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Grip on Sports: The Seahawks are playing better, sure, but are they a contender for the ultimate prize?

Seahawks running back Chris Carson leaps over Detroit Lions strong safety Quandre Diggs for a 7-yard touchdown run during second-half play on Sunday in Detroit. (Rey Del Rio / AP)
Seahawks running back Chris Carson leaps over Detroit Lions strong safety Quandre Diggs for a 7-yard touchdown run during second-half play on Sunday in Detroit. (Rey Del Rio / AP)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The Seahawks, coming off a bye, played well yesterday in Detroit. They won handily over another average NFL team, the Lions. Enjoy it. Read on.

••••••••••

• A quick show of hands. How many of you believe the Hawks can win the Super Bowl this year? One, two, thr … no, Fred, I didn’t ask if you wanted a bowl of chili.

Sorry for the simple question, but it seems apropos.

If you look around the NFL this season, you only see a few teams who seem capable of winning it all.

New England, of course. Any team with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have to be considered contenders. The Kansas City Chiefs as well, though Andy Reid’s teams have started fast and finished poorly in the past.

In the NFC, the overwhelming favorite plays in Los Angeles. The Rams, who held off Aaron Rodgers and the Packers yesterday, are still undefeated, though a 16-0 season seems out of the realm of possibility. The other solid NFC contender is New Orleans, who had little trouble with the Vikings last night.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Raiders, the 49ers, the Cardinals and the Giants are so bad as to be near byes for most teams.

The other 24 teams? They inhabit the great middle that is the core of the NFL, literally and figuratively. This is a parity league and the 24 teams muddling the middle can win every week. And lose every week.

The Hawks, at 4-3, are firmly in that category.

Sure, they are 4-1 in the last five, with only a close loss to the Rams – in Seattle – marring that stretch. But the four wins have come against teams with a combined 9-20 record.

That’s fine. Part of being successful in this league is winning games you should win. The Hawks are doing that now. The next few weeks are different, however.

Their next four opponents (the Chargers, Rams, Packers and Panthers) are 21-7-1 combined. Take the Rams out and they are still almost 2-1 to the good.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is twofold: Half the games are in Seattle. And, of the Hawks’ last nine games, three are either against the 49ers and Cardinals. Win those and split the remaining six (besides the four games listed above, Seattle also plays home games with the Chiefs and Vikings) and the Seahawks are 10-6.

That’s enough, maybe, to make the playoffs.

If that makes you happy, so be it. But Seattle has been more than a squeak-into-the-playoffs-team in the recent past. The Hawks have been a Super Bowl contender. Heck, they have been a favorite at times in the past half-decade.

The question is simple: Can Seahawk fans readjust their sites and be happy with no chance of winning the ultimate prize?

Only you can answer that question. It’s a personal one.

Just like, Fred, whether you want cheese and onions in your bowl of chili.

• I guess I have to say something about the just-completed World Series. Congratulations Boston fans. Your team was the best and played the game better than anyone else this season.

In celebration, here is how I would rank teams from least to most in how I would l like to see them win a World Series …

1. New York Yankees – Goes without saying

2. Boston Red Sox – The obnoxious newbie fans drive me nuts

3. San Francisco Giants – Every friend I had as a kid who was a Giants fan ended up in prison

4. Chicago Cubs – See Red Sox fans

5 through 26. It doesn’t matter – It really doesn’t

27. Milwaukee Brewers – A good friend deserves this

28. Detroit Tigers – My dad’s lifelong favorite team

29. Los Angeles Dodgers – The team of my youth

30. Seattle Mariners – My boys’ team; they deserve to see what it feels like to win a World Series

As you can tell, the past decade hasn’t been a fun one for this guy.

•••

WSU: We’ve been here before. Recently, in fact. The Cougars are ranked in the Top 10 – Theo Lawson has a story on the most recent Associated Press poll – and control their destiny in the Pac-12 North – Theo has a story on that as well. … We’ve also been here before. The game this week against California in Martin Stadium will kick off at 7:45 p.m. (at the earliest) and be on ESPN. Theo has the particulars. … The soccer team scored late and played No. 1 Stanford to a 1-1 draw.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, yes, the polls were released yesterday. Only WSU, Utah and Washington were ranked after the carnage of the weekend. … The Huskies suffered the second-most stunning defeat. … Colorado holds the distinction of the most-stunning loss, after blowing a 28-point lead to Oregon State. … Maybe the biggest surprise loss, however, happened to Oregon. The Ducks didn’t show up against Arizona and that is a surprise. … The South seems to be Utah’s to lose. The Utes have the inside track. … Arizona State will try to knock them off that track this weekend. … JT Daniels is USC’s starting quarterback when he’s healthy. … This has been a bad year for UCLA’s Rose Bowl attendance. … Speaking of bad years, will the basketball scandal continue to fester at college campuses around the country?

Gonzaga: The good news for Zag fans is their favorite college basketball team handled always-tough Michigan State in a preseason scrimmage. The bad news? The Bulldogs didn’t have Killian Tillie, their do-everything power forward. Jim Meehan has a story on that, though there is no definitive answer to why Tillie didn’t play.

Seahawks: Just a word of caution. The NFL is notorious for its week-to-week results. How a team plays one Sunday may not resemble its play seven days later. … As Michael Dickson ran right late in the game, it was obvious he was preparing to take a safety, giving the Hawks room to kick the ball without danger to Detroit. But the Lions seemed disinterested in tackling him, so Dickson took off. He picked up a game-clinching first down. … We’ve come to this. Touchdown celebrations have their own highlights show. … David Moore should trigger a few more celebrations this season.

Sounders: There was an incredible ending to the final match and to the regular season, as Seattle scored late for a 2-1 win over San Jose. The victory lifted a team that looked to be out of the playoffs not long ago into the second seed in the West and gave the Sounders a bye into the conference semifinals. … Portland also made the playoffs (though that was already decided) but the Timbers’ loss Sunday to Vancouver means they will play their knockout-round game at Dallas on Halloween.

•••       

• When it rains this time of year, all I want to do is pull a few blankets over my head and disappear for a while. But duty calls today in the form of serving as a radio voice. Yep, I’ll be joining Dennis Patchin once more for three hours of talking. Talking about sports, actually, which is great. You can listen between 3 and 6 p.m. if you like. We’ll be at the Northern Quest casino, holding down a table at Epic and watching the enormous television set while sharing our thoughts on the weekend’s sports action. I’m sure Dennis, a Giants fan, won’t have any trouble poking my raw World Series wound. Until then …

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