The Seattle Seahawks can win the Super Bowl. This year.
I can already imagine some of the responses to this semi-weak proclamation.
For example, someone might say, "Thank you, Captain Obvious, but wouldn't it be fair to suggest that every playoff team can win the Super Bowl?"
No, I am not calling my shot. No, I am not a blindly-devoted homer. No, I am not going to Las Vegas on New Year's Eve to place a large bet on the 'Hawks.
Others might appreciate this enthusiasm, but cautiously suggest that Seattle is a year away from a serious run at the Lombardi Trophy. Also a possibility.
For some Seattle fans, the memories of Super Bowl XL can temper some excitement about the prospect of making another trip to the big game.
Sports fans in the northwest also remember the 1993-94 Seattle Supersonics and the 2001 Seattle Mariners. There were a few fans that believed back then as well.
Still, look at the way that this Seahawks team has been built and how it has come together in recent weeks.
Seattle has a confident quarterback that is playing more and more like a veteran every game. It has a bruising running back in Marshawn Lynch that keeps putting up 100-yard games.
In addition, the Seahawks have one of the best defenses in the NFL.
Plus, Richard Sherman will not be taking a little vacation.
And Brandon Browner will return from his little vacation just in time for the playoffs.
Bonus, and bonus.
Seattle is currently giving up the fewest points in the NFL (15.5 per game), and they are giving up the fourth-lowest yards per game (304.5 per game).
Does defense win championships or not?
Is there pressure on the Seahawks to win this year? You could argue that their reputation has been growing all season, but are they the odds-on favorite right now? Not exactly.
What is notable is that this may be as good a window of opportunity as any. Yes, this team has a bright future, but Seattle has also had a relatively healthy season where a number of players have stepped up and played at a high level.
In other words, a seemingly dominant defense can quickly have issues. Just look at a challenges experienced by the New York Jets. They are still a defense with a lot of talent, but they are not where they were a couple of seasons ago.
Granted, being labeled (via New York Daily News) one of the "hottest team in the NFL" does not automatically equate to "Super Bowl favorite."
There are reasons to question the assertion that this team is a potential champion.
Rookie quarterback. Tough playoff games on the road. An offense that struggled mightily earlier in the season and could slump again.
A potential rematch with the very motivated Green Bay Packers.
Winning the Super Bowl is possible. However, no one said it would be an easy road.
You could argue that Seattle is still viewed by many as an underdog. In the minds of many fans, that may actually be a better position. There is some value in a team feeling like they have something to prove.
Now, if the Seahawks beat the Rams and then throttle their first-round playoff opponent, will there suddenly be a few more riders on the Seattle bandwagon? One would assume.
You cannot fly under the radar forever.
Obviously, momentum is a funny aspect of sports. Hot teams can have a bad week, and then all the energy from prior weeks means nothing at all because that squad is heading home until next year.
The NFL has proven to be a league where the top seeds do not necessarily dominate, and a lower seed can rise up and win it all.
At this point in the year, the numbers and statistics have some impact on the final result. However, for a team like the Seahawks, winning the Super Bowl may be about everything coming together at just the right time.
Maybe this is the year when Seattle erases some of the memories (via The Huffington Post) of Super Bowl XL.
Stranger things have happened in the NFL. Each week, this scenario seems a little less strange.
Winning the Super Bowl this year could happen for the Seattle Seahawks.