Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 7:00 AM
We talked about the rosy outlook for the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC championship picture awhile back. If anything, their future is brighter now than it was at the time. Seattle is in fantastic shape to clinch the #1 seed in the NFC brackets. That would mean home field advantage throughout conference play…at a field where it’s extremely difficult for opponents to win!
*Seattle is 10-1 right now, two games clear of their nearest competition the New Orleans Saints.
*Seattle has a bye this week…to get ready for a HOME game against those very Saints the following week! They could almost mathematically clinch the #1 seed right there with a home win over New Orleans.
*New Orleans still has two games left with surging Carolina…and it will be tough for the Saints to sweep those as they try to chase down Seattle. Should Carolina sweep them and try to make their own run at the #1 seed…well, Seattle already owns the tie-breaker with the Panthers because of a heads-up win.
*Three of Seattle’s last five games are at home. Even if they get upset by the Saints, they’ll still have some margin for error as they try to close out the top spot.
*San Francisco no longer seems to be a truly dangerous threat in the NFC West. The 49ers offense has completely disappeared this year against playoff caliber opposition (Seattle, Indianapolis, Carolina, and New Orleans). Seattle has to visit San Francisco…but will probably be slight favorites on the Vegas spread. (If not, they should be!). That means we’re looking at 15-1 as a possibility, 14-2 as a very reasonable possibility for a final Seahawks record. If they split with New Orleans and San Francisco, but win their other three games against probable non-playoff teams…the top seed is a done deal.
Who’s going to beat Seattle in Seattle in January? Sure, all playoff teams have a puncher’s chance to catch a few breaks and steal a win. It’s a lot harder to catch breaks when your offense has to go to a silent count all day because of crowd noise!
Seattle will be more than a TD favorite in their first playoff game
Seattle will be about a TD favorite in the NFC Championship game
That’s all it takes to reach the Super Bowl…which will be played in cold weather conditions this year in New York. That also favors Seattle! They’re a smash mouth team that would thrive in conditions that limit passing. Denver is still getting the nod in Las Vegas in most Power Ratings. Who would YOU take in a cold-weather Super Bowl? Denver or Seattle?
The media will focus a lot of attention on the high profile NFC East because of TV ratings. They’ll spend a lot of time on the NFC South too since Carolina and New Orleans will face each other twice in December. And, Chicago being in a playoff chase in the NFC North always gets coverage because “Da Bears” have a knack for attracting the spotlight.
As you absorb all that coverage, you need to be particularly focused on how any of those teams would match up with Seattle in January. You’ll get to see the Saints visit there on the first Monday Night of December. If the NY Giants stay hot, their game with Seattle will matter. For the most part, you’ll have to use your understanding of personnel matchups and stat breakdowns to get the right read.
Bottom line today…Seattle may have already won the NFC! All this other stuff is the media trying to keep you from realizing that.
JIM HURLEY knows that you have to keep an eye on the big picture while also zooming in to handicap each game. He thinks he has the postseason figured out…and it might not go as smoothly as some contenders are expecting. You can purchase the rest of the season of football (college through the BCS championship game and NFL through the Super Bowl) right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, talk directly to the NETWORK representative in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155.
Here’s this week’s big game preview schedule for the rest of the here week in the NOTEBOOK:
Thursday: New Orleans at Atlanta on the NFL Network
Friday: early look at Texas A&M at LSU for Saturday’s CBS telecast
Saturday: coverage of the prime time thriller matching Baylor and Oklahoma State on ABC
Sunday: Denver at New England on NBC (Manning vs. Brady!)
Monday: San Francisco at Washington on ESPN’s Monday Night Football
BIG GAMES…which means BIG MONEY thanks to the BIGGEST NAME IN FOOTBALL HANDICAPPING, JIM HURLEY!