January 4, 2013

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Why the Seattle Seahawks Are The NFL’s Most Dangerous Playoff Team

By: Matt Bowen

Coming into the 2012 NFL season the Seattle Seahawks were the league’s most puzzling team. Now, just days away from the playoffs, the Seahawks are the NFL’s most dangerous team.

Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks are taking a lot of momentum into the playoffs.

Last offseason the organization brought in quarterback Matt Flynn to be the starter, a move that was promising but unproven. Bringing in a career backup quarterback to become the franchise cornerstone hasn’t had positive results of late in the NFL.

Draft day brought them a first-round pick in defensive end Bruce Irvin from West Virginia that caused Twitter to explode with laughter. The Seahawks got the last laugh as Irvin tallied eight sacks in his rookie campaign. His speed off the edge gives every team a dynamic they must have to be considered a winner.

Heading into training camp, the team had a three-way duel for the starting quarterback with incumbent Tarvaris Jackson, the aforementioned Flynn and surprise rookie quarterback Russell Wilson from Wisconsin. Jackson was traded before the season even began and Flynn has only thrown nine passes all season long. It was Wilson who won the job outright and has made the most of his opportunity.

In a season that was touted as the best quarterback class to ever enter the NFL, Wilson is a major reason why. Sure, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and Washington Redskins shot caller Robert Griffin III went Nos. 1 and 2 in the 2012 NFL draft, but it was Wilson who tied Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning for touchdown tosses by a rookie with 26.

So, why is Wilson so good?

Because he doesn’t do much wrong, he makes smart plays and doesn’t try to be a hero on every snap. One would say he’s wise beyond his years. In comparison to Manning’s rookie season, Wilson has thrown just 10 interceptions all season while Manning chucked up a whopping 28.

Wilson’s mobility also helped in his success this season, knowing when to tuck-and-run while having the football IQ of when to get down and live to see another day. His solid 5.2 yards/carry on 94 runs with four touchdowns proves to be a viable weapon in his arsenal.

He doesn’t wow all the time, but his calm demeanor in the face of adversity is to be respected. Truth is he does just about everything right. His quarterback rating of an even 100 is evidence of this, which was good for fourth-best in the league this season behind Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, Manning and Griffin III.

Nothing helps a rookie like a proven, tough-as-nails veteran running back like Marshawn Lynch. “Beast Mode” is his nickname and he fits the bill. He finished with 1,590 rushing yards this season and has 2,794 in his first two full seasons in Seattle. Thanks to the balance that Lynch brings to the offense it must be a nightmare for opposing coaches to try to create a game plan to stop the Seahawks.

Not to be overlooked, the team has arguably the loudest fans in the league and their 8-0 record at home this season gives weight to this debate. The “12th Man” is impressive on a weekly basis.

Another reason why the Seahawks are so fierce is their ferocious defense. Yes, the team is currently riding a five-game win streak in which they’ve scored 193 points, but the defense has set the tone in every game and even contributed with four touchdowns during the streak.

The core-four members of the secondary, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner have appropriately been dubbed the “Legion of Boom.” They wreak havoc on a play-by-play basis and are out to prove that they are the best in the entire league.

They will get their chance to show the football world just that when they travel to the nation’s capital to face the Washington Redskins on January 6, 2013 as the anchor game on Wild Card Weekend. This is a game of things to come for the NFL. This game guarantees to be a great matchup as these teams will be two of the best for years to come.

Wilson vs. RG3, Lynch vs. Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris, who set the all-time franchise record with 1,613 rushing yards this season, what more could fans ask for?

Just remember, the Seahawks are built to win now.

March 6, 2012

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Manning decision will change NFL landscape

By: Joe Williams

Drew Brees broke Dan Marino’s passing record, Tim Tebow stole all the headlines, and Eli Manning won another Super Bowl. However,  it’s Peyton Manning that is about to change the entire landscape of the NFL. Probably.

Likely leaving Indianapolis, Peyton Manning is a major factor not only in Free Agency, but in the Draft as well.

We should find out any day now whether Manning is going to retire (very unlikely), stay with the Colts (unlikely), or become a free agent (most likely). If Peyton retires or stays in Indy, the impact on what the rest of the league does will be fairly minimal. But if Manning becomes a free agent and leaves town to be replaced by Andrew Luck, the impact will be felt from Seattle to Miami and just about everywhere in between.

We just saw what Indianapolis looks like without Manning and it wasn’t pretty. Now the Colts must decide if they want to have both Manning and Andrew Luck on the roster or do they let Peyton leave and use the money to begin building something around Luck. Once we know what Manning’s decision is, the next domino to fall should be Matt Flynn. The remaining teams in need of a quarterback are expected to be bidding for Flynn or looking for one in the draft.

Word on the street is that St. Louis has decided to trade the second pick in the draft to one of the teams looking to get RGIII. The teams that end up with Manning and Flynn will be out of the running in the RGIII sweepstakes and could impact how much St. Louis can get in the deal. Especially if its Cleveland or Washington because they seem to be the two main suitors for a trade up to the second pick.

Speaking of Cleveland, the Browns are in the best position, by far, to get a deal done with the fourth and 22nd picks in the first round. Unless they decide to pick up Manning and let him take over for Colt McCoy. Then the Redskins would be delighted to move up and draft Griffin. With the Browns out of the way, Washington wouldn’t have to pay as steep of a price to move up from No. 6 to the No. 2 pick.

That is, they would have the edge over Miami who has the No. 8 pick. But Dolphin fans don’t want Griffin. They want Manning. Some fans in Miami saw what happened in Denver last year with Tebow and have set up a website in hopes of getting Miami management to sign Manning and even advertised the site on a billboard near Dolphins’ headquarters.

Seattle and Arizona have the No. 12 and No. 13 picks so they are probably too far down the order to make a run at moving up in the draft for a quarterback. But it wouldn’t prevent them from going after either Manning or Flynn.

What Peyton Manning does will directly impact the quarterback position for several teams and indirectly impact, through the draft and wins/losses for the next couple seasons, every team in the NFL. He’s got a huge decision to make. Let’s just hope he doesn’t do it on live television.