Wow. It's been a long time since I've written a fanpost here. Possibly because I work at another SB Nation site *cough*shameless plug*cough*.
Anyway, the Seahawks play this weekend and for the first time since 2005 I cannot see them on local TV. I'm now in Long Island, New York where I will be subjected to a ton of awful Giants and Jets games on a weekly basis, which essentially make it impossible to watch them play unless they're on national TV or playing the Giants. But that's okay, there are other excellent ways to get around that, and I WILL avert my eyes from the disaster that is Rex Ryan's experimental disaster.
Can the Seahawks make the Super Bowl this year? Absolutely. They've kept virtually all of their best talent, acquired more talent, and have the rare luxury of above-average to elite levels of offense, defense, AND special teams. All of their losses were by 7 pts or less, they went 8-0 at home, and the only time they conceded 30 pts was unfortunately against Atlanta. Are all of those things sustainable for this year? Probably not. But do those statistics suggest this team is on the rise and a legitimate contender? You're damn right it does.
With that in mind, here are some basic goals the Seahawks need to achieve, and none of them have anything to do with winning the Super Bowl:
1.) Get a first round bye. The Seahawks can win a road game in the postseason. They cannot win two. That's too much to ask. Seattle sports teams are not built to win on the road and that spans across every sport since 1980. It's not really explainable beyond "jet lag" and "the team sucks". If the Seahawks can get a top 2 seed then they should be the favorites to go to the Super Bowl. Only the Rams have come into Seattle and won a playoff game at Qwest/CLink, and that was due to an enormous amount of drops from Seahawks receivers. Everyone else has come into the cauldron of noise and exited with complimentary golf clubs. While nothing is guaranteed, claiming the NFC West and entering the divisional round with a home game is about as comfy a feeling that they're going to the NFC Championship Game as you could possibly get. A #1 seed is ideal, but a #2 seed at least gives us the possibility that they'll go to Green Bay and win 63-0 on an incredible 9 touchdown performance from Golden Tate.
2.) Win in Arizona JUST ONCE god dammit. I really don't know why Seattle takes a shit all over themselves in Arizona's fancy stadium. The stadium was opened in 2006, and the Seahawks are 1-6 with losses by 6, 3, 13, 11, 3, and 4 points. They've held the lead in all but one of those games and routinely found a way to screw it all up. Arizona is terrible and so is Carson Palmer. This game is on a Thursday night, so Seattle will have to travel on a short week to play them. I'm tired of losing to John Skelton and Matt Leinart-led teams, and the run of close defeats in the desert ends NOW.
3.) Cheat Less. Go the whole season without a positive drug test, and preferably without adderall involved. It's not a good look when your rise from 5-11 doldrums under Jim Mora to 11-5 coincides with a shit ton of drug suspensions. I don't give a damn if the team is "likable" or not, but I DO prefer my favorite team avoiding 4-8 game bans because they knowingly took a verboten substance. Bruce Irvin should be the LAST adderall suspension.
4.) Cut the defensive meltdowns. There's no way an NFL defense is going to be impervious to the 4th quarter winning drive every single week, but the Seahawks managed to fuck it up far too many times last year. This includes losses to Detroit, Miami, and Atlanta. They nearly sunk the season in Chicago after Golden Tate's go-ahead touchdown, so Russell Wilson decided "fuck this, I'm going for the touchdown" in overtime. Seattle's defense is unquestionably one of the best in the NFL, but last year saw too many winnable games thrown away because of the opposing team's offense marching all over the Seahawks defense in the closing stages. I trust the players to learn from past mistakes and I trust Dan Quinn to be a great defensive coordinator. Properly close out close games like every other elite NFL team and ... oh who am I kidding? We're going to win every game by at least 17 points, and both 49ers games by 50.