Only one team can defeat the Seahawks — themselves

Corey Liuget has developed into one of the top defensive linemen in the NFL

Very few teams are capable of limiting Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. Even fewer are capable of outscoring the Broncos, Saints and Packers 102-39.

The Seahawks smothered all three opponents, proving they’re currently the class of the league.

What about the 49ers you say? In the last four meetings Seattle leads the series 3-1. That includes a couple of comprehensive beat-downs, victory in the NFC Championship game and a narrow defeat on the road in a game San Francisco had to have.

It took ‘the tip’ to win the most recent contest — and yet if it wasn’t for some avoidable sloppiness from Seattle, it could’ve been another coast.

In the fourth quarter the Seahawks turned two turnovers (and fantastic field position) into just three points. A Colin Kaepernick fumble and interception should’ve put the game out of sight. Instead the home team kept it close, before prevailing anyway.

Seattle will give teams opportunities like that this season. It’s inevitable.

The Cardinals defeat at Century Link is another great example. Carson Palmer had four interceptions in the game and the Seahawks didn’t capitalise. More often than not if this team emphatically wins the turnover battle, it’ll win handsomely. Not on this day. The receivers didn’t make enough plays, the offensive line struggled and Steven Hauschka missed a chip-shot field goal.

Will anyone beat Seattle by being simply ‘better’?


Just look at what happened to Brees, Manning and Rodgers. Let’s concede the 49ers are the closest thing this Seahawks team has to an equal — and even they are taking various hits this year, whether it’s Aldon Smith’s suspension, numerous injuries on defense or the drama surrounding Jim Harbaugh’s future.

The Seahawks greatest opponent this year will be themselves. If they can limit the number of opportunities they present to opponents, they’ll have as good a chance as any team in recent memory to become repeat champions.

And while managing their own performance may be the toughest test they face this year — they’ll come up against several opponents more than capable of capitalising on sloppy play. San Diego and Denver being great examples.

Speaking of the Chargers, there are two key factors at play on Sunday — damage limitation in the passing game and keeping a lid on Corey Liuget.

Philip Rivers is a tremendous quarterback and he can prevail where other big name QB’s have struggled against this defense. He gets the ball out quickly, he’s accurate. He’s tough as nails. And he would’ve beaten the Cardinals if his receivers hadn’t dropped so many passes on Monday.

Nobody should expect Keenan Allen and Antonio Gates to play that badly again. In Danny Woodhead they face a tricky little opponent who had some success against Seattle in New England. He was quiet in week one but could have a bigger role here.

The Seahawks need to play classic Carroll defense. Play stout against the run and avoid explosive plays. Rivers will complete 20-30 passes in the game. The key is making sure that includes a lot of short conversions and drives that stall close in. If he records 180-220 yards instead of 350, the Seattle defense has done its job.

It’s not a particularly threatening Chargers defense. They’re weak at corner (Brandon Flowers is an injury doubt) and don’t have a top edge rusher. They have got one of the top interior rushers in the game. Liuget is legit. He too is carrying an injury but you have to expect he’ll feature. The Seahawks interior offensive line had a good outing against Green Bay, but it’ll be a much tougher test here.

He’s always had an explosive first step and ideal size, even dating back to his time at Illinois. For a while they tried to convert him to a 3-4 D-end but this current Chargers staff appear to want to utilise him inside. He is the biggest threat to Seattle’s run attack and he’s the most likely to force Russell Wilson out of his comfort zone too.

San Diego are still a tough team to work out under Mike McCoy. Last year they had some impressive wins — they won on the road at Philly, Denver and Kansas City. They also beat the Colts at home. And yet their heaviest defeat of the season was a 27-17 loss at struggling Oakland and they also dropped winnable games against Houston, Washington and Miami.

Not many teams will win in Arizona this year and yet the Chargers should’ve done it on Monday. 0-2 teams have only make the playoffs 12% of the time since 1990. They know they need this game. The Seahawks will win if they play something akin to their best. Anything less and the Chargers have a real chance.


  1. Mark

    Nice article Rob. As well as the Seahawks played last year and the Super Bowl blowout, they left a lot of points on the field. (Re-watch the Super Bowl and you’ll see 15-25 points that could have been.) No game last season had me worried, even the losses.

    Liguit tore up SF’s O-Line in the preseason, but I don’t think that necessarily translates to real games.

    This year is more exciting that last year now that we know what this team is capable of. No Super Bowl or bust, but real excitement to watch games and of course, look to the 2015 draft!

  2. dave crockett

    FYI… Liuget went to Illinois, not Syracuse.

    • dave crockett

      Should go without saying the article is on point.

    • Rob Staton

      Thanks for the note.

  3. MarkinSeattle

    Still most worried about injuries. Now having said that, I could see us losing this game or winning by 20. Will be interesting to watch, that is for sure.

    Incidentally, for home field advantage, this is a must win in my book. We can’t lose a very winnable game against a slightly better than average team. We need to save our loses to Carolina, possibly Denver, SF, and the Cardinals.

    • Ben2

      I feel like the Hawks get up for big games, often playing their most impressive ball. Sometimes I feel they play down to opponents….maybe knowing they’re better and coasting a little. That’s the only thing I would worry about in this gave. Otherwise, there’s a chance we crush them!

  4. Mylegacy

    Rob, I agree.

    We’re unlikely to be beaten – we all think however – we can lose in several ways.

    Our problem is that we understand what happened last year. Our strengths and weaknesses last year. This year we think our DLine is not quite as strong – not last years the interchangeable 7 Samurai – more like the late 60’s early 70’s Jackson Five (very entertaining but not exactly scary – except maybe some of the hair dos).

    We also think our DangeRuss/Harvin/Beast/Carp/Unger/Sweeney offense is better than last year. Herein lies our miscalculation. Our offense is not “better” than last year – it is not “incrementally” improved. It has improved logarithmically not linearly.

    Many of us suspect our offense has entered uncharted territory – this game and the next one against the Broncos will bring the revelation home – we will not be able to deny – we are superior defensively to all our opposition and now we are also superior offensively to all our opposition.

    To paraphrase The Iron Chef show, The Seahawks will reign supreme. To be honest – there won’t be much our opposition can do about it.

  5. CC

    The defense made it much easier for the offense last year. It should be similar this year, but it is likely the D will not be quite as good as last year. The difference this year is that the offense looks like it can be so much better. If the offense can convert a few more touchdowns in the red zone, this team could look more like the team we saw the last half of 2012 when the offense was unstoppable.

    In most games our defense will be as good or better than the opposing offense. Add to that, if healthy, our offense can be as good or better than the opposing defense = a lot of wins.

    I’m travelling the next 2 Sundays – so I’ll be cheering from afar! Go HAWKS!

  6. Ben2

    Had a horrible dream last night and needed to share it w/other 12s….Rams got #1 overall pick and got Mariotta and the fired Fisher and hired Kevin Sumlin. Scary, but (although I didn’t dream it) this action would all be occurring after a repeat by our Hawks!

  7. Forrest

    Rob, you’re a wizard! You basically predicted this game…I do think that the weather played a major role though (110 plus degrees would make anyone wheezy). That being said, our offense looked good for the most part…at least we played it to the very end.

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