Seattle Seahawks: Examining the Team's 5 Most Crucial Games This Season

Travis Wakeman@@traviswakeman10Correspondent IIAugust 29, 2012

Seattle Seahawks: Examining the Team's 5 Most Crucial Games This Season

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    To say the Seattle Seahawks have had an interesting offseason would be an understatement.

    They signed one of the top free-agent quarterbacks in Matt Flynn to a three-year deal but then drafted Russell Wilson in the third round of the draft. Earlier this week, the team named Wilson the starter for Week 1.

    They brought in veteran receivers like Antonio Bryant and Terrell Owens, but they were both let go not long after.

    The running game looks solid with Marshawn Lynch and rookie Robert Turbin, and they also have an underrated defense.

    Suddenly, the Seahawks might be a trendy dark-horse pick to make the playoffs in the NFC.

    Here is a look at five games that could make or break that potential playoff berth.

Week 1, Arizona Cardinals

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    This is a game that the Seahawks should win easily, despite it being on the road.

    The Cardinals are the only team in the league who has yet to name their starting quarterback, but when the choices are Kevin Kolb and John Skelton, does it even matter?

    What's important about this game is that Russell Wilson gets off to a good start and can ride the momentum of playing an inferior opponent.

Week 3, Green Bay Packers

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    This will be a great test for the Seahawks at home against the Packers, who are one of the favorites to reach the Super Bowl this year.

    Can the defense handle the high powered Packers passing game led by Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson?

    Will the Seahawks be a team that can get into a shootout and make enough defensive plays to win?

    These are some questions that will likely be answered in this game, and knowing that early in the season will be important.

Week 8, Detroit Lions

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    Right in the middle of the season, the 'Hawks face another perennial NFC playoff team on the road in the Detroit Lions.

    This will be another great test for the defense, as the Lions can put up points in bunches.

    Following this game, the Seahawks should have a solid barometer on how good they actually are.

Week 16, San Francisco 49ers

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    The Seahawks can't be expected to beat the 49ers on the road. After all, the Niners ran away with the NFC West in 2011, winning the division by five games.

    But when they come to Qwest Field, it could be a different story. If the Seahawks are in position to qualify for a playoff spot at this point in the season, this could be a very competitive game.

    In Week 16 last year, the Seahawks gave the 49ers all they could handle in a 19-17 loss. With something more to play for this year, the result could very easily go in their favor.

Week 17, St. Louis Rams

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    What a way to end the season this would be if the Seahawks have a shot at the playoffs...a home game against the Rams.

    With Jeff Fisher as head coach, the Rams figure to be more competitive than they were last year, but the Seahawks are still a much better team and should defeat them pretty easily.

    With other games on the schedule that include the Vikings, Jets and Dolphins, the 2012 Seahawks might be more than a dark-horse pick.

    They might be a legitimate playoff contender.