This is a guest post by Eddy Rossi. Eddy is a typical Seattle sports fan – loud, proud, and tired of losing.
Prior to Week 1 of this year’s NFL season there was much speculation as to the success of the powerhouse that is the NFC west. Many predictors even believed the NFC West to send 3 teams to the playoffs (SEA, SF, STL). While that might have been somewhat of a bold prediction, understanding the strength of this division is not something to be taken lightly.
We now find ourselves 3 weeks into the season and many NFC West advocates may be eating their words a bit. Two of the would-be playoff team, the San Francisco 49ers and the Saint Louis Rams, have failed to live up expectations so far and find themselves at a disappointing 1-2 record. Also, with one of their defensive playmakers finding himself in hot water (not to mention Kaepernick’s 4 INTs and 2 FUMs), the struggling Niners now find themselves in somewhat of a free-fall into mediocrity.
Now let us look at the St. Louis Rams who, like SF, find themselves 1-2 three weeks in. In my opinion, the Rams are actually in better shape than the 49ers. Unlike the Niners, their one win comes against a divisional opponent (Arizona), leaving them tied with Seattle at the top of the NFC West division. How can the Rams help their case in the West immediately? Well they can start by beating San Francisco on Thursday in St. Louis. In fact, with a win in that game and a little help from “lady luck” the Rams could find themselves in playoff contention by Sunday.
As far as the Arizona Cardinals go, they have had a somewhat quiet start to the 2013-2014 season. After opening with a tight loss to divisional foe St. Louis, then following up with another tight game in which they came out on top of the Lions, last week’s drubbing at the hands of New Orleans, leaves Arizona in last place of the NFC West. Although their record may not show it right now, I’d like to think the Cardinals could be a dark horse this year with Carson Palmer at the helm. However I don’t see this to be true and sense another disappointing season for the Cards.
Now who have I left out? Ahhh yes, my boys the Seattle Seahawks. Currently enjoying their nest at the top of the division, the Seahawks are one of seven teams touting an undefeated record after Week 3. Yes, yes I know, two of those victories have come against a mediocre Carolina squad (on the road) and the last place Jacksonville Jaguars (at home). Don’t forget about Week 2 though! The Hawks haven’t faced the toughest of competition yet, however they did embarrass their rivals to the south on Sunday night primetime when they thumped the “forty-whiners” 29-3. Since 2011, the Niners currently hold a 3-2 series over the Seahawks – however Seattle has managed to outscore San Fran a whopping 111-81 – with 71 of those points coming in the last 2 games.
Needless to say most people across the NFL were a bit surprised by that Week 2 matchup, which many saw as a potential preview of the NFC title game. However one thing was made clear that Sunday night, nobody, I repeat NOBODY, is going to beat Seattle on their home field. After finishing the season undefeated at home in 2012, the Hawks have extended that streak in 2013 to 10 games and show no signs of slowing down soon, largely in part to the infamous fan base in Seattle, the “12TH MAN.” How hostile is the atmosphere in Seattle? Well besides setting the record for “Largest Crowd Roar” on Sept. 15th, 2013 against the Niners, the cacophony of noise that erupts from “The CLink” has been likened to that of a Boeing 747, and has even generated significant seismic activity (see Marshawn Lynch’s “Beast Quake”).
The facts are there and the evidence has been laid out, it may only be Week 3 but the road to the NFC title is looking pretty clear for the Seattle Seahawks. But what about the rest of the NFC?! Let me further persuade you by taking a look at the other 5 teams the NFC sent to the playoffs in 2012. Green Bay, San Francisco (2012 NFC Champs), and the Atlanta Falcons all find themselves at a disappointing 1-2, not to mention some serious concerns at some positions. The other two playoff teams, the Redskins and the Vikings, find themselves amongst the depressing group of six teams without a victory.
I know it is far too early to be making bold predictions, even though the Hawks ARE going to win Super Bowl XLVIII! However it is important to look at the facts and constants that will remain throughout the season *cough* CenturyLink Field *cough*. Therefore, for all those doubters out there, I will leave you with this quote from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King:
“If the road to the Super Bowl goes through Seattle, it’s going to be the biggest disadvantage in recent football history for the road team.” – King, 12s the Magic Number.