The Seattle Seahawks are in a position that has been far from the norm since Pete Carroll took over as head coach in 2010.
They're trying to get in the race in the NFC West instead of being with the leaders.
The Seahawks are in second place in the division with a 3-3 won-loss record going into Sunday's road game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Second place might not sound like a bad place to reside with 10 games left in the regular season, but the Seahawks are a distant second to the division-leading Los Angeles Rams.
The Rams are 7-0 and heavily favored in in a home game Sunday afternoon against the Green Bay Packers.
The Seahawks already have lost at home to the Rams – 33-31 in Week 5.
Carroll had no illusions about the situation the Seahawks face in a conference-call interview with the Detroit media on Wednesday.
The Seahawks got to .500 with a 27-3 road win over the Raiders in the game before the bye. They have to string wins together if they're going to get in the race.
Meet this weeks opponents, the Seattle Seahawks.
"It's every week now," Carroll said. "It's championship week every chance we go. The Rams are doing a great job right now. It's a long season. There's a lot of games to go. Everybody's got to get around against each other again.
"There's a lot of opportunity, but nothing matters but this week right now."
Playing catchup isn't going to be easy, but the Seahawks have some things going for them.
Carroll's tenure as head coach in Seattle has been marked by his team's ability to play tough defense and win, and he's looking to continue that pattern.
The Seahawks have lost most of the players who made up the mighty Legion of Boom defense, but they're still sixth in total defense, third in pass defense and fifth in average points allowed (19.5 per game).
And they still have quarterback Russell Wilson, a proven winner who's on the way to another good season with 13 touchdown passes against four interceptions and a passer rating of 104.8.
However, the Lions team the Seahawks face under new head coach Matt Patricia has a running game that was not a viable offensive option the last two times the Lions' faced the Seahawks – a 2015 regular-season loss, and a loss in the 2016 playoffs.
The Lions did not score an offensive touchdown in either game.
"You can see them just coming to life so clearly under Matt," Carroll said. "And it's a nice looking team right now."
Carroll began his tenure with the Seahawks as a winner – a modest one, at that – with a 7-9 record and the NFC West title in 2010. The Seahawks also won a first-round playoff game.
The Seahawks have made the playoffs six times in eight seasons under Carroll. That includes a division title with a 7-9 record in 2010.
From 2012-17 they had six straight winning records, five straight seasons with double-digit wins and playoff appearances and three division titles. They missed the postseason last year with a 9-7 record.
The 2013 team won the Super Bowl, and the 2014 team lost to the Patriots in the championship game.
The Seahawks were ranked No. 1 in the league in defense in both of those Super Bowl seasons, and they've been in the top five five times.
It's not a coincidence that the Seahawks would be built on the strength of their defense, regardless of turnover in players or changes in his staff. Carroll is a career defensive coach, both in college and previous NFL stops as either an assistant or head coach.
"I've been on that side of the ball for a long time," he said. "Going back to our college days, it was really one of the drumbeats of the whole program, was how you play defense.
"It's always been a huge emphasis for us, and we've always counted on it to be a big part of our formula."
Seahawks personnel dept.: Pro Bowl linebacker K.J. Wright and tight end Ed Dixson have begun practice after missing the first six games with injuries. Barring a setback in practice, it looks like both players will make their season debut against the Lions.
The Seahawks had an extra day of work on Monday because of the bye and began their regular practice schedule Wednesday.
"We got a day in on Monday – some extra work," Carroll said. "Both those guys looked really good. If they're able to sustain and recover through the day's work each day, they have a chance to play.
"We're counting on those guys to play."