After three weeks of the 2013 NFL season, only seven teams stand at 3-0. The Seahawks, being one of those teams, are quite possibly the best of said bunch. They beat a stingy Carolina Panthers on the road in the eastern time zone (their nemesis), and then proceeded to hand out two consecutive beat downs. First to the failing San Francisco 49ers and then to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. The Seahawks stand atop a handful of power rankings and continue to be heavily favored to head to the Super Bowl if not win it out right. Now, over the next two weeks, the Seahawks will put this confidence to the test as they hit the road against two quality opponents. Can the Seahawks win it all this year? Can they climb to 5-0? The next two weeks will be a surefire test as to the will of the Seattle Seahawks and how likely of a Super Bowl contender they truly are.
Week 4: @ Houston Texans 2-1
The Texans have won two games by the skin of their teeth. In Week 1 it wasn’t so much the quality of their team that allowed for the miraculous come from behind, rather it was the ghost of Norv Turner that doomed the San Diego Chargers to blow a 21 point, third quarter lead. In Week 2 they battled into over time against their AFC South rival Tennessee Titans, a team which they always have trouble with no matter how bad the Titans actually are. This year the Titans are better than average and the Texans snuck out a win in OT with an amazing TD from rookie ninja wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. In Week 3 the Texans were blown out by the Baltimore Ravens as Matt Schaub threw a pick 6 and special teams allowed a kick return for another touchdown.
But don’t be fooled by this team’s luck over the first three weeks. Know that this is still a very capable and dangerous team. The Houston home crowd and the 10am Pacific start time (another nemesis), also add multiple levels of difficulty for the traveling Seahawks. The Seahawks will be coming into Houston a healthy and rested team. They pulled their starters in the third quarter against Jacksonville and even the injuries sustained in that game, such as Brandon Mebane’s back, were minor.
So with an almost complete defensive unit, the goal will be to control the line of scrimmage to slow down the potent Arian Foster and Ben Tate. If the defense can stifle the Texans’ run game they will force Matt Schaub into an air war with the best secondary in the NFL. It’s a war they’ll lose. The Seahawks pass rush, through not adept at racking up sacks, is very good at collapsing pockets and forcing QBs out of their comfort zone. Schaub is not a very mobile quarterback, meaning that he’s not very fast and doesn’t throw well on the run.
On offense, the focus needs to be the same; control the line. This will open run lanes into a porous Texans’ secondary for big gains on the ground. When passing, the Seahawks should work to move the pocket rather than try to create a stable zone against a fast and effective Texans’ rush. Russell Wilson’s speed and mobility is an excellent counter to the speedy giants that are the Texans’ front seven.
The Seahawks should come away from Houston 4-0. This is a game they can and should clearly win. Can the Seahawks O-line protect Wilson and can Matt Schaub shrug off last week’s sloppy performance? I see Schaub being frustrated and harassed all day by the Seattle D and the Seattle offense using a sliding pocket to confuse the Texans’ D. Seahawks 24, Texans 10.
Week 5: @ Indianapolis Colts 2-1
The Colts, who should be 3-1 come Week 5 because they play the unfortunate Jaguars in Week 4, are a bit of an enigma. It’s hard enough to predict a game a week in advance, let alone two, but just who are the Colts? They barely beat the Oakland Raiders in Week 1 at home, coming from behind to do so. They drop a close one to a rising Miami Dolphins team at home in Week 2 and then blow out the aforementioned collapsing 49ers in Week 3. They picked up Trent Richardson who will definitely not hurt their run game and quarterback Andrew Luck looks strong in his sophomore season so far. But the Colts haven’t been tested yet and won’t be tested until the Seahawks show up in Week 5.
Though it’ll be yet another dreaded 10 a.m. kickoff for the team from the Pacific Northwest, expect the Seahawks to walk away with this one handily. The Colts do not have the defense that Houston or even Carolina has. The Colts are giving up 341 yards a game while the Seahawks offense is earning an average of 379 yards a game. And as for the Seahawks defense, a defense only surrendering an average of nine points a game, they should have little trouble throttling the Colts’ offense. Seahawks 35, Colts 9.
There should be no doubt that this is a playoff team. And there should be little doubt that this is a Super Bowl team. But that’s why they play the games. There is always something to work on, something to compete for, something to improve. Should the Seahawks return to Century Link Field in Week 6 5-0, they will have taken a giant step in their evolution in becoming a championship team. These next two weeks are the sort of tests that make championship teams. We all know the Seattle Seahawks can win at home. Now is the time to take that next step and win on the road, consistently.