In what could be considered the very definition of a roller coaster experience, the Seattle Seahawks finished the regular season with a 12-4 record, claiming yet another division title and a home game against the Los Angeles Rams in the first round of the playoffs.
The Seahawks very own, Russell Wilson, took five wins in a row and six of their first seven, performing as one of the league’s best offenses. Wilson was an MVP candidate and wide receiver D.K. Metcalf was drawing early comparisons to legends Calvin Johnson and Terrell Owens. Even in their first two losses – in Week 7 to the Arizona Cardinals and Week 9 to the Buffalo Bills – the Seahawks scored 34 points. They were unstoppable.
Of course, the hurdle came when a follow-up 23-16 loss to the Los Angeles Rams dropped them to 6-3. Discussion was circling over the Seahawks of being figured out that their league-worst defense would be their downfall. It wasn’t too surprising considering Rams’ coach, Sean McVay, had tremendous rates of success against Seattle, but it was still a tough pill to swallow.
The defense obviously heard all the criticism, as the 23 points allowed to the Rams was the most they would allow to a single team the rest of the season. The Seahawks finished the season 6-1, thanks largely to their defense. The offense was a shadow of its former self. After scoring 30 or more points in seven of their first eight games, they would only score that many once more in the second half in a 40-3 route of the New York Jets, who would finish the year 2-14. The defense had a complete turnaround from the first half of the season. They allowed more than 20 points twice in the final half and held both the Jets and Rams to under 10.
This team has shown what they’re capable of on both sides of the ball. The offense at their peak can hang with the best teams in the NFL. The defense at their best can be light’s out. It’s about the alignment of the stars and whether or not they can allow the two halves to become whole and turn the Seahawks into a team that could rival the best in the NFL. As it stands, however, the Seahawks are a bit of a long shot. It’s not like they’re a bad team in their current state by any means, but the Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans, and Green Bay Packers are all eyeing the championship themselves, and with arguably better claim to it.
The Seahawks don’t have to worry about that yet. Their first opponent on Jan. 6 is the Rams, a team that they silenced 20-9 just two weeks ago. The Rams will likely be playing without their starting quarterback, instead employing John Wolford, who in his debut start against the Cardinals completed just 58% of his passes and accumulated a quarterback rating of 64.7. The run game will be important for the Seahawks to stop, but over the defensive hot streak they have only allowed 100 yards rushing twice. The playoffs are far from decided, but this would be the perfect game to gain some momentum to boost themselves towards the final.