By Dave Thomas

For the Seattle Seahawks, the bye week comes at just the right time. Winners of two straight games, the Seahawks could use the week off to heal a few wounds, work on some new plays and get themselves ready for the first of three straight homes games, beginning with a visit on Nov. 15 from division rival and NFC West-leading Arizona.

Seattle (4-4), which began the season with a pair of tough losses on the road to St. Louis (34-31 in overtime) and Green Bay (27-17), respectively, has since rebounded to go 4-2 in its last six games. The last two contests were victories on the road at San Francisco (20-3) and Dallas (13-12), respectively.

NFC West Still Up For Grabs

With Seattle only two games back of Arizona (6-2) in the NFC West, not to mention the fact that the two teams will meet next week and again on Jan. 3 in Arizona, the Seahawks have a great opportunity to pull back into the division race, perhaps even take it over come later next month. On the flip side, losing at home next Sunday night to the Cardinals would give the latter a three-game lead, something the Seahawks could have trouble overcoming when all is said and done.

So, where are the areas that Seattle most needs to heal during this week off?

For starters, running back Marshawn Lynch needs to put behind him this season’s calf and hamstring injuries, allowing him to have a big second half of the season. While Lynch is still one of the league’s top threats coming out of the backfield, the aforementioned injuries have definitely hampered him through eight games.

With Lynch missing two starts and the second half of the team’s home opener win over Chicago, rookie Thomas Rawls has emerged as a threat for the Seahawks. Through eight games, Rawls narrowly leads the team in rushing with 376 yards on 69 attempts, while Lynch has rushed for 375 yards on 103 carries. Rawls, who has also battled the injury bug in recent games, provides Seattle with a nice 1-2 punch, especially if opposing defenses are concentrating on shutting down Lynch.

Meantime, the Seahawks have had some health issues on the offensive line, something that undoubtedly has contributed to quarterback Russell Wilson being sacked 20 times in eight games. In order to keep Wilson upright and allowing for holes for Rawls and Lynch, better and healthier offensive play in the second portion of the season will be crucial.

Lastly, while he is out for the remainder of the season, some good news came later in the week that wide receiver Ricardo Lockette had officially been released from a Dallas hospital following surgery to repair damage in his neck.

Lockette, who was injured in last weekend’s game against the Cowboys, will not be able to contribute on the field again this season for the Blue and Green, but you can bet his return to the team in a cheering capacity will lift up the spirits of his teammates as they go after their third consecutive NFC title.

Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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