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The defending Super Bowl champs are currently 10-4 with two games remaining. The Seattle Seahawks have not played well all season. After six games, the team was 3-3 and coming off of back-to-back losses to Dallas and St. Louis. Analysts were ready to push the panic button but boy have they turned things around. Since then, head coach Pete Carroll has led the team to seven victories in the team’s last eight games.

The Seahawks’ last four games have been particularly impressive. They have won all of them against teams in the playoff hunt. Seattle took on the Arizona Cardinals week 12 and dominated. The final score was 19-3 but it does not represent the dominance. Arizona gained a total of only 204 yards. The Cardinals offense made it into Seattle’s territory three times, only scoring points once. Seattle’s defense controlled the game from start to finish without allowing the Cards offense to get anything started.

 

Seattle’s next game was on Thanksgiving and they had a short week to prepare for their division rivals, the San Francisco 49ers. Both teams entered this game at 7-4 with this game having division and wildcard implications down the road. From the opening kickoff, Seattle just owned the game. When the Niners had the ball, quarterback Colin Kaepernick didn’t look comfortable in the pocket. He usually had time to make throws, but couldn’t find open receivers. Kaepernick ended up being forced out of the pocket and having to throw on the run. He completed only 55% of his passes for 100 yards and threw two interceptions. Seattle only managed to score one touchdown but with the smothering defense, that’s all the team needed.

The Seahawks continued their win streak when they flew across the country to take on the Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia’s backup quarterback Mark Sanchez was just no match for a superior defense. Sanchez looked like a backup quarterback after having some good games before that. He completed exactly 50% of his passes for 82 yards. In terms of the Eagles’ receiving core, the leading receiver was Zach Ertz who totaled 39 yards (one of which was a 35 yard touchdown reception). Not only was the Seattle secondary able to shut down Philly’s number one receiver Jeremy Maclin, they shut everyone down. The Eagles offense was just stagnant. Philadelphia was forced to punt the ball eight times. That’s more than they’ve had to punt in any game this season. But the Eagles managed to only lose 24-14. The Seattle defense just dominated this game and the offense did its job and executed the game plan to perfection: keep the Eagles offense off the field. The Eagles offense only had the ball for 18 minutes and 4 seconds.

Seattle’s most recent game was this past weekend when they faced off against the 49ers. The Seahawks were heavy favorites going into the game because San Francisco has not been playing well whatsoever. This was a brutal hard-hitting game. It was ground and pound style football. Both teams rushed for more yards than they threw for in the game. Seattle didn’t dominate the game the way they had previously, and this game felt like a close game throughout but they still came away with a win. The win was a sweet one as it eliminated the 49ers from playoff contention.


The Seahawks currently sit in the 5th seed in the NFC, but they are in a great position. With two games left, Seattle actually controls its own destiny. Their final two games are at Arizona and then at home against St. Louis. The Arizona game is huge for both teams. The Cardinals have not been the same since quarterback Carson Palmer tore his ACL, and then backup QB Drew Stanton also went down with a season-ending injury. They are currently using their third string quarterback Ryan Lindley. Lindley stands no chance whatsoever against the Seattle defense.
 

Arizona sits one game above Seattle in the standings. If Seattle wins, they have identical records with Seattle owning the tiebreaker. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities that Seattle ends up with the top spot. If the Seahawks get home field advantage throughout the playoffs, they will go on to the Super Bowl, without a doubt. It is also reasonable to assume that Green Bay could get home field advantage. The Packers have not lost a game at home all season. Most playoff teams don’t even stand a chance playing at Lambeau Field. In fact, Seattle is probably the only team that could stand a chance playing against the Packers in Green Bay.
The Seahawks play a unique style of football. In a league that is more about offenses putting points on the board instead of defenses keeping points off the board, Seattle plays differently. The NFL has become a throwing league. Quarterbacks need to be able to throw the ball down the field. They need to put up huge numbers. Seattle’s team is centered around its defense. The Seahawks’ defense is smothering. They have averaged to give up 6.75 points per game in its last four games. The defense averages to give up only 184.3 passing yards per game this season, which is best in the league.


 

In terms of the Seahawks’ offense, they also are atypical. Seattle is a run-first offense, which is not very common anymore. Running back Marshawn Lynch is a key player for the offense. He is a power runner that will not go down. Lynch is probably the most determined runner, always fighting for an extra yard. The offense currently leads the league averaging a little less than 170 yards a game. The run game sets up the passing game for Seattle, although it usually is the other way around. When the running game is working, defenses will put more men near the line of scrimmage allowing for big plays down the field.
 

When Seattle’s run game is going well, it allows the offense to operate at a high level. Quarterback Russell Wilson utilizes play action and the option. He is one of the best quarterbacks at making plays from nothing. Wilson can run, throw on the move, and is just a good decision maker. Some may label Wilson as a “game manager”, but no one can doubt his ability to make plays happen and his decision-making.
 

The team currently ranks 31st in the league in passing yards per game. Seattle averages 193 passing yards a game. In comparison, the Colts lead the league and they average 311 passing yards a game. Seattle lacks depth at the receiver position. This past offseason, the Seahawks top receiver Golden Tate left for Detroit. Veteran receiver Sydney Rice retired. During the season, Seattle traded away Percy Harvin who was so much more than just a wide receiver. Doug Baldwin leads Seattle with 56 receptions for 669 yards. His receiving yards are good for 48th overall in the league. Just to compare, the New Orleans Saints have three receivers who all have over 700 receiving yards.

Seattle’s offense is good enough to put enough points on the board. The Seahawks will not play at a fast pace. They will slow a game down and control the tempo. Seattle is my personal pick to end up winning the NFC West, gaining a bye, and winning the NFC Championship Game. I also expect them to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. (P.S. I also expect the Seahawks to draft an offensive player in the first round, possibly trading up for a running back like Melvin Gordon from Wisconsin if Lynch retires in the offseason or receiver Devin Funchess from the University of Michigan if he doesn’t.)

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