As we approach week sixteen of the NFL regular season, the 12-2 Seahawks will be heavily favored in each of their final two games. They will play host to a pair of NFC West rivals, squaring off against the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday and the St. Louis Rams a week later.
If they can take care of business at the place where Russell Wilson has never lost in fourteen career tries, they will finish the year a franchise best 14-2. Split those final two games and the Seahawks will still tie the franchise mark of 13-3 set by the 2005 NFC Champion team.
Either way, you don’t have to be an NFL analyst or ex-quarterback to realize this is the best team that Seattle has ever put on the field. I even think the 2013 Seahawks would have the potential to blow the 2005 team out of the water if they were to hypothetically face off.
For one, look at the numbers. The Seahawks give up a miniscule 14.6 points per game and just over 279 total yards per game, both of which are best in the NFL. They’ve intercepted opponents 22 times (1st in the NFL), recovered 11 fumbles (tied for 4th), and sacked the opposing quarterback 40 times (11th).
Seattle has a league best +16 turnover differential. And just as important a contributor to that number as the defense’s ability to create turnovers is Russell Wilson’s ability to avoid them. He has managed to throw just 8 interceptions against his 25 touchdown passes while at the helm of the league’s 5th highest scoring offense. The Seahawks score 27.1 points per game, also due in large part to the league’s second best rushing attack which gains an average of 141 yards each week.
The Seahawks are offensively and defensively at the top of the league, and they even excel in special teams. Golden Tate is tied for a league best average 11.7 yards per punt return. Steven Hauschka is 30/31 kicking field goals this season, his only miss resulting from a blocked kick. Finally, it is the stat that has been well documented the past few weeks: in 59 John Ryan punts, the Seahawks special teams have given up just 19 total yards. A number that just continues to be dumbfounding.
Enough with the stats, they can only tell us so much. When you look at the intangibles, they are equally impressive. Now in his fourth season as head coach in Seattle, Pete Carroll has completely transformed the culture of the Seahawks. Alongside General Manager John Schneider, the pair have brought in a bevy of talented young players.
There’s an attitude of winning in Seattle now, the team has a swagger that we haven’t seen since 2005. Of course, Carroll and Schneider’s crowning achievement was drafting Wilson in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft. Wilson, a burgeoning superstar, embodies the work ethic and positive attitude that Carroll’s philosophy is built around.
You get the feeling that this Seattle team has the potential to be very good for a long time. With so much talent the biggest challenge will be to hang on to it. Inevitably, they’ll lose valuable pieces over time but Russell Wilson, the most important piece of them all, isn’t going anywhere.
The Seahawks should at least tie the franchise mark with thirteen wins, and may very well set a new best with fourteen. This team has it all, and it has been beyond fun to watch them. But no matter what I guarantee you that Wilson and Carroll won’t be satisfied after their final regular season game on December 29th.
They will have their sights set on a cold trip to New York in early February.