By Jonathan Comey
Cold, Hard Football Facts Seattle Slewer (@ColonelComey)
There’s not much doubt: Seattle isn’t just a favorite to win the Super Bowl, they’re as obvious a pick as we’ve had since 2007.
Here’s what Seattle has to do to win the Super Bowl: Win twice at home, where they don’t lose, then go to New Jersey to play an incomplete AFC team in the same place they just destroyed the Giants 23-0.
Good luck with that.
While the 2007 Patriots entered the postseason as an overwhelming Super Bowl favorite, that team wasn’t playing as well as this Seattle team is. New England wasn’t the same over the last six weeks (even though they won all six), and struggled in all three playoff games.
Compare it to Seattle, which has devastated opponents four of the last five weeks – 33-10 at Atlanta, 41-20 over Minnesota, 34-7 over New Orleans and now 23-0 at the Giants.
And while that Patriots’ team’s style wasn’t suited particularly well to the playoffs (which was proven true in 2010 and 2011 as well), this Seahawks’ team is. Their two losses this season have been in a dome (at Indy) and at sunny, calm San Francisco.
Against the Giants, in cold weather, they showed exactly how they were built; they ran for 134 yards and allowed 25 on the ground, they forced turnovers (+4) and left no doubt about the outcome. They also hit hard, smiled a lot, kept the shutout intact despite Eli Manning's valiant effort -- very few quarterbacks would be willing to throw five interceptions in the quest to keep it respectable, but No. 10 is a warrior.
He's also a two-time champ. And his counterpart, Russell Wilson, is no worse than a 50-percent shot to be a one-time champ by the time this season is over.
There are plenty of good teams in the NFC, no question about it. New Orleans, Carolina, San Francisco, they’re legit. Whoever makes it from the NFC East/North can score points, and that always gives you a puncher’s chance in the playoffs.
But can any of them win in Seattle, where Russell Wilson has never lost, and where the home-field advantage seems to be worth a solid touchdown? God bless em. We’ll believe it when we see it.
Here’s what you need to win a Super Bowl: great QB (or hot QB), smart coach, great pass rush. Swagger a bonus. Playing under the perfect conditions is another bonus.
Seattle, Seattle, Seattle. Let us count the ways.
None of the AFC teams can stop the run, except for maybe Cincinnati, and is Andy Dalton going to beat Russell Wilson in the Super Bowl? Doubt it. Is Peyton Manning going to pick apart Seattle’s defense in the snow? Doubt it. Is Tom Brady and his legion of second-tier backs and receivers going to put up the 31 points they’d need? Doubt it.
Heading into the week, the Seahawks were No. 3 in scoring offense, No. 2 in scoring defense. The last team with that type of balance was the 2005 Colts, who went 14-2 … oh, and then promptly lost in the playoff opener at home to the Steelers.
Damn you, facts!
Look, there’s no such thing as a sure thing in the NFL. And those Colts do provide a good example – just like the 2007 Patriots, they were the easy favorite – and like New England, they lost to a team (Pittsburgh) that wasn’t as talented but had a special something.
But there’s the rub – this Seattle team seems to have the special something, too. They’re not just talented, maybe more than any team in the league, they’ve also got an underdog mojo on their side.
If Seattle draws San Francisco in their opener, which seems highly likely, it’ll be must-see TV – because if the Seahawks survive that test? They can start thinking pretty confidently about the first championship celebration in Seattle since 300,000 people packed the streets in 1979 for the Sonics.
That was basketball, folks, in an era where the finals were on tape delay.
Pretty sure Seahawks fans would be able to make a little more noise the second time around.