NFL Playoff Picks: Russell Wilson Will Lead Seahawks to Super Bowl XLVII
Picking a rookie quarterback to lead a team that went 7-9 the year before to the Super Bowl would have seemed beyond absurd before the season started.
Now? Not so much.
Wilson has been arguably the best quarterback in football over these last three weeks. He has scored 10 total touchdowns and has turned it over only once during that span. His average passer rating during that time is an astounding 118.7.
The only quarterback who can compete with those numbers is Aaron Rodgers. Wilson's dual-threat nature has helped his team dominate in those contests.
In fact, no team has been more dominant than the Seahawks over the last five weeks.
While the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins both have longer winning streaks, the Seahawks have won their last five games by an average of 26.6 points per game. The team is scoring 38.6 points per game, while allowing just 12.0.
Seattle has been truly incredible during these last five weeks. The team's 27th-ranked passing attack has been spectacular, while it's third-ranked ground game and stingy defense have been even better than advertised.
Playing during Wild Card Weekend used to be a huge disadvantage during the NFL playoffs. Not getting that first round bye costs your team an extra week to rest and prepare, and that used to be enough to essentially eliminate you from Super Bowl contention.
However, in recent years playing in the first round has been a bit of an advantage for teams like Seattle. In fact, the last two Super Bowl champs have both played during Wild Card Weekend.
Do you believe in the Seahawks?
If you enter the playoffs with momentum, you don't necessarily want to take that extra week off—your team might not be as hot in two weeks as you would be in one. Seattle certainly has the most momentum of any team, and now it will put it to the test against the Washington Redskins.
This is going to be a difficult matchup between rookie quarterbacks, as Robert Griffin III and the Redskins have won seven straight games. However, Seattle has a few distinct advantages that will help the team win the game.
First off, there's the issue for the Redskins that they allow the third-most passing yards per game in the NFL. Russell Wilson is hot, and he is going to pick Washington's weak secondary apart in this game. Also, once he drops back he has that dual-threat nature that could hurt the Redskins.
As if that weren't enough, the Redskins rely heavily on their rushing attack instead of throwing the ball (ranking first in rushing yards per game and 20th in passing yards). That is not going to fly on Sunday, as the Seahawks rank in the top 10 in both rushing and passing yards allowed per contest.
I see the Seahawks momentum carrying them over a tough Redskins team that will certainly put up a fight.
Assuming that the Green Bay Packers take down the Minnesota Vikings at home as expected, that would pair the Seahawks with the No. 1-seeded Atlanta Falcons, who boast the best record in the NFL at 13-3.
I'll still take the Seahawks.
Atlanta's record is impressive, but you have to keep in mind that the Falcons played against only two playoff teams all season. They beat the Broncos and Redskins early in the season, when the Falcons were hot and neither opponent had yet found its rhythm. The Falcons won both games by seven points or fewer.
The Falcons are not going to be able to deal with Seattle's incredible defense. The Falcons will also struggle to stop Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and Seattle's offense with a defense that ranks 23rd against the pass and 21st against the run.
Look for Seattle to cruise to an easy victory in Atlanta.
That leaves the team with a matchup with either the San Francisco 49ers or Green Bay Packers. Seattle beat Green Bay even before it got hot, and it blew out San Francisco in Week 16.
The Seahawks should soar to victory over either opponent, which would put the team in the Super Bowl.
It's been a magical run for Wilson and the Seahawks, but it is far from over.
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