Monday cyber surfing: NFC playoff picture

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, November 19, as the players and coaches return from the bye week to Virginia Mason Athletic Center to begin preparations for a Week 12 road matchup with the Miami Dolphins.

Mike Sando of has a look at the NFC playoff picture heading into the final six weeks of the season, “Seattle is one of the leading wild-card contenders at present, but the Seahawks could still win the NFC West and its automatic berth. The team would qualify for the playoffs as the NFC’s sixth and final seed if the season were finished already. Seattle, Minnesota and Tampa Bay are tied with 6-4 records. Head-to-head tiebreakers come into play if one team has defeated or lost to both other teams. Conference record is the next tiebreaker. In this case, Minnesota lost to both Seattle and Tampa Bay. That would eliminate the Vikings from consideration. Seattle would then prevail over Tampa Bay based on superior record against NFC opponents. Of course, much will happen before any tiebreakers come into play.”

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has a chart breaking down the Seahawks’ record after 10 games throughout franchise history, noting that the last three times the team has gone 6-4 to open the season, they have made the playoffs (2004, 2006, 2007).

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune has reason why the Seahawks have a good shot at challenging the San Francisco 49ers for the division title, “If the Seahawks can split on the road against Miami and Chicago, they would be up to seven wins and facing three remaining at home, and another on the road against Buffalo (4-6), which will also be on the road hosting the game in Toronto. If the Seahawks stay healthy and continue to improve on offense, 10 wins looks reasonable, with 11 not out of the question. Given the NFL axiom, they’ve got to take them one at a time, but we can look forward to a dramatic showdown with San Francisco at CenturyLink Field on Dec. 23.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald has a look at the decision of the Seahawks coaching staff to add option plays into their offense, “What the Seahawks are seeing is that, even in moderation, the zone-read option is a valuable tool to soften defenses. Carroll isn’t about to have Wilson run the option 30 plays a game, but just the threat of it makes opposing defense work that much harder when they prepare for the Seahawks. ‘It really does call for very specific discipline for the defense,’ Carroll said. ‘Whether they decide to have their ends or outside backers be responsible for the quarterback, or whether they’re asking them to stay down on the handoff, that takes coordination, because if they keep a guy down on Marshawn, then somebody else has to tackle the quarterback. And if they do it all one way, then it’s easy for us, so most teams have to do it more than one way. … We’ve made a lot of yards handing the ball off out of the gun this year, more so than in other years, and that’s because of the threat of the quarterback. It softens the defense some so that they can get their stuff right.’ ”

Tim Booth of the Associated Press evaluates Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson’s performance to date, “Since winning the starting job from Flynn, Wilson has approached his position unlike a rookie. He started leaving notes about upcoming opponents in the lockers of his receivers the mornings after the previous game. The notes have eventually morphed into texts and emails with even more details about coverages, routes, little things the quarterback saw that could be of benefit to his receivers. ‘My goal is to move on from the week before, whether it was great, whether there were some things we could’ve done better, and just focus on the next team,’ Wilson said. ‘I thought that was the best idea and I kind of just decided to do that in terms of putting things in guys lockers and letting them know, this what we need to do, this what they do well, these are the coverage’s they run the most in certain situations, and also just figuring out what we can do to be successful come Sunday.’ ”

The Seahawks will hold a Monday practice at 2:00 p.m., with coach Carroll and the players available to the media after the session wraps up.

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