Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is expected to undergo surgery on a sports hernia Wednesday morning, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, leaving Seattle’s playoff hopes in serious peril.
Lynch is expected to miss home games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns sandwiched around road contests against the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens. The hope is he returns for NFC West battles against the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals to finish the regular season.
The two-time defending NFC champions trail the Cardinals by three games in the division and currently sit on the outside looking into the conference’s playoff picture. While Thomas Rawls performed exceedingly well in Lynch’s absence this past Sunday, rushing for 209 yards in Seattle’s 29-13 victory against the San Francisco 49ers, Lynch has been the bell-cow for a Super Bowl contender since arriving in 2010.
Given that the Atlanta Falcons currently hold the second wild-card spot with a 6-4 record, the Seahawks are far from eliminated, but the next two weeks could determine their future. A win against either the Steelers or Vikings sans Lynch would leave them at 6-6 heading into a two-game stretch against the Ravens and Browns before needing a win over either the Rams or Cardinals to make the playoffs at 9-7. That’s right: A 9-7 team could make the playoffs as a wild-card in the same year a sub-.500 team could emerge as a division winner in the NFC East. (And, yes, even the Dallas Cowboys still have a chance.)
Should Rawls emerge as a viable option in full-time duty, Lynch’s future in Seattle becomes cloudy, since he turns 30 in April and is due $16 million over the next two seasons. Lynch has dealt with back problems throughout his Seahawks tenure, but missed just one game in four previous seasons. He’s already missed three this year, and Rawls has rushed for 426 yards and two touchdowns on 70 carries in those contests, leading Seattle to a 2-1 record. Granted, those wins came against the 49ers and Detroit Lions.
Listen to Yahoo Sports’ Grandstanding podcast for more:
– – – – – – –
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Marshawn Lynch
- Ian Rapoport
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Arizona Cardinals
- Cleveland Browns
- Thomas Rawls