I have to admit-- there's a part of me that wants to see Marshawn Lynch miss a game or two this year.
Not because I want to see more of what we have in Robert Turbin and Christine Michael-- but to have a full display for everyone to see just how much Lynch means to the success of this team.
Think about it: There was a point in yesterday's victory over Oakland where Seattle was without it's starting Pro Bowl Left Tackle, their starting Left Guard, their starting Pro Bowl Center and left with only their converted defensive lineman at Right Guard and a rookie Right Tackle.
That's enough of an excuse for any team to lose a game-- but not a team that has Marshawn Lynch.
Despite the injury woes and the Percy Harvin blowback, Lynch finished the game with 143 all-purpose yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns. Don't get me started on how much more impressive his stats could have been if the offense could've shown an iota of restraint and execution. Lynch had gains of 43, 20 and 11 yards wiped out by dumb penalties yesterday and many other such examples throughout this season.
Richard Sherman is the mouth of the organization that brings the swagger the defense is predicated on. Russell Wilson is the face of the franchise that embodies excellence, hard work and competition. Marshawn Lynch is the best player on this team. Period.
At this point, Seattle would be foolish to not make an effort to ensure that Lynch finishes his career here. Perhaps his cap number doesn't fit for next season-- but I assure you, he's not yet done being an elite back. It's unlikely Michael or Turbin will ever come close to Lynch's level of production and reliability based on what we've seen. That's not to say they won't be good franchise running backs-- we certainly haven't seen enough of them to make any concrete judgments. Lynch is simply extraordinary.
Now that I have that rant out of my system, let me explain why I feel Seattle is in a great position to not only make the playoffs, but win the division.
I know what you're thinking: Seattle barely defeated the lowly Raiders! How can we possibly be getting that far ahead of ourselves to talk about winning the division?
Let's start with the Cardinals, who are an impressive 7-1. They've suffered some tremendous setbacks with injuries-- but they've also caught a lot of breaks. They have a favorable schedule and squeaked out some wins that they might not have if not for a few plays. It remains to be seen whether the Cards have the depth to make a serious push. It's only a matter of time before the wheels come off, if you ask me. Bruce Arians is a helluva coach, though, and once he gets a few seasons to build his roster-- we'll need to be on high alert. As for this season, I'm not sweating the Cardinals.
The 49ers are sitting at .500 right now. That's right-- the 49ers are MEDIOCRE. I love that! Best of all, they're not in nearly the same injury predicament that the rest of the NFC West teams are. They're just plain choking right now and on pace to miss the playoffs. Unfortunately, after this weekend's game against the Saints, they've got a pretty weak schedule outside of the divisional games.
Still, Seattle is going to be in the driver's seat. They'll start getting key players back from injury as soon as this weekend. It's going to be on Pete Carroll and his staff to make the best of what they have while playing to the strengths of the players available.