Week 9 home vs. Minnesota
The Vikqueens make their way to Seahawks Stadium to kick off the 2nd half of the year. Thank goodness we don't have to head back there or their stadium might collapse on us. We get a look at Adrian Peterson, assuming of course he doesn't beat up anybody else in a bar between now and then. Christian Ponder gets his first earful of the 12th Man and like so many before him, crumbles into a pool of blubbering goo. The Hawks get one back and move to 6-3.
The Jets Traveling Circus makes its way west for week 10. Tebowmania, Mark Sanchez and his new cougar girlfriend Eva Longoria, and Rex Ryan's foot fetish all wash up on the shores of Puget Sound. You wonder with all that baggage if they have to charter 2 jets just to get out here. According to a report today, the Jets have the highest average ticket price in the NFL. They promptly failed to score a touchdown in any preseason game this year. Wonder if Fireman Ed's hose went limp over that one. Tebow's probably starting by this time and it'll probably be a game of thirds. A third of his throws are completed, a third go incomplete, and a third get picked off by our ball-hawking secondary. Maybe we even get a free haircut out of the deal. The Hawks take care of business and go to 7-3.
Week 11 BYE
For what it's worth, and that's not much, it's the Hawks latest bye week since 2000. Draw your own conclusions for whatever the hell that means.
Week 12 at Miami
The 'Fins welcome the Hawks to South Florida as a part of the NFL's longest road trip that doesn't include a trip to London. There are days when I get a little down as a Hawks fan since it's taken so long for this "rebuilding" process. Then I think about what it would be like to be a Dolphins fan and I feel much better. Talk about a train wreck. Their quest to find a decent QB after Dan Marino is like the Mariners trying to find an everyday left fielder to play next to Griffey. Thankfully the NFL scheduled this for later in November so the heat shouldn't be too bad. The Hawks don't get fooled with the wildcat like they did when they were down here a few years back and sneak out a win to improve to 8-3.
Week 13 at Chicago
For the 32nd straight year, the Hawks have to make their way to Soldier Field in December. That field sucks almost as bad as Heinz Field for turf quality. The Whiny One and his mates have looked halfway decent in preseason and look to be contenders in the NFC North. Even though the Hawks have had a little success in the regular season in Chicago, I think Cutler and his boys make it awfully tough on the fighting birds of Renton and hang the first loss of the 2nd half on the Hawks.
Week 14 home vs. Arizona
We finally get a division home game and it only took until the 2nd week in December. At this point in the year, who the hell knows who the QB will be for Arizona. Might be Skelton, might be Kolb, maybe they go dig up Derek Anderson again (please, please, please). Regardless, the Cardinals are probably pretty well out of any kind of playoff picture at this point and become good cannon fodder for the Hawks. The defense feasts on that weak Arizona offense and gets back in the win column to go 9-4.
Week 15 at Buffalo (in Toronto)
In the words of Homer Simpson "Ummm....I don't like the sound of that". This feels like a huge trap game for some reason. Sure, by this time Buffalo's probably not looking at the playoffs. Sure, it's in Toronto where they don't have near the home field advantage that they do in Rich Stadium (I won't reference stadiums the owner named after himself, particularly when he's setting the team up to be moved when he finally tips over). But as we know from Chris Berman over the years, no one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills. I think the Hawks are a little full of themselves at this point and get tripped up by the Bills slipping to 9-5.
Week 16 home vs. San Francisco
Thank you NFL. For the 2nd year in a row, you've given us the Niners and their annoying traveling fans to us as a Christmas present. Stupid scheduling bastards. At least this year it isn't on Christmas Eve. This game feels like it's for the division. It may even find itself on Sunday Night Football. If there's one thing we know, this team and this crowd show up in full force for night games, particularly when there's something big on the line. This is a very close one, but I'm seeing Stephen Hauschka hitting a 40-yarder to win it, pushing the Hawks to 10-5.
Week 17 home vs. St. Louis
We wrap up the year like we did 2 years ago with the Lambs coming to town. The last time this happened, I don't think I need to remind you about the result, or the result of the playoff game the next week. In the words of Bob Rondeau after another Husky upset over USC "Lightning can indeed strike twice!!!". The Hawks dispatch of the hapless Rams with extreme prejudice and vault themselves into the playoffs at 11-5.
Is this hopeful? You bet. Overly optimistic? Sure, why not. Out of the realm of possibilities? Not in the NFL. The Hawks have the chance to sneak up on people and I'm thinking they have a great chance to do it. Let's get excited 12th Man. It's the beginning of the year. Hope springs eternal. All things are possible. Ok, I'll stop sounding like those nauseating political ads we're all subject to right now. Let's Go Hawks!!
Coming up tomorrow: The return of game previews through the guise of cinema.