Jan 19, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the 2013 NFC Championship football game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated San Francisco 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Seahawks biggest challenge in 2014 will be winning NFC West

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In 2010, every team in the NFC West had a losing record.

The Seahawks “won” the division by finishing 7-9, the same record the St. Louis Rams finished with. The San Francisco 49ers came in third in the division with a 6-10 record while the Arizona Cardinals picked up the rear at 5-11.

Last year, the division turned the tide, becoming one of the most competitive in football.

Three of the four teams in the division finished greater than .500 while the Rams finished a respectable 7-9.

Two of the top teams in the division finished the season as the top teams in the NFC and one of those teams proved they were the best team in the NFL, winning Super Bowl XLVIII.

With 2014 now a little more than two months away, the Seahawks biggest challenge of the season won’t be handling the publicity of coming off a Super Bowl championship or being the hunted rather than the hunter in the league.

It will be making out of its own division relatively unscathed.

Last year, the Seahawks finished 4-2 in games against their NFC West opponents, but that record doesn’t mean it was an easy stretch of games.

Week 2vs 49ersW29-3
Week 7@ CardinalsW34-22
Week 8@ RamsW14-9
Week 14@ 49ersL17-19
Week 16vs CardinalsL10-17
Week 17vs RamsW27-9

Seattle truly only dominated two of those games, their first against the 49ers and their last against the Rams.

In Week 7 against the Cardinals, they out-rushed Arizona by more than 100 yards, but played a pretty even game if you take away that aspect. The Cardinals put up a fight and alluded to what they would do two months later at CenturyLink Field.

In Week 8, Seattle needed a last-second goal-line stand to beat the Rams in St. Louis, and they couldn’t beat their division rival 49ers on the road to clinch the division in Week 14.

Two weeks after that loss in Seattle’s last game at Candlestick Park, Arizona shocked the Seahawks and snapped their 14-game home-winning streak.

“The NFC West used to be a laughable division but now it’s the NFL’s powerhouse.” – Mitch Quesada 

Now the Seahawks have a giant bullseye on their back. All four teams upgraded significantly over the offseason and had great drafts, so it is very possible that all four teams could finish with a winning record (though I’m expecting the Rams to be 8-8 this year).

The NFC West used to be a laughable division but now it’s the NFL’s powerhouse.

The Seahawks have the power in their hands. If they can win at least four out of their six games against West opponents, they should have a clear-cut path back to the Super Bowl.

Anything less than four wins and the Seahawks probably won’t win the division crown.

They should though. Seattle is out to compete and they know how to beat every team in the division.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the 49ers and Seahawks played a third time in January with the NFC title on the line, just as they did last year.

The winner will play in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Ariz., the home of another NFC West opponent.

The stars are aligned. This is the best division in football and because of that, playing six games against the West will be Seattle’s biggest challenge in 2014.

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  • HD

    I think the cardinals…having lost Washington and Dansby really lost some steam in the their active LB corps…they like Seattle and SF are really dependent on that portion of the roster to produced an effective defensive scheme (run and pass)….S F is still having problems with their secondary…due to cap issues they lost some guys and haven’t got the help from previous drafts…and they lost a defensive staple Whitner (S) to free agency…TE is not deep for SF either…Bowman still has to come back from a serious knee injury..Smith may well be suspended all year…The Rams are still yet to solve their secondary issues…the draft didn’t help much this year….offensively…there is still they mystery of Bradford…in really a make or break year…the advantage that Seattle has over other west opponents is not just their starters…but their depth at almost every area of the field…their offensive line which has been considered their weakest area may well be much more solid this year…what they lack in superstars..Seattle has a young group that Cable really has been building, and some of those fruits may pay off this year…Okung, Carpenter (best shape ever…do or die year), Sweezy (3rd year playing guard,,,20lbs stronger), Unger, and Bowie…Britt, Bailey and Lem are also fairly solid guys…(Britt may even be a starter)…..The other area is special teams…Seattle was ranked #2 in the NFL last year…Seattle has some playing time with their group (and a super bowl)..many of the other teams upgrades will be learning as they go in year one…and chemistry is always an unknown when it comes to the draft and free agency…I think Seattle should actually be the favorite…Their D with the red shirts and starters like Avril, Bennett, Mebane (listed as most under rated player by NFL.com) and Tony Mac…add in some good looking draft picks and Kevin Williams…great secondary and linebackers (need for speed), Offense has superb RB’s, Wilson and Jackson at QB…the WR’s may just simply just be scary this year (supersonic even..no B Ball pun intended)…TE are solid and experienced …Look for Willson to have a breakout year…Seattle has their coaching in tack…their front office…and 4 seasons of the world according to Carol…Even Joe Montana admits something is up in Seattle.

    • JohnPaul Sein

      Cards lost both their starter LBs

      • HD

        Washington was suspended for a year for a 3rd violation of the NFL substance abuse policy…Dansby went to the Browns in free agency

  • JohnPaul Sein

    Challenge accepted…