Rick Scuteri/AP/Press Association Images The Seahawks made a big Super Bowl statement last night.
The Redzone: While everyone was sleeping, Seattle became Super Bowl favourites
Could Seattle become the first team in ten years to win back-to-back Super Bowls.

EVEN AS THE blue and green confetti rained down on Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman and the rest of the Seahawks in MetLife stadium last February, some of us were already asking if  Seattle – who had just won their first ever Super Bowl – could become the first team since the 2005 New England Patriots to win back-to-back championships.

The bookies agreed, making Pete Carroll’s team the early favourites with many believing their age profile – they were the fourth youngest team at 26.5 years to win a Super Bowl – and lack of big names heading for free agency put them in the perfect position to become just the ninth team to repeat their Super Bowl success.

Indeed, so difficult is picking yourself up after a Super Bowl win, no team has even won a postseason game the year after winning the world championship in ten seasons.

Seattle looked like being another hard luck story when, by week seven, they were sitting on 3-3 while both their divisional rivals – Arizona Cardinals (5-1) and San Francisco 49ers (4-3) – had winning records.

The Seahawks looked anything like world beaters and, at that stage, were in real danger of not making the playoffs at all.

Narrow wins over the Panthers and Raiders followed and though a big victory over the Giants heralded what looked like a return to the form of 2013/14 team, they lost in week 11 to the Chiefs, failing to convert on fourth down three times in the final quarter.

Since then, the Seahawks have belied the toughest schedule in the NFC to win five in a row against genuine playoff contenders. Even more impressively they’ve limited opponents to an average of 6.6 points per game, not conceding a touchdown in three of them.

Their offence has also clicked into gear, racking up 22.8 points per game over the same period and, while that’s still a long way off the Patriots’ league leading 30.6 ppg, the fact they’ve only conceded four touchdowns once this season means it is, more often than not, a winning total for Seattle.

Marshawn Lynch runs in for a touchdown against the Cardinals Sunday night

So, while five weeks ago the Seahawks were in contention for the last wildcard spot in the NFC, they are now – thanks to last night’s 35-6 demolition of the Cardinals – the number one team not just in the NFC West but in the entire conference and know a win next week against the Rams in Seattle will secure them a first round bye and home advantage throughout the playoffs.

That home advantage cannot be overstated. CenturyLink Field in Seattle is, quite simply, a fortress. Since 2012 the Seahawks have won 23 of 25 games (including playoffs) in front of the 12th man compared to 11 losses on the road in 27 games over the same period.

In short, Seattle at home are virtually unbeatable and while their odds of winning the Super Bowl have varied from 9/2 to 17/2, they are now rightly installed as 5/2 favourites.

While there’s still time for an unexpected team to hit a hot streak – it happened the Giants twice in recent years – few would bet against the blue and green confetti raining down once more in the University of Phoenix Stadium come 1 February 2015.

As it happened: NFL week 16 early games Sunday Night hangout

James Harden has perfected one of the best moves in basketball

Your Voice
Readers Comments