A rookie QB. Young, unproven players on both sides of the ball. An 0-3 division record to date.
In spite of this, the Seattle Seahawks are my pick of the NFC west. Their young talent has grown exponentially in the first ten weeks and going into the bye week they are showing exceptional promise. Behind the smashmouth running style of veteran running back, Marshawn Lynch, their stellar, hard-hitting defense, and the enthusiastic leadership of coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks are poised to take control of a playoff seat and likely wreak havoc on the NFC playoff picture. Bolstered by positive gains each week and the steady support of the 12th man, Seattle is not so big a surprise as most people would think. Let me explain.
1) Marshawn Lynch, also known for his fondness of Skittles, is one of the premiere backs in the league. He has made a name for himself in Seattle that has overshadowed all of his past antics. Following a legendary run that solidified a shocking playoff win against the New Orleans Saints in January 2011, Lynch has continued to force the issue against every defense he faces. This year, Lynch has racked up over 1,000 yards in ten games and shows no signs of slowing. Averaging 4.7 yards per carry, Marshawn Lynch excels at wearing down a defense with his relentless drive.
2) Russell Wilson is a rookie and a third round draft pick at that but he shows poise, determination, and a leadership ability to rival the QBs taken before him. In spite of the slow and somewhat disappointing start to the season, Wilson has chosen to learn from his mistakes and improve from week one’s 153 yard, one touchdown and one interception performance. Over the last five games he has thrown ten touchdowns with only two picks leading the Seahawks to three wins and two close losses. His quarterback rating has steadily improved from 73.5 in September to 90.4 in October to a stunning 130.1 in November. Wilson’s growing pains have motivated an already hungry crowd and earned the respect of his team. With weapons like veteran receivers Sidney Rice and Golden Tate, Wilson’s stats can only improve making the Seahawks a dangerous team down the stretch.
3) Defense, defense, defense. The Seahawks have compiled a deadly combination of defensive powerhouses who choose to play as a team. Seattle has the fourth ranked overall defense in the NFL, behind a 6-3 Pittsburgh Steelers team, an 8-1 Houston Texans team, and the 6-2-1 San Fransisco 49ers (who have yet to play the Seahawks in Seattle). With 28 sacks and 9 INTs, the Seahawks have been punishing offenses all year. Earl Thomas, a third year player who made the All Pro team and was voted into the Pro Bowl last year, has taken on a leadership role like a second skin. Rookie Defensive End, Bruce Irvin has added seven sacks and is simply explosive. Sophomore cornerback, Richard Sherman has also come on surprisingly strong solidifying his place as one of the most dynamic players at his position- just ask Tom Brady.
4) 12th Man. No other team in the NFL honors their fans like the Seattle Seahawks do. No other team in the NFL can say their fans caused an earthquake in their stadium (January 2011 Seahawks vs. Saints playoff game). The fans in Seattle are completely unique and utterly devoted to their Seahawks. They repeatedly cause false starts – the most in the NFL over the last five years and a little rain doesn’t dampen their spirit at all. Arguably, Seahawks fans give their team the best home field advantage in the NFL.
5) Schedule. The Seahawks have three home games and three away games remaining after their bye week. Heading out to a warm Miami after a week off, the Seahawks will be well rested against a flaky Dolphins team. After that they face more of a challenge in Chicago but with Cutler nursing a concussion they may not have as much difficulty as one would expect. Week fifteen brings their last away game against the hapless Buffalo Bills who haven’t found an identity this season. That leaves three home games – all division rivalries. It is unlikely that the Cardinals (4-5), 49ers (6-2-1) or the Rams (3-5-1) can duplicate their prior success against the Seahawks given the arguments noted above. They will be facing a much different team this time around. The 49ers struggled against the Rams and have given up a 100 yard rusher in three of their past four games (Lynch had one of them), a stat that likely has Marshawn Lynch buying his weight in Skittles. The Rams cannot pull anything together long enough to secure a respectable win and the Cardinals are falling apart at the seams and will likely face the Seahawks with a losing record.
The Seahawks are in second place in the NFC West with the chance of taking the division provided they finish ahead of the 49ers who still have a tough road ahead including games in New Orleans, St. Louis, Seattle, and New England. If they keep moving in this direction, the Seahawks are set to soar into the playoffs.
The city of Seattle had better prepare for earthquake season.
Trace Broyles is an avid football fan and long time fantasy football participant. After her first Notre Dame game at age five, Trace has embraced the excitement of NCAA and NFL football. When not watching the Houston Texans and Fighting Irish on the weekends, Ms. Broyles spends her time writing. She has authored the kindle best selling urban fantasy Emerald Seer Series (under the pen name Violet Patterson) and the young adult epic fantasy novel, Estelan with a sequel set for 2013 release. For more on her novels, visit http://creatingestelan.blogspot.com/ and http://emeraldseer.blogspot.com/.
Mom, Author (Emerald Seer Series, Estelan, and many more to come), Baker, Avid Football Fan and so much more.This author has published 1 articles so far.