The Seahawks will be playing to win on Sunday night, no matter what. As if there was ever any doubt about that.
A reporter asked coach Pete Carroll on Friday whether the Seahawks would rest starters on Sunday night against the Chiefs if other results earlier in the day would prevent Seattle from clinching a playoff berth with a win. Carroll made it clear that, no matter what, his team will be giving their all.
“Absolutely not,” Carroll said as to the possibility of taking a foot off the gas. “If we couldn’t clinch, we might do what? No. Whatever that is, no. We’re going to go try to win a football game and we’ll do everything we can. This is a terrific championship opportunity for us. It’s a fantastic team, the kind of teams that you’ve got to beat if you get a chance to get into the playoffs and if you can’t matchup with these guys, what can you expect down the road? We’re going for it and that’s the only way we know how to do that. We don’t ever take a step off that.”
The question was, frankly, a bit goofy. Even if the Seahawks can’t clinch a playoff berth because other contenders will have won their games, would any team deliberately pull back against the Chiefs knowing that, come next week, the playoff spot can be clinched against the Cardinals?
For a team with its sights set on advancing as deep as possible into the playoffs (and, before that, getting there), the goal always will be to win. Especially when a win against an elite team like the Chiefs would give the Seahawks more confidence to face the elite teams from the NFC in the playoffs.
Besides, the Seahawks currently sit in the No. 5 seed. If they slide behind the Vikings into the No. 6 spot, Seattle would go to Chicago instead of Dallas (most likely) in the wild-card round. That’s reason enough to fight like hell to get the No. 5 seed.