Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
You know that Seattle has been good recently, but how good have they really been? Ridiculously so.
It's starting to get to the point where I think people no longer think the Seahawks (and especially Russell Wilson) are fallible. It's been so long since Seattle has lost a game by more than a touchdown (25 straight games) that it seems like no matter what happens in any given game, we have a chance. I have so much confidence in this team that if it were girls, I'd be able to get dates. Maybe even several of them!
However, that can be dangerous. This team, like any team, is fallible. Russell Wilson, like any quarterback, makes mistakes. When Wilson makes a mistake, let's not go around saying that the sun was in his eyes or that he got distracted when he sensed that a school bus caught fire in New Jersey and so he needed to fly away and save them at halftime. No, he just got his ass saved by Doug Baldwin or Marshawn Lynch and that's that.
(Hypocrite warning: Notice that after the fumble on the exchange to Lynch, Wilson leaps at the football first and manages to pop it out for Lynch to grab. I'm not saying this his intent was anything other than trying to fall on the football, but no yes he definitely drew it up like that.)
The Seahawks are now one win away from going to conference championship game for the third time in franchise history. I think we get so distracted by the micro that we forget about the macro so read that last sentence again. That really makes this game one of the most important we've ever had, especially considering that Seattle might be the best team in the NFL right now and there are no guarantees about next season. Please, please, please keep winning. Luckily, I ain't 2 proud 2 beg and I also ain't 2 shy 2 say that I think the Seahawks are going to advance. I'm not here to make any guarantees, but just give my opinion about the game at hand and the thing about Seattle that makes me so confident over Atlanta is simple.
Since the middle of the year, Seattle has been better than anyone and significantly better than the Falcons. And I'm more concerned about what you've done lately than what you did months ago. My biggest motto: "More cushion for the pushin' goes both ways ladies, don't forget that when you see my online dating photos." Pete Carroll's biggest motto: "It's not how you start, it's how you finish."
Put it this way: If you only looked at the second half of the season, the final eight regular season games, which of these teams would be the favorite? In fact, which of these teams would be a heavy favorite? Imagine that this is actually Week 9 and these teams records and results were only from the second half of 2012. Here would be the matchup:
Seahawks, 7-1, +161
Falcons, 5-3, +43
Over the last eight games of the regular season, Seattle's point differential is nearly four times bigger than Atlanta's. Now you could throw out the Falcons final loss to the Bucs when they were not playing a full team, and certainly a 7-1 NFC team at a 6-2 NFC team would be one of the highlights of that weeks schedule, but there would be no denying that one team was steamrolling the NFL and the other team was gently laying blankets over the NFL.
I wouldn't say I was confident against the Patriots this year, but I picked us to win and I meant it. I called the Bears overrated when they were 7-1 and people said I was jinxing Seattle. I wouldn't even say that Atlanta is overrated because people are smarter than to just think that your record is what you are. That's pretty well proven by a #1 seed at home in the NFC is only favored by 2.5 points.
The #1 seed in the best conference with a record better than the Packers, 49ers, Seahawks, and Patriots, isn't even favored by a field goal at home against a Wild Card team, which basically means that most people expect Atlanta to lose.
So no, the Falcons are not overrated. I would say that people are rating them exactly as they are: A good team, with a solid quarterback, three great receiving options, and an opportunistic defense. These kinds of teams win Super Bowls all of the time.
In 2010, the Packers had no running game, no run defense, the best receiving core in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers, and forced the sixth most turnovers in the NFL.
In 2009, the Saints had a running game, but had no run defense, not a great pass defense, finished 25th in total defense. However, they had Drew Brees, great receivers, and finished second in turnovers forced.
Right now, the Falcons have no running game, no run defense, not a great pass defense, but they have Ryan, Roddy, Julio, Tony, and finished fifth in turnovers forced.
Yes, I think that Atlanta can win the title this year. You're a Falcons fan and you were just itching to bitch me out and now what are you gonna do? I just made a pretty good argument for you. Wait, dammit, what side am I on again? I know it's one of the bird ones. I wish that there was a team named "The #1 Stunnas" and Birdman was the mascot. I'm babbling again, where was I? Oh yeah. Go Hawks.
To get back on track, I do think that the Falcons have a real shot at a Super Bowl this year for those reasons I lined out. I will have to write an article today on SBNation about why Atlanta will win the Super Bowl (It's a series. Everyone in the playoffs gets a Super Bowl winning scenario. It's a crazy year.) and I think I can make a pretty good argument. But when I write those Super Bowl articles, half of the article is about why that team won't win the championship. For the Falcons, I don't think they will get there because I don't think they'll win Sunday. It's as simple as that. Why not?
The Seahawks provide an obstacle that can stop a team with a Super Bowl winning formula; They are too well-rounded on offense and defense to be expected to lose.
This is why the Seahawks are 8-1 over their last nine games and outscoring opponents by an average of 19 points per game. The 16-0 New England Patriots of 2007 outscored opponents by an average of 19.7 points per game. If this was the tenth game of the season, I don't think there would be much doubt that Seattle was the best team in the NFL. This is why I am confident for Sunday. Which means absolutely nothing because 2007 New England Patriots.
Falcons fans, sorry if you think I'm being mean. You should have confidence in your team too because Ryan is good, Julio Jones is one of my favorite players to watch in the league, Roddy White has been my go-to fantasy receiver for years, and Tony Gonzalez deserves some sort of medal for being ridiculously talented + ridiculously handsome. He's like Channing Tatum in G.I. Joe because he's a badass but also something the ladies can like. However, I'm going to have confidence in my team too.
Seahawks fans, I just think you have every right to expect a win on Sunday. You might not get it, because this is professional football and the team is more capable of error than you might think, but go ahead and expect it. This is maybe the best Seahawks team you've ever seen.