The storyline is often about who comes into the playoffs hot, and who just limped in. The Seahawks will write their own story today.
We’ve all heard the classic sports adage, “It’s all about who has the momentum”. That saying doesn’t bode well for the Seahawks today. Seattle struggled with injuries and suspensions down the stretch to lose three of their last four regular-season games. Meanwhile, Green Bay ripped off five straight wins to capture their division. Advantage Packers, right? Not so fast there, cheesehead (I know at least one of you colby-jack-smelling dairy fanatics are out there). The Seahawks make their own momentum, as happens so often in the playoffs.
Let’s see how well momentum worked out for New Orleans. The Saints won six of their last seven games, their only loss by two points to the Niners. Because of that loss, they hosted a first-round game versus the Vikings. Minnesota only won two of their final five games and limped into the postseason. Huge advantage for the Saints, right?
Typical bad pass interference call aside, the Vikes took this one in overtime. It didn’t matter that New Orleans had one of the best passing offenses in the league and that Minnesota was just average in coverage. It didn’t matter that Drew Brees had just completed one of his best seasons ever at the age of 80 – sorry, 40. All that mattered was what happened on the field that day.
Seahawks have to like what Titans have done
If you need more proof, check out the Titans postseason run. Tennessee was 3-2 in December. Granted, that’s a huge improvement on their awful 2-4 start, but they weren’t exactly en fuego. They faced the perennial layoff resident Patriots in the wild-card round. It’s true that New England isn’t used to playing in the first week of the postseason. It’s also true they lost the final regular-season game to the Dolphins to finish December 2-3. So you could argue that the Titans did have a bit of momentum on their side, as their defense and running game smothered the Pats.
But let’s move on to the biggest sample so far. Counting the playoff win, the Titans were 4-2 in their last six games. The Ravens looked at that and just grinned. Baltimore had run off 12 straight wins en route to the NFL’s best record. Now that is Big Mo. The Ravens led the league in scoring and were third in scoring defense. Their average victory margin was 15.5 points. Compare that to the Titans margin, just 4.4 points. The momentum and the stats all pointed to a big Ravens win.
Ask Baltimore fan how that worked out. If you’re in person, duck before you ask, though. Tennessee’s Derrick Henry annihilated the Ravens defense, as the Titans defense shut down Lamar Jackson. Picture that for a moment: the 9-7 wild card team completely crushed the overwhelming 10-point favorites at their place.
Which brings us back to the Seahawks. The odds favor the Packers today, as you can see above. Seattle’s history at Lambeau favors Green Bay as well. But let’s get real here. The history that matters, if it does at all, consists of just one game. That’s it. That’s how many times Pete Carroll, Bobby Wagner, and Russell Wilson have faced the Packers in the playoffs. That was a wild overtime win. Given the Hawks penchant for close contests this year, of course today will go into overtime. And of course, it will end with a Seahawks win.