by Curtis Crabtree
RENTON - The Seattle Seahawks wrapped up at least the No. 5 seed in the NFC with their 42-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night.
But the Seahawks know the NFC West division title is still a possibility with some help from the 49ers if Seattle can knock off the St. Louis Rams next Sunday in the regular season finale.
As long as the possibility is still out there, the Seahawks are going to go after it.
"My goal has never been the playoffs. I’ve never talked that way. They’ve never heard me say that. It’s try to win the division, because that puts you in the playoffs at home," head coach Pete Carroll said.
"That’s what you want. When the second season starts, you want to position yourself in the best spot that you can get in. We never said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get in the playoffs.’ I’ve never thought that. That isn’t good enough. You’ve got to go farther than that. You’ve got to do something with it when you get there. The best way to do that is start out at home if you can. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it but it’s the best way. So that’s what we shoot for."
With all three games with playoff implications for Seattle kicking off at the same time next Sunday, the Seahawks won't know if they have been eliminated from the race for the division before the game gets underway. Green Bay at Minnesota, Arizona at San Francisco and St. Louis at Seattle all kickoff at 1 p.m. next week. Green Bay, San Francisco and Seattle each still have something to play for in regards to their seeding. All three can still earn a first round bye depending on the results of these games and Seattle and San Francisco can each win the division title.
Carroll praised the play of CB Jeremy Lane and CB Byron Maxwell, who have been forced to step into bigger roles due to the suspension of CB Brandon Browner and injuries at the position. Carroll said they are playing better than even he imagined they could.
"They really are, they have really come through well," Carroll said. "They’re athletic, so I knew that they would athletically be okay, but they have played very consistent and stayed on top on the deep balls."
Carroll said they emerged from the game fairly healthy with only a few issues. He said LB Leroy Hill has a hamstring injury that needs to be looked at. He also said Hill's backup, LB Malcolm Smith, might have a groin issue as well. It's something they need to check out.
If neither would be available to play, LB Mike Morgan would be the backup at the weakside linebacker spot.
Carroll said WR Sidney Rice and DE Red Bryant came out of the game feeling better. Rice had been dealing with a foot bruise and a knee injury heading into last week's game. Bryant has been dealing with a plantar fascia injury in his foot.
CB Marcus Trufant is expected to return to practice on Wednesday from a hamstring strain that has kept him out the last four games. Carroll said they still weren't sure if CB Walter Thurmond would be able to practice Wednesday. He has missed the last two games with a hamstring strain as well.
The Seahawks activated S Winston Guy to the active roster Monday and waived WR Deon Butler.
Guy has received a one week roster exemption after serving a four week suspension for a violation of the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. Seattle had until Monday to make a decision on Guy and did activate him to the 53-man roster.
Butler was signed last Saturday before the team's 50-17 win over the Buffalo Bills in Toronto. He was not active for the game but did play sparingly in Sunday night's 42-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers.