NFC Playoffs: Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks

With a first-round bye they await the lowest seed that is victorious in the opening weekend of the playoffs, and at the top spot in the NFC they have home-field advantage up to the Super Bowl. The friendly confines of the 12th man have supported a strong team to a 7-1 home record, en route to a share of the best record in the NFL at 13-3. The situation looming over the offense all year has been the status of prized offseason acquisition, Percy Harvin. A Pro Bowl receiver and return man, Harvin has only played in one game for the Seahawks and I fully expect him to suit up for the remaining games.

Running Back Marshawn Lynch is the engine that makes the offense go, behind a strong offensive line. My focus will be on quarterback Russell Wilson, the poised dual-threat has played remarkable in both seasons under center. It will be interesting to see how defenses game plan against him, mainly by stacking the box and forcing them to pass. What goes hand in hand, is funneling his running lanes to the middle of the field where signal callers are open to more hits, some they don’t see coming. It’s difficult to contain his ability to use his legs, especially when playing man defense on his targets, but you have to challenge their ability to gain separation. That’s probably the defense’s best bet, either force Wilson to make throws on the money or allow him to run as much as he wants.

This is the best unit in the game, constant pressure up front that basically lives in the backfield. Richard Sherman is the best cornerback in the game today, he and safety Earl Thomas are both Defensive Player of the Year candidates. The linebacking core hunts from sideline to sideline, but they crave to shoot the gaps downhill and invade the backfield. This defense can and does put points on the scoreboard, not only do they get to the quarterback without blitzing but they get coverage sacks too. Whatever you’ve heard about this D is probably true, and the next man up motto has worked out pretty well since losing cornerback Brandon Browner to injury then suspension. Although it took all game to do so, Arizona beat them in their house with a deep ball to their second receiver against an inexperienced cornerback.

Distractions come with being a winning team, as coordinators and position coaches get interviewed by other non-playoff franchises for their coaching vacancies. Simply put, everyone wants to become a winner and one option is to add personnel from a successful unit. Concerning Seattle, they have several coaches that have earned opportunities on both sides of the ball: offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, offensive line and assistant head coach Tom Cable, and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

Now isn’t the time to bring all that outside stuff into the locker room and environment, because the Seahawks are the favorite to win the NFC and the Lombardi Trophy. I do believe they were the class of the NFC and NFL in the regular season, and they certainly have some experience under their belt. I’m skeptical on just how good Wilson has been, nearly flawless, and although the return of Harvin will add another dimension to the offense they lack the game speed reps. For some reason I’m choosing the field to knock out goliath to represent the NFC in the big game.