With the NFL back underway and two weeks of games already completed, the picture of what’s in front of us is starting to form more clearly.
And for those who root for the Seattle Seahawks, things look very good indeed.
It all starts and ends with Russell Wilson. There’s a good chance that in every game Seattle plays this season, Wilson may be the best player on the field. He’s definitely shown that through the first two weeks of the season.
So far he’s tossed nine touchdown passes to just one interception. His long ball looks so good it doesn’t look like it comes from the hands of a human. The way it sails in a perfect trajectory, rising and falling in just the right arc, suggests that a computer generated it to demonstrate the laws of physics and gravity.
His further stats only reinforce what our eyes tell us. He’s completed 82% of his passes at over nine yards a clip. And though he’s run the ball five times or less per game—almost certainly by design—he’s still averaging eight yards per carry.
That’s the stuff that will give opposing defenses nightmares. When you don’t know when he’s going to tuck it and run, you have to be prepared for that eventuality on almost every play. And God forbid you stack the box to chase him down, only to have him sail one fifty yards over your head to the streaking receiver running down the middle of the field.
And give credit to the receiving corps. Is there a more underrated set of pass-catchers in the league? Tyler Lockett has only been in the league for five years, but it feels like much longer. He’ll never have to buy another beer in this town for as long as he lives. And how about DK Metcalf? He’s got the size, hands, agility and power to run right through anybody unfortunate enough to be in his way.
As for the rushing attack, the Seahawks look more than potent. Chris Carson is healthy again. So is Rashad Penny. And now Carlos Hyde is here to add a little experience and swagger to the mix. Seattle is already averaging over 100 yards per game through two games, at almost five yards a carry. That’s more than good enough to get the job done.
It’s on the other side of the ball where some fans may be feeling more nervous. Especially when it comes to the pass. Seattle has given up almost 850 yards passing through two games. Some of that has to be a reflection of playing Matt Ryan and Cam Newton. Neither are slouches at the position.
Also, remember the most important stat: Seattle is undefeated through two games, so don’t worry too much about the secondary and the defense in general. Expect the defense to get better throughout the season, not worse.
Now in looking around at their rivals, Seattle may be in the toughest division in the NFL. The Rams look more like the team of two years ago that went to the Super Bowl. And the Cardinals appear to have something as well under second-year starter Kyler Murray. Ironically, the team in last place in the NFC West is the Forty-Niners—the same squad that played in the Super Bowl last season. They just suffered a rash of injuries, with several of their star players expected to miss significant playing time going forward. Don’t think of being in a tough division as being a downside. In fact, quite the opposite. The way you make a good team better is by challenging them with good opponents. The Hawks will have no shortage of opportunities this season to notch quality wins against good opponents.
The next three weeks, Seattle faces the Cowboys, Dolphins and the Vikings. Those three teams have exactly one win between them thus far. That might suggest that all three teams will be hungry for a win, but don’t expect the Hawks to be their patsy. The next big test should come in four weeks, when the Seahawks take on the Arizona Cardinals. That matchup can’t get here fast enough.
So, while there are still some around the country who seek to diminish Russell Wilson—to imply that his Super Bowl ring was more about the players around him—he should be considered the straw that stirs this team’s drink.
And for those who continue to doubt him, realize that you are making him even stronger. Because that all-American smile and personality that he flashes whenever given the opportunity belies something much fiercer beneath the surface.
Russell Wilson burns with the heat of a thousand suns. He doesn’t get worse over time, he gets better. Upcoming opponents would do well to recognize that.