbacks Tarik Woolen, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson.

We’re not talking Legion of Boom stuff just yet, but the signs are promising, especially with a tough pass rush that has led to 19 sacks in the last four games.

The defense was an evolving story; Geno has been turning pages since day one. Whether it’s a blitz, or a sack, or one of the worst sixes you’ll ever see, nothing fazes him. We went from wondering if he would bounce back to knowing he would.

He was very accurate Sunday, completing 26 of 34 passes for 275 yards and more clutch than usual — the Seahawks converted 10 of 15 third downs, including the last seven of the game.

It’s becoming easier to envision a 10-7 season and maybe even 11-6 for a team projected to win five or six games this year. They are likely to win four of their remaining eight games against the Raiders, Panthers, Jets and Rams, all at home. They also might have been slight favorites over the 49ers in Thursday night’s December game at Lumen Field and should be favored over Tampa Bay this Sunday in Munich, but were underdogs to the Bucs by one point at last check.

Think about it, if they just play .500 ball the rest of the way, they’ll finish 10-7, but heck, they’ve proven they’re better than that, which means 12-5 is possible. within reach.

When the season started, they had a half-court prayer to win the NFC West. They are now 1 1/2 games ahead of the 4-4 49ers, 2 1/2 games ahead of the 3-5 Rams and three games ahead of the 3-6 Cardinals.

Every team has flaws, even the undefeated Eagles with their defense, but it’s getting harder and harder to find the Seahawks’ weaknesses. If you’re the defensive coordinator, how would you stop them? If you’re an offensive coordinator, how would you attack a defense that’s been one of the best in the league over the past four weeks?

Tom Brady and the Bucks have struggled on offense all season and were fortunate to beat the Rams on Sunday in their final matchup. Do you really think they will suddenly go bandwagon in Germany against the Seahawks defense?

Big chance. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that this team can handle anyone, anywhere. So, believe it or not, it’s time to check your doubts at the door and enjoy the ride.

Jim Moore has covered the Washington sports scene from all angles for several news outlets. You can find him on Twitter @cougsgo and on KJR-FM 93.3 where he hosts a sports talk show from 10am to 1pm weekdays.

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