Commentary: Proper evaluation of Seahawks won’t be valid until after upcoming stretch through mid-December

Halfway into the season, the question is simple: How good are the Seahawks?

My answer: We’re about to really find out.

Believe me, a 6-2 start has been exceptional – I’m hardly complaining. We all know it’s never easy to win games against anyone in the NFL. But those six wins have come against teams that are a combined 13-31-1 this season, while the two losses have been against teams that are combined 12-3. It basically means that they’ve won the games they’ve should’ve won – and lost games against elite teams.

And it also means that the real answer to how good the Seahawks are will come over the course of the next month and a half – including a five-game stretch as tough as I can remember.

This time next Sunday – whatever happens against Tampa Bay – the Hawks will be looking at four of their next five games on the road against teams that are 26-12 this season – none of them with a losing record. The first of those games will be against an undefeated Niners team that’s had a full 11 days of rest on Monday Night Football after playing the Cardinals this Thursday.

In the words of Thomas Paine: “These are the times that try men’s souls.” And this is where we find those answers.

Are there reasons to be pessimistic? Sure. Youth in the secondary, a lack of sacks so far, injuries on the offensive line. But there’s one overriding reason to be cautiously optimistic: Not since Pete Carroll’s very first season in Seattle have the Seahawks had a losing record in the second half of a year. It’s reflective of Carroll’s emphasis on finishing. The Hawks have been 5-3 or better in the second half of seven of the last eight seasons. They find their chemistry, they grow from their mistakes, and they finish strong.

As Pete Carroll has said so many times this season in various areas of their game, “We’re just getting started.” And there’s proof in the pudding: just look at the eight years.

And I’m sure most would agree that as long as Russell Wilson stays healthy, this team has as good a chance as any to do something special. It has as good a chance as any to silence the critics who are harping on the fact that five of Seattle’s wins have come against teams with losing records.

Remember, the old adage goes, “You are what your record says you are.” And right now, the Hawks have one of the best records in the NFC.

How good they really are? I’ll be more prepared to answer that question after the game in Carolina on December 15.