Seahawks vs. Falcons: Is Seattle a Team of Destiny?
The Seattle Seahawks have had a great season, and they may not be done.
After beating the Washington Redskins on the road, the will face the top seed in the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons.
The obstacles to winning the Super Bowl only get harder as the weeks go by, but there are a number of reasons to believe in this team.
Is it possible that this is a team of destiny?
Granted, destiny is an interesting word, but when applied to sports it can generally refer to a franchise that is an unlikely champion but finds a way to win anyway.
From a practical standpoint, it may manifest itself as a lower seed winning it all, much like the 2011 New York Giants.
Could the Seahawks be such a franchise this year?
Over the last few seasons, the NFL has shown to have enough balance that lower-seeded teams can do well in the playoffs. There are no seven-games series in the NFL, so a team with just enough momentum can win just a few games and ride that energy straight to the Super Bowl.
If you look at how the season has unfolded, many things have gone well for the Seahawks. There have been disappointing games, to be sure. Seattle has not put together a legendary season of greatness, but it has certainly gotten hot at the right time.
Other factors, such as Richard Sherman’s non-suspension and the timing of Brandon Browner’s return would fit well into a destiny scenario.
Marshawn Lynch has seemingly been on the “probable” list all year with back issues, but this has not seemed to affect him as Beast Mode has been the driving force of this offense.
Russell Wilson has gone from criticized draft pick to Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate and led this team to an impressive 11-5 record.
In addition, Seattle has stayed relatively healthy. There have certainly been injuries, and offensive line play has been an issue at times during the year. Still, Seattle has played well as a unit, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
Obviously Seattle has some issues at this point that could chip away at fan hopes for a Super Bowl run.
Losing Chris Clemons is going to hurt. Anyone that says Seattle will be “fine” is arguably employing a bit of wishful thinking.
Clemons may have been short on sacks in the last couple of games, but you do not simply replace a player like him. You do not make up for 11.5 sacks in a season.
Signing Patrick Chukwurah (via NFL.com) is fine, and fans will hope that management has found another gem that will surprise the critics and make a difference in the pass rush. However, the expectations should probably not be too high for Chukwurah.
As noted by Tyson Langland, Chukwurah may not be on the field very much against the Falcons.
There is also the fact that Steven Hauschka has been placed on injured reserve (via NBCSports.com). This could be a small but key obstacle to success in a close game.
There are likely to be fans that are enjoying the current playoff run but would express the sentiment that this team is a year away from serious contention.
They may very well be right.
Perhaps Russell Wilson will put together a complete and confident season next year that includes a 13-3 record, a division title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Maybe management will add more young athletes, and the franchise will continue growing into the most dominant defense in the NFL.
Then again, this year may be better than people realize.
If you have watched sports for a number of years, you know that playoff appearances should not be taken for granted. Seattle as a city has had its share of disappointments in the playoffs over the years.
The 1993-94 Seattle SuperSonics. The 2001 Seattle Mariners. The 2005 Seattle Seahawks. Just to name a few.
Past failures cause fans to employ a level of “cautious optimism” to any present-day success.
Are there any guarantees that this young team will continue to develop? Can John Schneider and Pete Carroll work their magic in yet another NFL draft?
What happens if the confident and prepared—but still human—Russell Wilson suffers through a sophomore slump?
What if Lynch’s back is not able to stay strong, and Marshawn starts the inevitable decline that is experienced by every running back in the NFL?
Granted, these are a lot of negative “what-ifs,” but the NFL is a brutal league. A successful team can very easily take a step back the following year with just a few setbacks.
Perhaps all the pieces are in place this season.
Perhaps this is the year that the Seattle Seahawks win it all.
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