For the second year in a row, the Seattle Seahawks got off to a slow start that had the NFL curious about whether their run of dominance was over.
Last season, the Seahawks started 3-3 before going 9-1 over their next ten games.
This season, the swoon lasted a little longer, with Seattle starting 2-4, then going 4-5, looking like they were in serious danger of missing the playoffs.
The defence was lacklustre, Russell Wilson had regressed through nine weeks, and in a top-heavy NFC, the Seahawks were out of the Wild Card race.
However, they have now won three games in a row and five of their last six (the one loss in the last six weeks was the loss that dropped them to 4-5). They’re 7-5, would make the playoffs in the Wild Card if it started today, Russell Wilson is on fire, and the defence is back.
The Seahawks made their loudest statement of their surge in a dominant 38-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings, another team vying for a playoff spot in the NFC. It marked the third time in four games the Seahawks have scored 30 or more points — they scored 29 in the other game.
Russell Wilson has played a huge part in this resurgence. After the first nine weeks, Wilson’s touchdown rate was down, while his interception and sack rates were up. However, over the last three games, Wilson has thrown for 879 yards, rushed for 95, completed 77% of his passes, thrown 11 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Those are monster numbers, and the kind of performances that led the Seahawks to pay Wilson like a franchise quarterback this offseason.
During Wilson’s resurgence, wide receiver Doug Baldwin has suddenly come to life as the Seahawks’ best passing threat. Over his last four games, Baldwin has a total of 433 yards and six touchdowns.
The two connected for two touchdowns vs. the Vikings:
Wilson also looked like he was having fun on the field. He scored his first rushing touchdown of the season and was back to making defenders look silly with his shifty jukes:
While Marshawn Lynch is out recovering from a hernia surgery, backup Thomas Rawls has more than filled in, totaling 391 yards and three touchdowns over the last three weeks. When Lynch is back, the Seahawks will have the luxury of trotting out two capable, bruising running backs on any given possession, thus opening up the field even more for Wilson.
And while the defence began a little flatter than we’re used to, they’re also showing signs of perking up. Going into Week 12, the Seahawks ranked seventh in Football Outsiders defensive DVOA, 11th in the run. Those numbers figure to spike after holding the Vikings to just seven points while limiting Adrian Peterson, the NFL’s best running back, to just 18 yards.
For the second straight game, the Seahawks have forced interceptions and then turned those turnovers into points. When the defence is playing with the type of ferocity the NFL world has come to expect over the last two years, it becomes extremely hard to beat this team, particularly if the offence is rolling, too.
The Seahawks are also peaking at the right time. After a difficult stretch of games, the Seahawks’ next three come against the Ravens, Browns, and Rams. While a Week 17 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals looms large, if the Seahawks take care of business over the next three weeks, going into Week 17 with a 10-5 record should cement them for a playoff spot, regardless of the outcome vs. the Cardinals.
And if the Seahawks make it into the postseason riding a hot streak, there won’t be a scarier team in the NFL.
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