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Another Seahawks playoff run falls short of expectations

Mon Jan 13 7:45pm ET
By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer

Players: Russell Wilson, Will Dissly, Rashaad Penny, Chris Carson

Green Bay Packers' Preston Smith sacks Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)


Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson walks off the field after an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 28-23 to advance to the NFC Championship. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)


Seattle Seahawks' Shaquem Griffin and Shaquill Griffin embrace after an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 28-23 to advance to the NFC Championship. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)


Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch sits on the bench during the second half an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 28-23 to advance to the NFC Championship. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)


Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll walks off the field after an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 28-23 to advance to the NFC Championship. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)


RENTON, Wash. (AP) It’s been six years since Russell Wilson raised the Super Bowl trophy. Five years since his fateful pass from the 1-yard line.

While he’s become one of the top quarterbacks in the time since Wilson was last in the Super Bowl, the gap without a championship game appearance is becoming more noticeable and tougher for the highest-paid player in the NFL to accept.

Some may say because of having a youthful roster as part of an overhaul that started two years ago, and a long debilitating list of injuries that the Seahawks overachieved by winning 12 games. They were inches from winning a division title and maybe a dropped pass away from rallying to beat Green Bay in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs before falling 28-23 to the Packers.

But at age 31 and having completed his eighth season, Wilson doesn’t see it that way.

“I think we underachieved in my opinion because I think the goal should be always winning the Super Bowl. That’s got to be our standard. That’s got to be our focus,” Wilson said on Monday.

“The reality is we’ve been really, really good the past eight years or so, and to go to the playoffs seven of the eight, and to do all those things are special, special things, to go to two Super Bowls, to win one. We’ve got to capture that through the whole entire season going into next year. We’ve got to find ways to get better. We’ve got to find ways just to get past the first and second round of the playoffs.”

Seattle was a flawed team that managed to be exceptionally good in close games and when playing away from home. Eleven of Seattle’s 12 wins were by one score or less. Their regular-season point differential was plus-7. They won eight games outside of Seattle and just four at home. Their defense ranked in the bottom third of the league in points allowed, pass yards allowed, rushing yards allowed and total yards for the regular season.

It was a very un-Seattle like team that did what has become the standard under Pete Carroll and made the playoffs yet again. But for the fourth time in Carroll’s tenure, Seattle’s journey ended in the divisional round.

“I really regret this thing is over,” Carroll said. “I love this team and loved the way they played and loved what they stood for and the character they demonstrated over and over again.”

ANSWERS UP FRONT

Seattle’s biggest questions going forward such as on the defensive line where Jadeveon Clowney, Jarran Reed, Ziggy Ansah, Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods are all unrestricted free agents. The results from the group were mixed at best. Clowney was a star that flashed in some of Seattle’s biggest games despite playing the second half of the season with a painful core muscle injury. Reed was suspended the first six games and never came close to matching his production from a year ago. Ansah played with injuries all season and mostly underachieved. Jefferson was Seattle’s best overall lineman not named Clowney, and Woods was serviceable as a run stopper before being suspended four games late in the season.

Even if none of the five return, the defensive front has to be a heavy focus of Seattle’s offseason.

GET HEALTHY

Consider a few of the starters and key contributors Seattle played without against Green Bay: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, Justin Britt, Will Dissly and Mychal Kendricks. Duane Brown played less than three weeks after knee surgery. Marshawn Lynch, three weeks out of retirement, started against the Packers. Phil Haynes was forced into the first extensive action of his career in the second half versus Green Bay. Bobby Wagner said Monday he’ll need some offseason work done to clean up injuries that were discovered to be worse than originally thought.

Injuries became a major part of Seattle’s story this season.

“We couldn’t stay healthy and it was a big deal,” Carroll said. “We were going so well late into the year ... we had six guys on the inactives that were healthy and then all of a sudden it just shifted.”

GET OUT OF THE BLOCKS

For whatever reason, Seattle has played terrible in the first half of three of its divisional road games in Carroll’s tenure. In the 2012 playoffs at Atlanta, Seattle fell behind 20-0 at halftime, rallied to take the lead, but lost 30-28. In 2015 at Carolina, Seattle fell behind 31-0 before a late rally fell short in a 31-24 loss. And on Sunday, the Seahawks were down 21-3 at halftime to Green Bay.

Seattle has played five total divisional round playoff games on the road under Carroll. It has been outscored 112-13 combined in the first half of those five games.

HOW TO GET IT RIGHT?

Seattle clearly needs some changes on defense. Carroll likened this season to 2012 and it was the following offseason that Seattle went out and landed pass rushers Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril in free agency. A similar haul is needed again to solve the Seahawks biggest defensive issue. The other area to watch will be how Seattle approaches its offensive line. Germain Ifedi, George Fant and Mike Iupati are all free agents. Duane Brown will turn 35 before the start of next season. Britt is coming off an ACL injury. Making sure the line of scrimmage is addressed appropriately on both sides of the ball will be the key whether Seattle can make a similar jump as it did from 2012 to 2013 when it went from a divisional round playoff loss to Super Bowl champs.

“Guys need to go into the offseason with a chip on their shoulder. They have to make sure they feel that loss. Don’t just throw it away, really feel that loss the whole offseason and how close we could have been,” Wagner said.

Player Notes
Julian Edelman Oct 31 4:10pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (knee) has been placed on the injured reserve. Edelman had surgery on his knee and is expected to miss at least the next three games, though head coach Bill Belichick seemed optimistic about the veteran receiver returning at some point. It's safe to drop Edelman in all formats. With starter N'Keal Harry (concussion) also out, the Patriots will have to turn to Jakobi Meyers, Damiere Byrd, and Gunner Olszewski for three-wide receiver sets. Meyers and Byrd can only be used by the most desperate of fantasy managers, as the matchup against Buffalo is tough.

From RotoBaller

Sterling Shepard Oct 31 4:00pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (shoulder, toe) doesn't have an injury designation and will take the field heading into a tough matchup against the Buccaneers. Shepard was limited all week in practice after sustaining a turf toe injury in Week 7 against Philadelphia in addition to the shoulder ailment- though he's evidently shown the Giants enough to be confident in his health. It won't be an easy matchup for Shepard against Tampa Bay, as they've allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wideouts. Still, Shepard's eight targets from Week 7 indicate that he'll be a big part of the offense moving forward. Look at him as a solid WR3 option in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Scott Miller Oct 31 3:40pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (shoulder) and wide receiver Scotty Miller (hip, groin) are both good to go for Sunday. Both Gronkowski and Miller were limited on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, though they have no injury designations after both were full participants on Friday. Without Chris Godwin (finger), both players could potentially see more looks in the passing game. Look at Gronkowski as a solid TE1 and Miller as a risky WR4 against the Giants Defense on Monday night.

From RotoBaller

Devonta Freeman Oct 31 3:30pm ET

New York Giants running back Devonta Freeman (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This was expected, as Freeman was not able to take the practice field all week. He suffered the injury during the Giants' Week 7 contest against the Eagles on Thursday night, though the added time didn't help him heal any quicker. The Giants will turn to Wayne Gallman- who looked good in spurts against Philadelphia- as their lead back. He'll get enough touches to be started as a flex option, though it's hard to envision him finding much success against Tampa's league-best run defense.

From RotoBaller

Stephon Gilmore Oct 31 3:30pm ET

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (knee) is out for a key Week 8 divisional clash against the Bills. There was a glimmer of hope on Thursday when Gilmore was able to get a limited practice session in, though Friday's DNP made his status for Sunday grim. New England doesn't have much depth behind last year's Defensive Player of the Year and is inconveniently about to face Stefon Diggs. Diggs was already a must-start based on his previous production and is now arguably a top-five wide receiver this week.

From RotoBaller

Phillip Lindsay Oct 31 2:40pm ET

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said that running back Phillip Lindsay (concussion) will go for one more post-concussion evaluation on Saturday, but the team expects him to play in Week 8 against the Chargers, barring a setback in that test. It's bad news for Melvin Gordon, who will now share touches in the backfield with Lindsay, making him more of a low-end RB2/high-end RB3/flex. Lindsay was the better runner in Week 7, too, racking up 79 yards on nine carries. He's averaging just under five yards a carry and Gordon lost two costly fumbles against the Chiefs. Lindsay will be an RB3/flex option in PPR leagues if he can pass his final concussion test.

From RotoBaller

Andy Dalton Oct 31 2:30pm ET

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton (concussion) has been downgraded from doubtful to out for the Sunday night game against the division-rival Eagles in Week 8. This was the expectation all along after Dalton was unable to clear the concussion protocol or practice all week. Owner Jerry Jones thinks that the signal-caller will be ready to go for Week 9 against the Steelers, but we'll have to keep a close eye on his progress in the league's protocol. If he is available next week, he'd be a low-end QB2 against a tough Steelers Defense. Rookie Ben DiNucci will make his first career start against Philadelphia this Sunday, but he's also a low-end desperation QB2 in superflex leagues.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Succop Oct 31 1:40pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop makes for a good play in a Week 8 matchup against the New York Giants. Succop has made at least five kicks in four straight games and has at least five extra points in two straight. There's no reason to doubt Tampa Bay's offense against the Giants, even though their defense has shown signs of improvement. Fire up Succop as a solid starting option this week.

From RotoBaller

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Oct 31 1:40pm ET

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense has been one of the best options for fantasy this year. They get their best matchup of the year in Week 8 against the Giants, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing defenses. The Giants' offensive line ranks dead-last in adjusted sack rate while Tampa Bay's defensive front ranks second in sack rate. This is a dream matchup for the Buccaneers' defense, so expect more than a few sacks and a couple of turnovers forced at the expense of Daniel Jones. The Buccaneers are probably going to be the highest-scoring defense of the week.

From RotoBaller

Rob Gronkowski Oct 31 1:30pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski faces a semi-tough matchup in Week 8 against the Giants. Gronkowski has at least six targets and 50 yards receiving in each of his last three contests and has scored a touchdown in two straight games. The Giants are not the soft spot they used to be for tight ends- they've allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to the position. Still, Gronkowski is too hot to bench right now, especially with how thin the tight end position is for fantasy. He has a good chance of putting up top-12 numbers at his position in Week 8.

From RotoBaller

Alshon Jeffery Oct 31 1:30pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (calf) has been ruled out for Week 8's Sunday night matchup with the division-rival Cowboys. Jeffery still has yet to make his 2020 season debut and missed practice all week. The 30-year-old miss the start of the season after having offseason foot surgery, but the calf injury is what's holding him back of late. The oft-injured veteran might not even have much of a role once he finally does return, so he's not a very attractive stash in standard-sized leagues at this point. The Eagles will be getting tight end Dallas Goedert (ankle) and rookie receiver Jalen Reagor (thumb) back in Week 8 as well. Jeffery has become a fantasy afterthought.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Johnson Oct 31 1:20pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Tyler Johnson will take the place of the injured Chris Godwin (finger) in Week 8 against the Giants. Johnson got the start in Week 5, playing a season-high 79 percent of the snaps and putting up a 4-61-0 line. With Brady currently rolling, it's fair to consider starting a player such as Johnson. There is some risk here, as the game script may tilt this towards a more run-heavy gameplan for the Buccaneers. Still, Johnson can be started by managers who are struggling with injuries or bye weeks.

From RotoBaller

Damien Harris Oct 31 1:20pm ET

New England Patriots running back Damien Harris (ankle) is listed as questionable for Week 8 against the division-rival Bills. Harris was a limited practice participant all week, so he should be able to suit up on Sunday against Buffalo, barring any setbacks. New England will need as much help as possible from their backfield this weekend with both receivers Julian Edelman (knee) and N'Keal Harry (concussion) out, but the Patriots crowded backfield and their stagnant offense are both big concerns for Harris' potential upside. Harris has seen double-digit carries in two of his three games this year, but he'll need positive game script to reach his ceiling this weekend, and that might be tough going against a strong Buffalo offense. With just two catches in three games as well, Harris is an uninspiring RB3/flex in this crowded backfield picture.

From RotoBaller

Mo Alie-Cox Oct 31 1:10pm ET

Indianapolis Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox (knee) and center Ryan Kelly (knee) are both questionable for Week 8 against the Lions. Alie-Cox didn't practice on Wednesday, but he was limited both Thursday and Friday. He sat out of the team's Week 6 game and rested up during the bye last week. The 27-year-old has a decent shot at playing this Sunday against Detroit, but his moment in the fantasy sun appears to have come and gone in 2020. Alie-Cox went over 100 yards receiving in Week 2 and scored in back-to-back games in Weeks 3 and 4, but he failed to haul in his only target in Week 5 when he was injured, and he's expected to take a back seat to Trey Burton moving forward.

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Bryan Edwards Oct 31 1:10pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders rookie wide receiver Bryan Edwards (ankle, foot) is listed as questionable for Week 8 against the Browns. Edwards was limited in practice all week, so he definitely has a chance to return for the first time since Week 3. The third-rounder has caught five of his six targets for 99 yards in the first three games of his career, but he won't carry any fantasy appeal if he returns to action against Cleveland, as rookie Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow and Nelson Agholor should operate in three-receiver sets this Sunday. The Browns are an enticing matchup for wideouts; they've allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to them this year. Edwards might be able to make a splash play if he's active, but you can't trust him in fantasy lineups.

From RotoBaller

Allen Robinson Oct 31 1:00pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II (concussion) has cleared the league's concussion protocol and is expected to play in Week 8 against the Saints. Robinson missed practice all week, making it seem unlikely on Friday that he would be able to suit up on Sunday. But it looks like fantasy managers can return him to their starting lineups for this weekend. Chicago's offense has been stagnant the last two weeks, though, which has limited A-Rob to nine receptions for 123 yards on 13 targets in that span. The Bears need to make their top receiver a bigger part of the game plan to get back in the win column, but the 27-year-old will be a WR2 for fantasy managers against New Orleans.

From RotoBaller

Scott Miller Oct 31 1:00pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Scotty Miller could have a chance at more targets in Week 8 without Chris Godwin (finger) on the field. Miller has started two games without Godwin, producing a 2-11-0 line in Week 2 and a 5-83-1 line in Week 4. Brady certainly seems to trust him, which bodes well for his outlook. However, the game script might be working against him, as the Giants aren't likely to keep this a close contest. He's a risky WR4 for this game, though he's a player that can be rolled out there if you're up against it with injuries or bye weeks.

From RotoBaller

Frank Gore Oct 31 12:50pm ET

New York Jets running back Frank Gore (hand) is listed as questionable to play in Week 8 against the Chiefs. Gore was limited in practice on both Wednesday and Friday but sat out on Thursday. You really shouldn't trust anyone in this atrocious Jets offense not named Jamison Crowder, and he's not expected to play this Sunday. The 37-year-old Gore is now dealing with an injury and has been splitting repetitions with rookie La'Mical Perine recently, further cratering his fantasy value. In what will likely be a blowout loss to the defending Super Bowl champions this weekend, trusting any of Gang Green's runners would be foolish. Gore is an RB4/flex that shouldn't be trusted in 12-team leagues if he's active.

From RotoBaller

Mike Evans Oct 31 12:50pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans should see an increased target share without teammate Chris Godwin (finger) in Week 8. Evans has averaged nine targets per game in three starts without a healthy Godwin and has delivered WR2 numbers or better in all three of those contests. The matchup will be tough this week- he'll go up against a familiar foe in James Bradberry, who has been playing phenomenal football for New York. Still, Evans will get plenty of looks from Brady and has a good chance of finding the end zone in Week 8. Start him as a high-end WR2 this week who could very well finish among the top-12 at his position.

From RotoBaller

Leonard Fournette Oct 31 12:40pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette gets the Giants in Week 8 fresh off of leading his team's backfield in touches. Fournette played a season-high 56 percent of the snaps en route to 97 scrimmage yards on 17 touches back in Week 7. He'll face a Giants Defense that has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing halfbacks, including the fifth-most receiving yards. Tampa Bay is likely to operate with a lead, though Fournette seems to have the trust of the coaching staff as the third-down back. Expect a near-even split in touches with Ronald Jones II, with the former Jaguar handling much of the receiving work. He's a good flex play with RB2 upside, particularly in PPR formats.

From RotoBaller