SEATTLE – It wasn’t that long ago that nobody had a good thing to say about the Seattle Seahawks.
They were sucking wind. Their invincibility factor had vanished. Seattle wasn’t Seattle anymore.
Things were so bad that Seattle safety Earl Thomas felt compelled to make the following statement: “We don’t suck.”
Of course, that was all fair criticism at the time; the Seahawks were losing, and there was very little in those losses that made people think they’d start winning consistently.
It’s amazing what winning six of your last seven games will do for your reputation. Suddenly, the Seahawks are regarded as perhaps the most feared team in the NFC – if not the whole NFL.
And that’s despite coming into the playoffs as a No. 6 seed.
Rolling Stone writes that the Seahawks quickly buried any doubts raised after their weird loss to St. Louis the week before, and that quarterback Russell Wilson proved “he belongs with the best of the best.”
“It seems that Pete Carroll's squad has repaired its soul again and is headed into the playoffs as perhaps the most dangerous team in the league, with a wild-card matchup against the Minnesota Vikings (a team they beat 38-7 just one month ago) up next.”
But looking past their lowly seeding, the Seahawks have the potential to be an extremely dangerous team. Seattle stumbled out of the gate at 2-4 this season. But two of the losses came in overtime, and the others were by 4 and 10 points. Since then they are 8-2, capped by a 36-6 blowout of the second-seeded Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Seattle’s numbers do not look like those of a typical sixth seed. Russell Wilson finished the year with the top passer rating in the league, and continues to be an elite rusher. Doug Baldwin caught 14 touchdowns to tie for the league lead. The third-round pick Tyler Lockett led in combined return yards. (Though he is out for the season with a broken ankle, the undrafted rookie running back Thomas Rawls also ranked first in yards per rush.)
They are among a handful of teams that can win the Super Bowl. In 15 of the Seahawks' 16 games, they held a lead at some point in the fourth quarter. This is a hard team to put away, and the Seahawks have played their best football down the stretch. The passing game is clicking better than it has at any point since Wilson has been the quarterback. And the defense answered some questions with its performance in the first half against Carson Palmer and the prolific Cardinals. The ground game is a question and the injuries are worth monitoring, but the Seahawks look like a serious threat to make a run.
There are four playoff time slots. Three involve the Seahawks playing at a “normal” time. One would necessitate them playing at 1 p.m. on the east coat, 10 a.m. on the west. Guess which one they got? This is pretty lame considering that the alternative — giving Seattle one of the other time slots — would have been so easy. Just flip-flop the Packers-Redskins game (4:40 p.m. ET) with the Seahawks game and bingo-bango this whole thing is taken care of. Then Seattle doesn’t get the disadvantage of playing in the morning and Seattle’s Sunday brunch industry doesn’t have to take a football-related hit.