Seattle Seahawks Are a Lock for the NFC West Crown

Jason Barr@JasonBarrBRContributor IINovember 8, 2013

Russell Wilson
Russell WilsonOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks have been struggling, sure, with confounding wins against the mediocre and underpowered Rams and the even lowlier Buccaneers.

But while Seahawks fans resort to the old "a win is a win" adage, other fans and critics are quick to point out the team's flaws: A very weak offensive line, a wide receiver corps that (so far) doesn't have a "star" receiver and a puzzling collapse in run defense have all been documented extensively across the past few weeks.

Seahawks fans, take heart: Even though a "win is a win," the Seahawks have a lot going for them as they enter the second half of the season.


The Schedule

The first thing we need to remember is that the schedule favors Seattle from here onward: They've played the most difficult portion of their schedule, and will now have contests against lower-tier teams like the Giants, the Atlanta Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings. Each of these teams has a total of two wins so far this season.

In fact, the only potential losses on the remaining schedule are at the 49ers and at home against the Saints.  The Rams and the Cardinals usually play Seattle tough, but both of these teams will be making a trip to CenturyLink Field at the end of their season, when many teams with .500 or under records start to look at next year.  If Seattle continues to win, ugly or pretty, a 13-3 record or higher is entirely possible.


Depth, Depth, and More Depth

Unlike many teams, the Seahawks have a near-astounding amount of roster depth.

Outside of the offensive line, the Seahawks have a wealth of riches on both sides of the ball. Marshawn Lynch is backed up by the massively biceped and astoundingly speedy Robert Turbin, and Christine Michael has shown promise.

Most NFL fans can name the members of the Legion of Boom: Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Brandon Browner. But a well-kept secret in Seattle is that they have a large number of capable backups: Jeremy Lane, Jeron Johnson, Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell and Chris Maragos are all understudies who have seen a lot of playing time as well.

And, of course, the defensive line has transformed from the team's weakest link during last season to the team's strongest link this season, with free agents such as Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett joining the massive Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane and Chris Clemons.


Strengthening Rather than Weakening

In a time of the season where teams are scrambling for replacements, often signing players off of each others' practice squads, the Seahawks are building up to full strength on all sides of the ball.

Bobby Wagner is back. Bruce Irvin is back. Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini are on the way back to strengthen the offensive line. And, of course, the Seahawks are waiting for Percy Harvin and his game-breaking abilities to return as well.

When the playoffs come, there will be players who are fresh, having played less than a full schedule.


Russell Wilson

The Seahawks also have Russell Wilson.

No, he doesn't put up gaudy stats like Tony Romo or Peyton Manning. But Wilson is the soul of the team: He's unflappable, and even when the team plays poorly, or when he plays poorly, he still has the belief that he can win.

Indeed, time is really Wilson's only enemy—the time he has in the pocket, or the time he has at the end of the game. The Colts did an excellent job against Seattle by game-planning in such a way that Wilson essentially had no time to engineer a comeback.

But if teams don't plan for Wilson getting the ball at the end of the game, then he can hurt them. Badly.  Wilson already has nine fourth-quarter comebacks in his short career.  For a team to beat Seattle, they need to work on a blowout.  Since Wilson has taken over, the biggest "blowout" loss against Seattle was a 13-6 loss against the 49ers in 2012.


Who Are the 49ers?

Finally, the 49ers. It is hard to figure out just who they are at this point in time.

Are they the team that clobbered the Packers in Week 1? Are they the team that got clobbered against Seattle and Indianapolis by a combined score of 56-10? And what do we make of their current win streak, featuring wins against teams with a combined 13-28 record?

The 49ers have a trip to New Orleans, and home games against Seattle and a surprisingly resurgent Panthers team as well. Right now, the 49ers are an unknown.

So, rejoice, Seahawks fans. They haven't played  a complete game since Week 2 of this season, but there are plenty of reasons for Seattle to not only win the NFC West crown, but to advance deep into the playoffs. All the team has to do is put the pieces together, and they can be nearly unstoppable.