Seattle Seahawks cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are one of the NFL's elite cornerback duos, but their suspensions over Adderrall have now altered the landscape of the NFL drastically.
According to Adam Schefter via Twitter, Sherman and Browner are both facing suspensions for violating the league's performance enhancing drug policy:
Filed to ESPN: Seattle CBs Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner facing 4-game suspensions for violating performance enhancing drug policy.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 25, 2012
With Browner and Sherman out, the NFL's No. 3-ranked passing defense is suddenly crippled. It's a massive loss for Seattle, but a huge gain for certain teams around the league.
The NFC playoff picture has just changed dramatically. Let's examine four NFL teams that seriously benefit from the Sherman and Browner suspensions.
While the Packers and Seattle Seahawks don't meet again this season, one can hardly forget the last time the two teams met when the Seahawks pulled off the upset and also managed to end the NFL referee lockout.
Entering its Sunday Night Football matchup with the New York Giants, Green Bay may need some help holding on to a Wild Card. With Seattle threatening for one at 6-5 and holding the tiebreaker over Green Bay, the Packers needed a little help.
Green Bay just got that help, as the Seahawks are going to have serious issues winning games without their top two cornerbacks. The Packers are now free to chase the Bears without looking over their shoulders.
The Minnesota Vikings are another team at 6-5 competing for a Wild Card position despite being behind both the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears in the NFC North.
Minnesota is a surprising postseason candidate behind second-year quarterback Christian Ponder and the surgically-repaired Adrian Peterson.
Like the Packers, the Vikings already suffered a defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks this year. With an identical record to the Seahawks, the Vikings were on the outside looking in when it comes to postseason seeding thanks to tiebreakers.
All Minnesota has to do now is take care of business while the Seahawks likely lose multiple games thanks to the suspensions, meaning the NFC North could send three teams to the postseason in 2012.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently one of the NFL's hottest teams behind quarterback Josh Freeman. At 6-5, Tampa Bay is yet another team attempting to secure a Wild Card spot with the NFC South all but locked up by the Atlanta Falcons.
That pursuit just got much easier thanks to the suspensions in Seattle.
While the Bucs don't play the Seahawks this year, the suspensions of both Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner will help. Tampa Bay has an elite offense that ranks No. 4 in the league in points scored per game, which alone should help propel the Bucs to a playoff berth.
Tampa Bay is a sleeper team that simply needed a little help to help make the postseason and make some noise. Thanks to Seattle, that's now a great possibility.
The San Francisco 49ers are currently sitting atop the NFC West with an 8-2-1 record, but the Seattle Seahawks were quietly creeping up on them.
The 49ers continue to roll no matter who their quarterback is. Whether it be Alex Smith or the inexperienced Collin Kaepernick, San Francisco continues to win big.
The same cannot be said for Seattle. Head coach Pete Carroll cannot simply plug in anyone with Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner out and expect to win.
San Francsico had a major showdown with the Seahawks looming this Week 16 in Seattle. It's a much easier task for the 49ers to go on the road and win while ruining Seattle's playoff hopes with the Seahawks top two cornerbacks missing in action.
Seattle may have ruined its chance at a NFC West title or more, but that seems like a lock for San Francisco now. Or should we say Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner ruined that for Seattle.