Seahawks, Buccaneers discover themselves in reversed roles coming into Germany sport
MUNICH — When the primary NFL regular-season sport in Germany was set in May, there was little doubt who was the star attraction — Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Not that the Seahawks had been an entire afterthought — their reputation in Germany helped play into their choice because the opponent, given they had been already on Tampa Bay’s schedule as an away group for this season.
But the anticipated storyline appeared clear: Come see the best NFL quarterback in historical past assist Tampa Bay take a step towards one other hoped-for Super Bowl towards a Seahawks group that doesn’t have Russell Wilson anymore however will no less than be enjoyable to have round.
But a humorous factor occurred on the highway to Allianz Arena for Sunday’s 6:30 a.m. Seattle time kickoff. The sport will probably be televised on NFL Network and KIRO (Ch. 7).
With a sport that has drawn large media consideration in Germany lastly right here, it’s the Seahawks who discover themselves within the playoff hunt and the Buccaneers attempting principally to seek out themselves — if one way or the other nonetheless main the NFC South.
Not that the Las Vegas oddsmakers appear satisfied.
Somewhat oddly, however in all probability due to Brady’s presence and skepticism about whether or not the Seahawks are for actual, Tampa Bay is a 2.5-point favourite.
But as kickoff approaches, it’s the Seahawks who’re standing the place many figured the Bucs can be presently — at 6-3 and holding the third-best file within the NFC, using a four-game profitable streak.
Tampa Bay, in the meantime, is 4-5 and had misplaced three in a row and 5 of six earlier than a Brady-led comeback final week towards the Rams, scoring the profitable TD with 9 seconds left to eke out a 16-13 win.
If not for the feebleness of the remainder of the NFC South, the Bucs can be on the skin wanting in of the present playoff image, holding the eighth-best file within the convention.
To Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, Seattle’s seemingly shocking place ought to function proof that nobody ought to assume something about how a sports activities season could prove.
“I think that’s a lesson for a lot of people who watch this stuff, that it isn’t always so obvious that players leave and you fall apart,” Carroll mentioned. “It just didn’t happen. And we didn’t feel like it was going to happen. And that’s why we were in the mode to make something happen. With the big trade that we had to go through and all that, it was very, very challenging and very difficult and a tremendous amount of work to get there. But it sent a message out that most people on the outside couldn’t imagine that we could play good.
“But the guys in the locker room did. They didn’t feel like that. The coaches didn’t feel like that, and I certainly didn’t feel like that.”
Some might assume, after all, that’s solely as a result of Carroll’s life philosophy is to attempt to discover the optimistic in all the pieces.
But Carroll insisted Friday that he wasn’t simply attempting to look on the intense aspect when he entered the season considering the Seahawks might defy the consultants.
“There was more there,” he mentioned. “It was the attitude and personality of this team that was so evident. It was so clear that these guys were jacked up; they were going to do whatever you wanted them to do. They were having fun with each other, they liked pushing each other and competing against one another. It was just like there was no hindrance at all to our progress, it looked like.
“But we still had to go out and do it, and it’s taken us a while, and we are just getting started. The last month we have played pretty good football. But that’s just the last month.”
Though Carroll is comfortable to reward his group to date — 4 consecutive victories by 10 factors or extra following a 2-3 begin, one thing Seattle hasn’t achieved since 2014 — it additionally means the expectations have modified.
With a win, the Seahawks might enter their bye figuring out they may come out of it at worst a sport forward of the San Francisco 49ers within the NFC West.
The 49ers — at 4-4 the one different group within the NFC West with no shedding file — had their bye final week. They host the Chargers on Sunday and play at Arizona every week from Monday. A Seattle win and a loss by the 49ers in both of these video games, and the Seahawks would enter their ultimate seven video games with a two-game lead within the division (although the 49ers might win the tiebreaker, already holding a victory over Seattle in Week 2).
And that’s with winnable video games following the bye, at dwelling towards the Raiders, on the struggling Rams and at dwelling towards Carolina earlier than a attainable NFC West showdown towards the 49ers on Dec. 15.
But first Seattle should present it deserved high billing in Germany all alongside.
“We’ve got a long ways to go,” Carroll mentioned. “But they [the players] have followed suit all the way. They’ve been true to who they are the whole time. And they never wavered when we weren’t doing well, which was a really great sign, too. But we’ve got a lot still to get done.”
More than perhaps anybody apart from themselves anticipated.
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