Are The Seahawks Contenders In The NFC?

They’re sucking me in, man! I still can’t say that I’m all the way there yet, even though we’re 5-3 and in first place in the NFC West by a full game. Even though we just beat the 6-win Giants a week after a pretty convincing road victory over the probably playoff-bound Chargers.

But, I’m getting there. At some point, the Seahawks are going to keep winning football games, and I’m going to have no choice but to believe. At least believe in something. Is this a championship-contending team? PROBABLY not. I still think the Bills, Eagles, and Chiefs are the class of the NFL. I would also say that Dallas most likely beats us in any sort of meaningful contest. And, sure, we’ll lose other games to other teams as well. But, when you flip it and ask, “Who could the Seahawks beat on any given Sunday?” The answer is pretty considerable. I think we’re getting to the point where there isn’t a team we couldn’t hypothetically defeat. But, if you had me choose, I think those aforementioned four teams would be my pick 100 out of 100 times.

I also don’t want to take away anything from the Giants – I did have them ranked in the top tier of my power rankings last week – but they’re clearly a flawed team. Why anyone would have a team with Daniel Jones in their top tier is anyone’s guess. But, they also do a lot of things well. They run the ball with the best of ’em. They play defense at a great clip. They block for their quarterback, who can scramble around and make just enough plays to be somewhat effective (as long as he’s not fumbling or otherwise giving the ball away to the other team).

And yet the Giants were really out-classed by the Seahawks in this one. It was a 27-13 victory, but it could’ve been so much more without some uncharacteristic mistakes by Tyler Lockett (who had a critical fumble and a dropped touchdown, before redeeming himself with a TD in the fourth quarter).

Geno Smith wasn’t exactly electric in this one (23 of 34 for 212, 2 TDs, and 0 INTs), but he was also under duress for the entire game. And we never really got our running game going, though Walker did salvage his day with a late 16-yard TD run. But, the defense once again made some real hay!

We had 5 sacks on the day – 2 by Nwosu, who is absolutely the real deal, in all facets of the game – and likely would’ve held the Giants’ offense without a touchdown if it weren’t for the muffed punt by Lockett. Tariq Woolen is already a guy teams are avoiding throwing against (I don’t think he was targeted until the second half in this one), and with the adjustments we’ve made up front (with the D-Line being more aggressive and attacking single gaps as opposed to trying to play two gaps like they were early in the season), we’ve gotten opposing running games under control, while letting the players do what they’re best at. We held Saquon Barkley to 53 yards on 20 carries for crying out loud!

So, that begs the question: can the Seahawks compete in the NFC? Are we really doing this?!

Look, I had legitimate questions about this team winning three games all year. Yet, here we are, having won three in a row, and four of our last five. On the horizon, there are opponents who were quite scary heading into the season, who now look like potential cannon fodder. Could I see us winning in Arizona next week? You mean, our home away from home? Absolutely I could! Could we beat the Bucs in Germany? Yes, very much so, they’ve looked horrible this season. Can we take down the Raiders, Rams, Panthers, Jets, and 49ers at home? Why not? The hardest game looks to be at Kansas City on Christmas Eve, but I remember us playing Patrick Mahomes pretty tough the last time we faced them, so I wouldn’t throw that out either.

The Seahawks can very much compete in this NFC. That doesn’t mean I’m all in. They could also struggle against the Rams like they always do. The 49ers still look like they’re loaded on both sides of the ball. And I don’t think there’s any catching the Eagles this year for the one seed.

So, what I’m really saying is that it’s all still on the table. We could keep winning and get as high as the two seed. Or, we could fall apart again and drop out of the playoffs. But, I’m willing to put my faith in at least a wild card run, with a very good chance at winning the suddenly questionable NFC West.

What can’t be denied is that this is a fun team, and a fun development. When your expectations are nil, and the team you root for comes from out of nowhere to not only compete, but look really good doing it? On top of being a very young team, and watching those young players compete at a high level? It’s great! This is as close to an ideal outcome as you could get.

Starting this week, I’m coming at this season with a new mindset. I’m out of Tank Mode. That was really ripped away from me anyway, so it would be foolish to root for tanking now. I’m also ready to climb down off of the fence. I don’t know if I’ve taken the Seahawks once this year in my pick ’em league, always expecting the other shoe to eventually drop. But, now I have to treat this team like I would any other above-average team. They’re good. They have a lot going for them. They can beat anyone. Now it’s time to invest. It’s time to start rooting for wins, rooting for us to take down the division, rooting for various playoff scenarios.

This is a gift. An unexpected pleasant surprise. So, it’s time to start really relishing in our great fortune. It’s been a rough last few years, with everything in decline and only Russell Wilson there to prop up our hopes. Oddly enough, it turns out, he was also the one holding us back. Now, we’re free from that see-saw, and it’s all good vibes going forward. Everything is gravy. So, let’s fuck around and see what happens!

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