Ranking the Seattle Seahawks' Remaining Games from Easiest to Toughest
The Seattle Seahawks are three games into the season and flying high. Ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in just about every Power Ranking poll out there, the Seahawks have so far lived up to their 2013 expectations.
Though they narrowly escaped with a win against Carolina in Week 1, Seattle has since drubbed the San Francisco 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars at home, shooting them out of the gates to the tune of their first 3-0 start since 2006.
Using what is arguably the NFL's toughest and best defense to their advantage, the Seahawks have capitalized on shutting down opposing offenses while giving their offense prime opportunities to put plenty of points on the board.
It's still very early on in the season, but Seattle definitely appears to be the team to beat in the NFC, and arguably, the NFL. Many are predicting them to match up with Denver in this year's Super Bowl, but there are obviously still quite a few games left on the schedule that will illustrate whether or not the Seahawks really are Super Bowl favorites.
With that said, let's rank (from easiest to toughest) Seattle's remaining games of the 2013 NFL regular season.
13. Vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (November 3)
Before the season started, there were a few people who believed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could have a surprisingly good season. With Doug Martin pounding the ball on offense and Josh Freeman potentially having a comeback year, there was a slight possibility the Bucs could continue to improve and really become a force in the NFL in 2013.
Unfortunately for Tampa Bay and those pundits who predicted that, things haven't exactly gone swimmingly for the Buccaneers in 2013. Freeman has looked inept and has been replaced by rookie Mike Glennon, Doug Martin can't really be relied on to carry the offense and their defense is just average. While they did play two very close games to start the season, a disheartening 23-3 loss to New England got the Bucs off to an 0-3 start on the 2013 season and many fans are already jumping ship.
Seattle and their fans should be salivating at the opportunity of being allowed to face Tampa Bay after a quick turnaround from a Monday Night Football contest against the Rams. Don't think the Seahawks and their home crowd will give the Bucs a chance.
12. Vs. Arizona Cardinals (December 22)
One of the things you'll notice about the early stages of this list is that many of Seattle's easiest games of the season are ones that will be played at home. While the Seahawks will undoubtedly be a much improved road team in 2013, CenturyLink Field gives Seattle just too big of an advantage not to be a huge factor in determining what games will be easier when compared to others.
With that said, a home game against the Arizona Cardinals towards the end of the regular season is just what the doctor ordered for the Seahawks. Yes, it's still early on and anything can happen in the coming weeks, but based on the level of play, Seattle should be coasting into the playoffs at this time and will be looking to get healthy against an Arizona team that doesn't seem offensively potent enough to get past Seattle's tenacious defense.
11. Vs. Minnesota Vikings (November 17)
The Vikings have lost games by 10 points, one point and four points so far this year and could easily be 2-1 instead of 0-3. However, when trying to argue that Minnesota is better than their record indicates, one must remember that a team must be good in all aspects of the game to really be considered a threat in the NFL, and the Vikings just aren't that.
Yes, Adrian Peterson is still a beast and the best running back in the NFL. But that doesn't make the Vikings a good team by any means. The only thing good about Christian Ponder is his wife, their rush defense is horrendous and their pass defense just allowed Brian Hoyer to throw for over 300 yards against them.
Don't think Minnesota will be able to fix all their wounds by the time they take on the Seahawks on Nov. 17.
10. Vs. St. Louis Rams (December 29)
Jeff Fischer will eventually work wonders with the St. Louis Rams, but this year is not that year. They're too one-dimensional on the offensive side of the ball and their defense just isn't intimidating.
Seattle will once again likely be able to use this as a "get healthy" game before the playoffs begin.
9. At St. Louis Rams (October 28)
Don't let the atmosphere of Monday Night Football fool you, the St. Louis Rams still won't have the tools to compete with the Seattle Seahawks.
8. At New York Giants (December 15)
In their first three games, the Giants' defense has given up 36, 41, and 38 points en route to an 0-3 start that has many New Yorkers throwing in the white towel on a team that rightfully had playoff aspirations when the season started. Though they've been pretty good on offense (at least in their first two games), the Giants recently failed to put up any points in a 38-0 trouncing at the hands of the Carolina Panthers.
Seattle will have to make the long trek to the East Coast for an early start in this one but don't expect them to have a tough time against a New York team who has so far looked dreadful. The Seahawks' stellar secondary will keep Eli Manning in check while their offense efficiently drives down the field against a dreadful defense.
7. At Arizona Cardinals (October 17)
The second road game to appear on this list is Seattle's October 17 matchup against Arizona. While the Cardinals already appeared on this list for their away game in Seattle, making the trek to Arizona could pose minor problems for the Seahawks. They won't have to adjust to the time as much, but their offense will likely still be working on timing issues, especially with wide receivers.
The Cardinals could easily go 2-3 in their next three games and generate a bunch of momentum heading into their matchup with Seattle, potentially reinvigorating a fan base. Don't expect Arizona to cause too much of a problem for the Seahawks, however.
6. Vs. Tennessee Titans (October 13)
The Tennessee Titans are 2-1 after an impressive comeback win against the San Diego Chargers that was highlighted by a game-winning touchdown in the closing seconds of the game. However, in terms of being a "scary" opponent for the Seahawks to face, they aren't exactly there yet.
Jake Locker is OK, and Chris Johnson still isn't nearly as productive as he needs to be for a team looking to beat a Seattle defense that is the best in the league. And, like their offense, Tennessee's defense is middle-of-the-pack and should give the Seahawks plenty to work with at CenturyLink Field.
5. At Atlanta Falcons (November 10)
It wasn't too long ago that the Seahawks made the trip to Atlanta, got off to a rough start in the game and eventually dropped a playoff heartbreaker that saw them come back from quite the deficit. As was evidenced by this game, playing on the road against a quality opponent at an early time by your body clock can be rather hard.
While the Falcons are just 1-2 on the year and have had quite a few injury issues, they are still a good football team who should contend for a playoff spot in their division. They are the first team Seattle could have major problems against because of the way the Seahawks' offense matches up with Atlanta's defense. The Falcons will challenge Russell Wilson and force him to win the game in the air.
4. At San Francisco 49ers (December 8)
The amount of people jumping ship on the San Francisco 49ers is impressive, and with a record of 1-2 with two straight blowouts, it's not hard to see why. However, the Seahawks should not write the 49ers off just yet. Colin Kaepernick will likely come down from his GQ high and start playing good football again, they'll get some players back from injury and will undoubtedly still contend for the NFC West.
A trip to San Francisco late in the season could be a turning point for both teams, especially if the Niners once again remember the plethora of talent they have on both sides of the ball. Expect Harbaugh to rally his troops and get them back to their winning ways in plenty of time to contend with the Seahawks.
3. At Houston Texans (September 29)
Seattle's next game will be one of their toughest of the year. While the Texans did just drop a game to the Baltimore Ravens, they still have an impressive arsenal of offensive weapons who will give Seattle their biggest test of the season so far.
Matt Schaub will likely still have Andre Johnson on the field, Arian Foster can carve up just about any defense and Ben Tate has proved valuable as a running back, as well. Though Johnson may be ailing a bit, Schaub has started to target other receivers as well, opening up the field for Houston's dangerous offense even more.
Seattle will undoubtedly be tested in this one, but expect their defense to once again come up big on the road. It may take their offense some time to wake up, but the Seahawks should be able to effectively move down the field against a defense that has given up 28, 24, and 30 points so far this year.
2. At Indianapolis Colts (October 6)
The Indianapolis Colts could not have had a better week than they did last week. Executing a trade that saw them rob the Cleveland Browns of coveted running back Trent Richardson, the Colts then went on to humiliate the San Francisco 49ers on the road while making a huge statement to the rest of the NFL with their defense.
Aside from the fact that their offense has been improving week by week, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will be making a road trip to play in an early contest (by their standards) against a formidable opponent. Indianapolis has proved they can shut down an offense similar to Seattle's, and that may be troubling for the Seahawks.
Seattle will have to establish the run game early on if they want to have a shot at downing the Colts and stopping the momentum of Indianapolis.
1. Vs. New Orleans Saints (December 2)
The last time New Orleans visited Seattle the ground literally shook. This time around, don't expect anything to be different as both teams are looking like the teams to beat in the NFC.
Sean Payton has stepped right back into his role as a great coach and rejuvenated a Saints team currently looking like one of the best in the NFL. This currently looks to be Seattle's toughest game of the season and will provide a great matchup as the regular season winds down.
Don't be surprised if these two squads eventually meet in the NFC Championship Game as well.