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Pete Carroll has provided fodder for critics with certain personnel decisions (Tarvaris Jackson, Russel Wilson, possibly Bruce Irvin), but the bulk of his moves might give him the last laugh.
As SI.com's Chris Burke pointed out, the Seattle Seahawks ended the season with a 5-1 record over their last six games. As the Detroit Lions proved last year, that type of momentum can instill confidence heading into the offseason.
However, there will be a large change from last year's team. Matt Flynn will earn the starting quarterback spot, which will improve the entire starting lineup.
Seattle could really use Mike Williams and Sidney Rice to regain their 2010 skills. As for running back, they have one in Marshawn Lynch who has a mode that few others have.
The defense has a few questions marks, but their draft picks (Irvin and Bobby Wagner) could fill some important holes.
Seattle's schedule is the most favorable factor in their return to the postseason.
The Lions and Chicago Bears have to play each other and the Green Bay Packers a total of four times each. The NFC East squads also have to deal with each other.
By comparison, the NFC West offers the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals. That's a rather large advantage for Seattle.