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Mike Ferreri: Stress builds as Hawks' regular season finale looms

Mike Ferreri: Stress builds as Hawks' regular season finale looms
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is seen warming up before the game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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The pregame angst heading toward Sunday's regular season finale for the Seahawks is palpable in the Northwest.

Seahawks fans are worried, Sunday's loss to the Cardinals at CenturyLink was unexpected - and for a fan base that hasn't witnessed a home loss in nearly two years, it was hard to swallow.

The Seahawks players aren't dwelling on the loss - they can't. There is a bigger, more important game this week against the Rams with an NFC Western Division title and home field advantage in the playoffs on the line.

"There's never any worries," said Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. "We have a great ball club, we have a great team. We expect each other to play better than we did on Sunday and we will."

If history is any indication, Sherman is right. The Seahawks haven't lost at home to the Rams since 2004. And they haven't lost consecutive division games in 11 years. But the Rams come to Seattle with the sole intent of disrupting the Seahawks postseason plans. They've been eliminated from playoff contention, but that won't stop them from trying to have a say in how things shake out with the NFC playoff picture.

"We know that St. Louis is gonna come out and try to ruin our season. We're going to have to have a great week of practice, but we're very confident," said Seahawks receiver Golden Tate.

The Seahawks and Rams last met on Oct. 28 in St. Louis. The Seahawks barely snuck out of the Gateway City with a 14-9 win that included a goal line stand at the end of the game. The Seahawks offense wasn't very good in that game, gaining just 135 yards of total offense, and 80 of those yards came on a TD pass from Russell Wilson to Golden Tate.

In that game the Seahawks didn't have starting tackles Breno Giacomini or Russell Okung. This time they will - and they'll need to be ready for a vicious Rams pass rush that includes defensive end Robert Quinn. Quinn leads the NFL with 18 sacks, 3 of them against the Seahawks back in October.

In the midst of all that defensive pressure he'll face against the Rams on Sunday, Russell Wilson will have to rebound after his worst game as a pro.

Wilson wasn't making excuses this week for his play against the Cardinals that saw him complete only 11 of 27 passes for a season-low 108 yards.

"Sometimes you just have a bad day, you know," he says. "Sometimes your days are great, sometimes you're good and sometimes you just have one or two bad days in there. Hopefully you get rid of those days, you know - it's the whole baseball analogy, sometimes you go 0 for 5, but you keep swinging."

Wilson was at the Seahawks practice facility at 4:15 a.m. Monday. He couldn't sleep and had to figure out what went wrong against the Cardinals. His sole mission: how to move forward and get better in a week where so much is riding on this final regular season game against St. Louis.

"Sometimes you just need to get to work and that way you can put it away and move on to the next opportunity," said Wilson.

Once again this week - like the Seahawks have said every week this season about every game - it's another championship opportunity. It really is this week - except this one comes with major playoff implications. And that should make you nervous.
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