Monday, December 21, 2015

Playoff Bound-- Seahawks 30 Browns 13

The Seahawks clinched a playoff berth for the 4th consecutive year after a tumultuous start to the season. The way Russell Wilson has been playing these past 5 games makes those early season struggles feel like a distant memory.

Wilson's spectacular, record-setting play in the second half of the season has masked uncertainty on the defensive side of the ball, concerns with the offensive line and what has become a revolving door at running back. He's got his team in position for an entirely probable 3rd consecutive Super Bowl appearance.

It's not just Wilson who's come into form down the late season stretch.  Doug Baldwin has been playing at a Pro Bowl level.  Reserve players like Kelcie McCray, DeShawn Shead, Frank Clark and

Everyone seems to be playing their role and doing their job.

Marcus Burley have stepped up and grown as the season wears on. Luke Willson and Cooper Helfet have risen to the occasion in the absence of Jimmy Graham.

If everything continues on this track, Seattle will most likely be traveling to Washington to play the NFC East Champions in the first set of Wildcard games.  This is an extremely favorable match up for Seattle. While Washington does seem to be the most consistent of the NFC East teams, they have a shaky run game and a quarterback in Kirk Cousins that has more grit than experience.

While the playoffs are guaranteed for the Seahawks, that hardly means their done with the regular season. Seattle must continue to see more out of young players and get healthier going into January. 

Seattle was able to amass 182 yards rushing in a game that featured a backfield of players that were not on this roster just a week ago. Christine Michael displayed a renewed sense of hunger.  Bryce Brown showed us that he's plenty capable of shouldering his share of the load.  Even Derek Coleman showed promise as a short-yardage back.

Ultimately, we'll be counting down the days until Marshawn Lynch returns to the starting lineup, but at least we can take some comfort in knowing that our season isn't completely dependent on Lynch's return. I would be perfectly content on not seeing Lynch until pregame warm ups for the Washington playoff meeting.

The remaining pair of games for this regular season gives Seattle a shot at exacting vengeance on two division rivals that got the better of them in the initial contests.  The Seahawks will take on the Rams at home this coming Sunday before closing out the season in Glendale against the Cardinals.  My hope is that Seattle only rests the players that are recovering from injuries over those next two games. Going into the playoffs with an 11-5 record and the momentum of a 7-game win streak would go a long way in the Seahawks efforts to return to the Super Bowl.

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