Seahawks staring down big opportunity following bye week
By Andy Larkin
The Seattle Seahawks can take their spot in the driver’s seat of the NFC playoff picture with a win on Sunday over the Atlanta Falcons.
The Seahawks woke up on Monday morning well rested and in sole possession of first place in the NFC West. The team now faces a big opportunity to further distance themselves from their fatally flawed division foes and the rest of the NFC.
Even though they didn’t take the field in week 5, the Seahawks still managed to notch a win. Thanks to the Rams faltering against the Bills last weekend, the Hawks now sit alone atop the division. So what’s next?
Former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn brings his 4-1 Falcons to Century Link Field; A win would put Seattle at 4-1 and give them something they’ve struggled to obtain the last two seasons.
A fast start? While the team has shown it can overcome sluggish beginnings in the past, piling up wins early bodes well for the possibility of a first round bye and home field advantage. Every team, even the great ones will (usually) drop a game or two, but that’s why its important to seize each opportunity and create some breathing room early.
Earning a first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs is of critical importance if this team intends to make it back to the Super Bowl. The Seahawks have played in footballs biggest game three times in their history (2005, 2013, and 2014). In each of those three cases they entered the postseason as the number one seed in the NFC and didn’t have to go on the road until Super Bowl Sunday.
Yes, I realize beating the Falcons on Sunday is a long ways away from locking up home field advantage and the conference’s top seed. I also realize it could be a spring board for the Hawks to put themselves in position to achieve just that.
The Seahawks are currently looking up at the Vikings, Cowboys and Falcons in the conference standings. A win over Atlanta would firmly entrench them in the race for the one seed. The three games following Atlanta ( Arizona, New Orleans, and Buffalo) are not necessarily gimmies, but are all extremely winnable. The Seahawks could potentially be sitting at 7-1 heading into the week 10 showdown with New England.
Even if they have a couple of hiccups down the stretch, 12-4 is absolutely attainable for this team. That record should be enough to get Seattle the top seed heading into the postseason.
I would bet a lot of money (if I had it) that Minnesota and Dallas will lose at least four games by the time the regular season concludes. Dallas will realize they still have to play at a high level in December, and as for the Vikings I’m banking on Sam Bradford going back to being Sam Bradford sooner rather than later. I also don’t see Green Bay or Philadelphia keeping pace if Seattle gets on a roll.
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A win against Atlanta on Sunday doesn’t mean the Seahawks will go on to win the Super Bowl. Applying that same logic, a loss won’t completely derail the season. However this game will serve as an important checkpoint for Seattle to stay on track in terms of playoff positioning.
When The Seahawks run out of the tunnel on Sunday they will come face to face with 69,000 screaming fans, a hungry Atlanta team, and a big opportunity. The only thing left to do is seize it.