Below is an excerpt from John Clayton's recent ESPN article citing his personal favorites for the 2013 Super Bowl. He has the Seahawks listed at #4 behind the Bronco's, Patriots, and Packers, and in front of the Atlanta Falcons.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Thanks to the drafting of Russell Wilson at quarterback and how coach Pete Carroll rebuilt the defense, the Seahawks are ready to challenge the 49ers -- who have owned the NFC West the past two seasons -- for the division title.
Now, the Seahawks are ready. The schedule betrayed them in 2012 and cost them a chance to win the division. The NFL gave the Seahawks three division road games early in the season. Wilson, a rookie who took only a third of the snaps in the preseason, wasn't able to pull those early games into victories. As a result, the Seahawks started the season in an 0-3 hole in the NFC West.
They scrambled to finish the season within a half-game of the 49ers. In 2013, you figure the Seahawks will get a fairer distribution of NFC West games and have a better chance of going 4-2 or 5-1 in the division. The Seattle-San Francisco rivalry is growing. Bovada has the Seahawks as the No. 6 favorite at 12-1.
Obviously, I think it's an interesting choice on Clayton's part to omit the 49ers from his top 5. They'd sooner be there than the Falcons at the #5 spot. What do you all think?