Jun 12, 2013; Renton, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson rushes during minicamp practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Seahawks Can Dethrone The 49ers In NFC West

Entering the 2013 season, the Seattle Seahawks are a powerhouse team, stacked on both sides of the ball with athletic performers. Few gave the Seahawks the recognition they deserved last year – despite the fact that they were 31 seconds from reaching the NFC Championship game.

Regardless, the Seahawks have finally caught the attention of experts around the country, many of who believe that Seattle has a legitimate shot at winning their first division title since 2010.

Why will the Seahawks win the West this year? A number of names will come into the argument for any Seahawks fan, so let us begin on offense.

Russell Wilson was a rookie sensation last year, completing 64.1% of his passes for 3,118 yards and 26 touchdowns, while only throwing ten interceptions. He lead his team to five straight wins to finish the regular season before beating the Redskins in Washington in the playoffs and nearly knocking off the Falcons in Atlanta the following week. Nevertheless, critics have finally hushed about his abilities and especially his size. At 5’11”, it’s no secret his height was considered a cause for concern. However, after proving that concern to be misplaced, the new question is whether or not he will endure a “sophomore slump.”

A slump doesn’t seem likely, especially since the Seahawks acquired Percy Harvin to help in the passing game, which averaged just 189.4 yards per game last season (27th in the NFL). Harvin will be coming off a “down” year in which he only had 62 receptions for three touchdowns. But the Vikings offense was, and is, not nearly as explosive as the offense in Seattle. Stacked with play-makers such as Golden Tate and Zach Miller, this offense will compliment Harvin’s abilities better. The ex-Viking will also be expected to help with kickoff return duties, where he has excelled. He has at least one kickoff returned for a touchdown in every season in his four-year career.

Harvin will also be asked to handle a few carries now and then. We all know the majority of carries will be given to Marshawn Lynch, though. Lynch was the reason the Seahawks averaged 161.2 rushing yards per game, third-best in the NFL. In 2012, the 27 year old set career highs in rushing yards (1,590) and yards per carry (5.0). The Seahawks don’t want him to carry too much weight, however, and drafted not one, but two, running backs to help in the backfield. Christine Michael and Spencer Ware will both contribute as bruisers to open up the passing game and keep the defense on their toes.

On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks defense does not need to be highlighted for any true Seahawks fan. The punishing D led by Richard Sherman and Red Bryant is expected, as usual, to be one of the best in the NFL.  By taking three defensive tackles in the 2013 draft and signing Cliff Avril among others, the Seahawks have shown the NFC, and the rest of the NFL, that they aren’t messing around.

Aside from all the play-makers and stats, one of the other big keys that could make or break the Seahawks winning the West is their schedule. Last year, Seattle was undefeated at home but went 3-5 away from CenturyLink Field. They will need to keep their road record over .500 to have a chance at dethroning the San Francisco 49ers. Interestingly, the Seahawks lost all five games by a combined 24 points last season and never lost by more than seven points, which was a 13-6 defeat in San Francisco.

This year, the Seahawks will have a moderate schedule at home but will be challenged on the road. Playing at Houston (week 4), at Atlanta (week 10), at San Francisco (week 14), and at New York Giants (week 15) will be very challenging victories and will be the keys to winning the division title.

2013 NFC West predictions:

  1. Seahawks (12-4)
  2. 49ers (11-5)
  3. Rams (7-9)
  4. Cardinals (6-10)

It’s going to be a fun year of football, but for the first time in three years, there should be a different team representing the West in the postseason.

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Tags: NFC West Seattle Seahawks

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