NFL Playoff Predictions: How Far Can the Seattle Seahawks Realistically Go?

Soven Bery@@realsovenberySenior Analyst IJanuary 1, 2013

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 30:  Sidney Rice #18 of the Seattle Seahawks is introduced against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field on December 30, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Kevin Casey/Getty Images)
Kevin Casey/Getty Images

Russell Wilson and his Seattle Seahawks have been one of the best stories of the NFL season and after winning five straight games enter the playoffs with an 11-5 record and the fifth seed in the NFC. 

But how far can this upstart squad realistically go in the NFL playoffs? 

I’m not one to put a clamp on Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and the explosive Seattle offense, and their January run might be as surprising as what the ‘Hawks accomplished in the regular season. 

Nevertheless, the NFC is filled with very good teams and getting to New Orleans will be a chore for Pete Carroll and company. 

That isn’t to say it is impossible. It will just be very difficult. 

For starters, they will be on the road. Being a wild-card team, Seattle won’t host a playoff game until the NFC championship, if they make it there. But the chance that Wilson and his offense lights up CenturyLink Field at all in the postseason is very unlikely. Again, this is because of their low seed. 

That fact hurts Seattle more than any other team in the NFL because of the famed “12th man”. Amazing things have happened in the Emerald City, and that is because of the best fans in the league. The home crowd even caused an earthquake once because they were so loud! 

Unsurprisingly, the Seahawks are undefeated at home, and all five of their loses have come on the road. They have only won three times when traveling this season. But two of those three wins have come in the month of December, proving that this team might be good enough to beat the jet lag. 

There is no doubt that this is a very, very talented squad coming together at the right time. No one wants to face them, but will the clock strike midnight on this Cinderella story? 

Seattle first travels to Washington to take on Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris. The Redskins make up a formidable opponent, and the nation's capital will be rocking in a chess match between two dynamic rookie quarterbacks. 

Both offenses are very much alike in the fact that they can ground and pound, air it out or have their quarterback scramble. 

Morris and Lynch will look to put up big yards while RG3 and Wilson can throw the deep ball or scramble. 

This match will come down to a defensive struggle. 

Luckily, the Seahawks are blessed on that side of the ball with rookie Bobby Wagner playing way beyond his years. 

The Seattle defense is only allowing a league-leading 15.3 points per game. That stat isn’t influenced by one or two good games, as Richard Sherman and company have allowed just 245 total points the whole season, again topping the NFL.  

Comparatively, the Redskins are mediocre at best on defense. When Wagner, Sherman and the rest of the unit are able to slow down RG3, Wilson will bring out the big guns and finish off the ‘Skins. 

If they win that contest, Seattle has to travel again either to Atlanta or San Francisco. It all depends on if the Minnesota Vikings are able to beat the Green Bay Packers. If Adrian Peterson and his Vikes prevail again, then the Seahawks are going back to San Fran. 

But, let’s just say the Pack don’t get fooled twice and win at home. That would set up a trip to Atlanta for the Seahawks. 

It would be on the road against the top-seeded, but struggling, Atlanta Falcons.

Wilson will kill the Falcons much like Cam Newton did in Week 14 and the Seattle defense will be able to stop a very one-dimensional Atlanta offense.

I predict that Seattle will escape that game and face the winner of Green Bay-San Francisco.

Let’s just say the 49ers prevail and set up a divisional grudge match. 

But this time it will be in the Bay. 

It will be a hard-fought battle and don’t expect the lopsided Seahawks victory that occurred the last time these two squads met. 

Head coach Jim Harbaugh will be making his team watch hours upon hours of tape to ensure that Wilson doesn’t beat them again. 

Talent-wise, this is a Seattle team that could beat the 49ers. However, they would have to go on the road again to do it, and San Fran would have figured their rivals out. 

I believe it will be incredibly close, but the dream will end here for Seattle. 

Hopefully, I’m wrong because it has been amazing to watch this young team absolutely dominate. 

Either momentum or fatigue will play a huge role with Seattle in this last leg of their journey to New Orleans.

Could they win the NFC? 

Yes, of course. 

But will they? 

Sadly not. 

Realistically, the Seahawks could make the NFC championship, but the Super Bowl seems like a stretch for this squad. 

After all, no rookie quarterback has been to the big game. There is a reason why. 

This team will be incredibly competitive in the coming years, and there is a strong possibility they make (and win) the Super Bowl in the future. 

Just not this year. 


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