Despite Booger McFarland’s shortcomings on Monday Night Football, inconsistent performances by the referees, and the constant sideshow that is Antonio Brown, The NFL might have one of its most competitive races in years. Because of that, some teams are getting underestimated despite having magnificent seasons and Super Bowl talent throughout their rosters. One of those teams is the Seattle Seahawks, who are seeing one of their best seasons since their Super Bowl run during Russell Wilson’s breakout into the NFL. And there’s one reason the Seahawks could be the team to beat in the NFC. (All records through Week 14 of the NFL season).
The NFC seems wide open
The race for the NFC is wide open. The AFC remains the Patriots’ to lose, but even in an NFC that has constantly seen its top teams shuffle, the race is especially close for several teams.
Outside of the NFC East, which is currently led by the 6-7 Dallas Cowboys, who hold the tie-breaker over the Philadelphia Eagles, the other divisions are led by possible contenders.
The Packers, under first-year coach Matt LaFleur, and Saints lead their respective divisions with 10-3 records, although the Minnesota Vikings at 9-4 could bypass the Packers. The Saints have been one of the most surprising teams in the NFL, revitalizing Teddy Bridgewater after Brees went down and remaining dominant when Brees came back. The Packers, on the other hand, have had a knack for winning when it matters under Aaron Rodgers’ MVP-caliber season.
The Seahawks trail the 49ers by a single game in the NFC West, but they handed the 49ers the first loss of the season in an overtime thriller and could make it up when the teams rematch later in the season. The third-place team, the Los Angeles Rams, sits at 8-5, meaning that they would currently lead the struggling NFC East.
Should Russell Wilson and the Seahawks be the favorites?
The top of the NFC is a tight cluster featuring the 49ers, Packers, Saints, Seahawks, and Vikings. But there’s one reason the NFC’s spot in the Super Bowl could be Seattle’s to lose.
Russell Wilson might be the best quarterback in the NFC this season. While Aaron Rodgers has a stake in the argument and Drew Brees has been great when healthy, it is Wilson who has seen the most consistent success this season. After failing to get back to the Super Bowl past his initial success, Wilson has reinvigorated his game, thrown with greater accuracy than he has in years, and he has shown an ability to stay calm under pressure.
The playoffs are a different animal. While Brees or Rodgers could be a threat to Wilson, other possible competitors such as Jimmy Garoppolo, Kirk Cousins, and Dak Prescott do not have the playoff experience that is often needed to beat more experienced adversaries. That isn’t a universal truth, as Wilson proved when he was a rookie, but experience historically trumps youth. Russell Wilson is playing at a level that even the most experienced could struggle against.
In addition to Russell Wilson, Seahawks’ depth is another asset
While Russell Wilson is the face of the franchise, Seattle’s depth is another reason that they should be the favorites to win it.
Chris Carson’s running the ball at a star level, while Tyler Lockett is getting the ball into the end zone with 874 receiving yards and six touchdowns. D.K. Metcalf is also providing the offense with a needed spark, while Will Dissly, Jacob Hollister, David Moore, Jaron Brown, and even Josh Gordon are adding value in smaller roles.
On defense, Jadeveon Clowney is providing much-needed toughness to the unit. Bobby Wagner is leading the tackling side of things with 129 combined tackles and 72 of his own. K.J. Wright, Tre Flowers Mychal Kendricks, and Shaquill Griffin are all doing their parts to keep teams out of the endzone.
Can the Seahawks do it?
All it takes is one off game for the Seahawks to take every advantage they have and throw it out the window. The Russell Wilson Seahawks have seen their fair share of success, but they have also seen their fair share of failure. As the season winds down, the last thing that the Seahawks can afford to do is act like they belong in the Super Bowl. If they can keep it up, however, the Seahawks could be on top of the NFC once again.