NFC Playoffs: Seattle Seahawks Will Fall Short of the Super Bowl
After Sunday night’s convincing 42-13 victory over division rival San Francisco, Seattle may be the hottest team in the NFL right now. In their last three wins, the Seahawks have outscored their opponents 150-30.
With a playoff spot already locked up and the possibility of a division title still on the line, Seattle is peaking at the right time. Some are considering head coach Pete Carroll’s young team as Super Bowl favorites in the NFC.
While it is true that the Seahawks are legit contenders out of the NFC, I do not see Seattle making it to the Super Bowl this season.
Here is how I see the NFC playoff seeds and playoffs playing out.
Atlanta has already locked up the No. 1 seed.
Green Bay will beat Minnesota this week and clinch the No. 2 seed.
San Francisco will beat Arizona and earn the No. 3 seed.
Seattle will beat St. Louis and earn the No. 5 seed,
In the Wild Card Round, San Francisco will host Chicago and win. Dallas will host Seattle and Seattle will win.
From there, Atlanta will host Seattle and Seattle will win. Green Bay will host San Francisco and win.
This means in the NFC Championship Game, Green Bay will host Seattle—a rematch of the now-famous “Fail Mary” game. As such, the Packers will want to revenge the early season game that they thought was stolen from them.
Contrary to popular belief, the Seahawks will not enter Lambeau Field and leave victorious.
Here are three reasons why Seattle will not make it to the Super Bowl this season.
Richard Sherman Will Not Be Playing
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Back in November, Richard Sherman tested positive for Adderall and faced a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Instead of accepting the league’s penalty, Sherman appealed the positive test, citing that there was a flaw in the test.
With the decision of the appeal set to be released within the next week, Sherman could possibly be out until the Super Bowl. If this happens, it would be a huge setback for Seattle. Sherman has been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL this season—he may even be the best.
According to Pro Football Focus, Sherman’s 48.4 opponent passer rating is second-best behind Chicago’s Tim Jennings. Currently the Seattle cornerback is ranked second in the NFL with seven interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. In addition, he has forced three fumbles and returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown.
Sherman has had his best performances in the biggest games, and losing him for the playoffs would be a big loss for Seattle. While the Seahawks have depth at corner and can survive for a few games, not having their top defender would be a huge blow against the Packers in the NFC Championship Game.
Green Bay, who has the reigning MVP in Aaron Rodgers and a plethora of quality receivers, would have a better shot of defeating Seattle with Sherman sidelined due to his suspension.
No Rookie Quarterback Has Ever Led His Team to the Super Bowl
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In Super Bowl history, no rookie quarterback has ever led his team to the Super Bowl. This has been the season for rookie quarterbacks, as Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have had some of the best seasons for a rookie quarterbacks in NFL history.
Wilson, who should win Rookie of the Year, has thrown for 2,868 yards and 25 touchdowns against only 10 interceptions. As of late, Wilson has looked like a veteran NFL quarterback in rather than a first-year rookie.
While he looks to be peaking at the right time, the playoffs are not the regular season. The pressure increases and any little mistake or wrong decision can cost a team. There is a reason that no rookie quarterback has ever been to the Super Bowl. The pressure increases and rookie quarterbacks have never played in that kind of atmosphere. In the playoffs, quarterbacks and their play typically dictate the outcome.
While I do believe Wilson will take the Seahawks to the NFC Championship Game, I just can’t see him outdueling Rodgers. Rodgers has already won one Super Bowl ring. He has the experience and pedigree to play in another Super Bowl, while the rookie Wilson does not.
Seattle Is Not the Only Team Peaking—Green Bay Is Getting Hot
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Lost in the magnificence of Seattle’s recent stretch of victories has been the fact the Packers have won four straight and nine of their last 10, and are also starting to peak at the right time. Last week, Green Bay absolutely embarrassed Tennessee, winning 55-7.
Green Bay suffered a number of injuries early in the season, but is getting healthy for the playoffs. Greg Jennings and Clay Mathews both battled injuries this season, but have returned to the lineup and will factor in Green Bay’s playoff run. In addition, Jordy Nelson, who has battled hamstring problems, may return soon. What is more, the Packers will have a first-round bye—a time where their banged-up players can recover.
The Packers will be at full strength when they battle Seattle for the NFC Championship and will be an absolute terror for even the tough Seattle defense to contain. Although these two teams met back in September with Seattle winning in controversial fashion, both the Seahawks and Packers are not the same teams. Both have improved, but in the playoffs experience pays dividends.
With many players on the Seattle roster having never played in the playoffs and Green Bay having a roster full of playoff veterans, the Packers will have the edge when these two teams meet again.
Contact Kyle Oland at firstname.lastname@example.org or @NFLWaterCooler