I have been an avid sports fan, and specifically a Seattle sports fan, for over 40 years and I have never seen, heard, felt, or experienced the enthusiastic anticipation of the coming Seattle Seahawk NFL season. It’s as if the team has already won a Super Bowl Championship and we’re all just reveling in the euphoria. But let’s be perfectly clear, the Seahawks haven’t done squat yet. However, I have no desire to pop this still inflating balloon. I too think my team will make it to the ultimate sporting event in frigid, frozen New York City next February, and they will beat whoever the AFC offers up as its sacrificial lamb for slaughter to the clearly superior NFC. But first things first. The football team that calls my city its practice home must first win its own division. Should it do so an NFL Championship is something that I feel is almost a foregone conclusion. However, ending the season with a better record than San Francisco’s 49ers, St Louis’s Rams, and Arizona’s Cardinals is not a foregone conclusion. In fact, I’m not completely sure it will happen.
All of the Emerald City is enjoying the numerous jokes made at the expense of the Bay area team, and is clearly in full-hate-mode over the Niner’s Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. The non-NFL Seattle fan is oblivious to how very, very good S.F. is, and what an exceptional coach the former University of Michigan Quarterback actually is. San Fran played in last year’s Super Bowl. They didn’t blow a lead in a playoff game they took with only 30-seconds left in the game. Seattle did. The fact is the 49ers came 3-points and a late 4th quarter goal-line stand from Baltimore from the largest Super Bowl comeback win in history. They feel they should have won and they will be hungry to get back to where they came up so close, but lost.
Quick; which of the four teams in Seattle’s NFC West Division had the best record within the division. Would it surprise you to know it wasn’t the division champion 49ers, or the Wildcard playoff entrant, second place Seahawks. Under first year Coach Jeff Fischer the St. Louis Rams finished 4-1-1 against S.F., Seattle and Arizona. Their 7-9 record was a huge leap from the 2-win (2-14) team of 2011. St Louis still has former Heisman Trophy winner (and AdvoCare endorser) Sam Bradford at QB. But for the first time in his short career he has someone to throw to. With their first round draft pick this year Fischer chose the best receiver in the draft in Tavon Austin. Austin has crazy speed (4.2 time in the 40) and electric moves. He’ll also help the Rams return game. Fischer is a very good coach, and with one year under his tutelage the Rams will be better…how much better remains to be seen.
The Arizona Cardinals are probably the 4th place team in this division, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be formidable. Many think the Cardinals new QB, Carson Palmer, is too old and past his prime when he was in Cincinnati. I’m not so sure. He managed to throw for over 4000-yards last year for a horrible Oakland team. And now he has Larry Fitzgerald to throw the ball to. Arizona also improved its weak offensive line in the draft and added the Honey Badger to its defense.
The key to a Super Bowl trip for Seattle will be winning the division, like they did in 2005, the only other time the Northwest’s team went to the Championship spectacle. Win the division and secure the 1st or 2nd best record in the NFC and Seattle needs only win 2 playoff games to win the NFC Crown. And they would have at least 1 playoff game at CenturyLink Field where they do not lose. They didn’t all last year.
Fail to secure the 1st or 2nd best record in the conference and Seattle needs 3 playoff wins to make it to the Super Bowl, with the likelihood that all will be on the road; not an unprecedented achievement, but certainly a lot tougher. Besides, given their sky-high expectations, if Seattle doesn’t have the 1st or 2nd best record in the conference four months from now I will assume that something has gone wrong, perhaps an injury to Russell Wilson or a defensive line that can still not put enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks; making a 3 game run to the Super Bowl less likely.
Seattle has everything it needs to win now, even with one of the youngest rosters in the league. They will continue to pound the ball with Marshawn Lynch leading the way. And running the ball wins playoff games…and a lot of regular season games too. They finally have a All Pro potential quarterback in the exciting Wilson. Remember, he was in a quarterback competition all through training camp last year and was severely restricted in play calling by Pete Carroll last year. He’ll be even better this year. A defense that allowed the fewest points in the NFL last year allowed the fewest points in the NFL during the just concluded preseason. And defense wins championships.
In looking at the Seahawks schedule I expect an improvement from their 11-5 record last year to either 12-4 or 13-3. Please…let go of the fantasy of an undefeated season as I’ve heard far too many people throw-about as a possibility on Seattle sports radio stations. An undefeated regular season should never be a goal. Just ask the 2007 New England Patriots how helpful it was for them. Only road games in Atlanta, Houston, San Francisco, and possibly St. Louis would I predict at this early stage as losses. Though Seattle could win any or all of them. But games I now predict as wins could be losses too. Games against Carolina in Charlotte, the Colts in Indianapolis, and home games against the Vikings and Saints won’t be easy. Lose those games along with the ones I expect and this dream of a Super Bowl season will come crashing down to a non-playoff mediocre 8-8 season…just like the 1985 Seahawks who were also being talked about as Super Bowl contenders. See…it can happen. I repeat Seattle hasn’t won anything…yet. But they will. I predict. Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.
- ESPN: Seahawks No. 1 in first NFL power rankings of 2013 (q13fox.com)
- The Eight Tiers of Super Bowl Contention (fantasticfore.wordpress.com)
- Hawks won’t come out of the blue (thenewstribune.com)
- One of These 5 NFL Teams is GUARANTEED to Win the Super Bowl This Year (tmrzoo.com)
- Sports Illustrated: Seahawks will win NFC West (seattlepi.com)
- 2013 NFL Season Preview – NFC West (sportsfanplayground.wordpress.com)
- Broncos, 49ers, Favorites To Win The Super Bowl (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- Arians: NFC West not all 49ers, Seahawks (espn.go.com)
- Tom Oates: Which teams are the NFL’s best? Time to fire up the prediction machine (host.madison.com)
- 2013 St. Louis Rams Predictions (touthouse.com)
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