Man, what a ride! Here we are, it’s the end of the regular season, and the bottom 20 teams have been chopped off, not to play another meaningful down until next September. 20 different fanbases at various points of unrest, mourning a season’s premature end. And that number is going to increase by the week. Two by two by two. Until finally, when the clock stops ticking at the end of the Super Bowl, when there’s but one team standing. One fanbase remaining, left to celebrate while everyone else looks on with equal parts jealousy and resentment.
We’ve been there. Every year of our existence, we as Seahawks fans have done just that. Watched. Watched as others celebrated. The Seahawks have been among the very worst and the very best, but we haven’t been THE best. At one point or another, every season has ended; there are 32 teams in the league and 31 losers. For 37 years, we’ve been losers. It’s time to end that streak. Now is the time. Not “someday”, not “in the future”, now.
It’s a little obscene the way it all goes down. You play 16 games in 17 weeks just to get to this point. Then, you play 2-3 games to get to the Super Bowl. And then it’s just one game. One game to define your whole season! At least in other pro sports, you get a series! Or multiple series! In football, if you have one bad game, you’re fucked. One bad series, one bad play, that could be all it takes.
It makes you wonder, how many times does the true “best team” actually win it all? For that matter, how many times is the “best team” the team with the best win/loss record? There are stats that will break everything down, but ultimately can they be trusted? You can use numbers to make almost any argument you want to make. Which numbers hold more weight? It’s as subjective as this here Power Rankings list, if you want to be honest. Besides, in the end, no one gives a shit about the numbers. It’s all about the team that wins the game on the field.
I’m not sitting here trying to disparage stat-heads. By many accounts, if we chose the best team by the numbers, the Seattle Seahawks would be your world champs in 2013. But, where’s the fun in that? No, I’m not making fun of something I don’t understand; I’m just trying to wrap my head around the inconceivable. All of this. All the time we’ve spent with this team, through the last few decades and through the last few months, it all boils down to what’s going to happen in the next five weeks.
It starts this weekend. What happens in the Wild Card weekend affects us pretty obviously: it determines who the Seahawks play next week. You can break that down even further: some controversial play in one of the games might decide its outcome; and the butterfly effect takes hold.
The Seahawks can mitigate a lot of the chance involved on this journey by simply playing their best. The Seahawks, playing their absolute best, are better than every other team playing its best. But, there are so many other factors out there trying to prevent us from being our best, it’s useless to try to keep track.
All we can do is hope. Hope our best guys get (and stay) healthy. Hope more lucky bounces go our way than against us. Hope we’re blessed with favorable matchups. We’ve already taken one of the giant steps: we’ve got a first-round BYE and home field advantage throughout. But, those two things alone won’t win us through to the Super Bowl. Our fans won’t be able to yell us through to the Super Bowl. Cold and wet northwest weather won’t freeze us through to the Super Bowl. Our players have to go out there, survive the opponents, survive the refs, and survive the luck element.
It’s up to the Seattle Seahawks. We, as fans, are completely powerless. All we can do (aside from yelling and screaming from the stands), is hope. We’re in the best possible position, with the best possible home field advantage. Now, we’ve got three more games.
Please, for the love of God, don’t fuck this up, Seahawks.
On to the rankings.
- Seattle Seahawks (13-3) – We’re a flawed Super Bowl contender, but then again, who isn’t?
- Denver Broncos (13-3) – Peyton Manning certainly seems to be a man on a mission this year. Moreso than in years past.
- Carolina Panthers (12-4) – That’s how you TCB at home against an inferior opponent to lock up the first-round BYE. Let the opposing team’s center hike the ball to no one as they’re driving for the game-winning score.
- San Francisco 49ers (12-4) – Since I now fear only Peyton Manning, and all the great defenses, San Francisco gets a little Power Rankings Bump.
- New England Patriots (12-4) – It’s a nice story, and a helluva coaching job by Belichick, but this train is going to derail before the Super Bowl. Mark my words.
- New Orleans Saints (11-5) – I want you, Saints! You probably scare me the LEAST! Your defense will be a nice little boost for our offense, which could use the shot in the arm.
- Indianapolis Colts (11-5) – I feel like the Colts will be favored over the Chiefs – who they recently beat, on the road – but I still don’t like the Colts to win that game. Call me crazy!
- Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) – They benched all those guys and still played a helluva game. You gotta like that if you’re a Chiefs fan.
- Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) – OK, so it’s the Eagles I fear the least, but the odds are pretty much 0% that we face the Eagles in the playoffs; there’s no way in HELL they make it to the NFC title game.
- Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) – San Diego at Cincinnati could be the best game of the week, or the ugliest. Depends on which Philip Rivers and which Andy Dalton we see. Consider this one a complete toss-up.
- Arizona Cardinals (10-6) – Here’s the world’s smallest violin just for the Cardinals not making the playoffs.
- Green Bay Packers (8-7-1) – I was gonna call you out for not going for two points, but you won, so I guess the ends justifies the means? No? It doesn’t? Your coach is going to fuck up something crucial in the playoffs? OK, got it.
- San Diego Chargers (9-7) – I never thought you had it in you. And you very nearly didn’t, thanks to the KC kicker missing a chip-shot.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) – Steelers! You almost made me the smartest man in the room! If I’m remembering correctly, I picked you to make it into the playoffs before the season started. It’s too bad, because there’s nothing I would have rooted harder for than a rematch of Super Bowl XL.
- Baltimore Ravens (8-8) – Anyone else relieved that we don’t have to see the Ravens in the playoffs? Not because I’m afraid they’d make the Super Bowl. Just because I’m sick of watching their brand of boring football.
- Chicago Bears (8-8) – Cut Jay Cutler.
- Miami Dolphins (8-8) – I wish I could go back in time and skull-fuck all the morons who thought the Dolphins would make the playoffs.
- St. Louis Rams (7-9) – Part of me hopes the Rams trade their #2 overall draft spot for more draft picks. But, that’s the same part of me that wants their sinking ship to go down with Sam Bradford.
- Dallas Cowboys (8-8) – You mean, it’s NOT just Tony Romo who throws late-game picks? What is this world coming to?
- New York Giants (7-9) – Watch out for those Giants in 2014 … if they can figure out a way to get younger in a hurry on the defensive side of the ball.
- New York Jets (8-8) – Steelers fans have to LOVE the Jets for their effort the last two weeks. It didn’t work out, but you’ve got some love from the steel workers of America.
- Detroit Lions (7-9) – Way to bend over and take the second half of the season up the ass.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12) – Holy crap, they fired the coach. Finally!
- Atlanta Falcons (4-12) – So long, Tony Gonzalez.
- Buffalo Bills (6-10) – Whatever.
- Cleveland Browns (4-12) – You fire your coach after one year? What, is his name Jim Mora or something?
- Tennessee Titans (7-9) – I got nothing.
- Minnesota Vikings (5-10-1) – Did Leslie Frazier deserve to be fired? I would argue not! Yes, they were bad, but that’s due to roster construction. Fire the GM! Frazier turned almost this exact team into a playoff team in 2012; now he’s unfit, one year later? I don’t get it. On a related note, isn’t it depressing when a bad team’s only good player is a running back? At best, all he can do is get you IN the playoffs, but he can’t help you advance unless he has the proper pieces around him. (See: Barry Sanders). I really feel for Adrian Peterson. If it’s any consolation, it’s only a matter of time before the Seahawks trade for him (since, apparently, that’s where we get all of our players now).
- Oakland Raiders (4-12) – Yup.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12) – Your 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars! (actually, that’s YOUR St. Louis Rams player who verbally abused the ref in Sunday’s game, but I couldn’t find a good one for the Jags this week)
- Washington Redskins (3-13) – Is there more of a no-brainer than firing Shanahan? On an unrelated note, is there any way to get Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones together, managing one team? Some men (me) just want to watch the world burn.
- Houston Texans (2-14) – Take that trip to Disneyland, Texans, you’ve earned it.