Jimmy Graham
5 reasons Seahawks are most intimidating team in NFL
Jimmy Graham

5 reasons Seahawks are most intimidating team in NFL

Published Dec. 14, 2015 12:21 p.m. ET

The Seahawks are surging right now. They've won four in a row and six of seven to improve their record to 8-5.

Don't front, either. When they were 2-4 and blowing fourth-quarter leads, you had the shovel out and were scooping the dirt. But now they're the team no one wants to face.

Once again, the two-team defending NFC champions (who were a play away from being two-time Super Bowl champs, but that's another story) are a leaguewide menace.

Here are five reasons why you should be afraid if you see the Seahawks on the schedule:


5. Next man up, again and again

Marshawn Lynch has played in only seven games and was only moderately effective, averaging 3.8 yards per carry while being hampered with an abdominal injury. Thomas Rawls, the outstanding undrafted rookie, stepped into his shoes to the tune of 830 yards, 5.6 yards a carry and four touchdowns. Now Rawls is out for the season with a broken ankle just in time for Lynch to possibly return to the lineup. Let's not forget tight end Jimmy Graham (48 catches, 605 yards, two touchdowns) was lost on Nov. 29 with a season-ending knee injury. The Seahawks thought he'd be the key to the passing attack, but by the looks of it, his absence has opened the door for Dough Baldwin to pop off. Baldwin has 321 yards and eight touchdowns in his last three games. Tyler Lockett has also emerged in the last two weeks, with 14 catches for 194 yards and two touchdowns.

4. Improved offensive line play

So, Russell Wilson was being criticized earlier in the season for his play. Meanwhile, he was the most sacked quarterback in the NFL. Through Seattle's first seven games, Wilson was sacked 31 times. In its last six games, that number has dropped to just seven, including two games with no sacks allowed. Why? Well, the Seahawks credit making center Patrick Lewis a starter six games ago as the key to solidifying the line. "They give me too much credit," Lewis said. "As a group, we watch a lot of film together. Russell (Wilson) is on it, and he's making the right checks and getting everybody in the right spot. Overall, it's just a lot of communication. That's been the main thing lately."

3. The defense is back

It's no surprise the defense is jelling and that Kam Chancellor's return after the Seahawks' 0-2 start was a big reason the team has improved. Chancellor's play on Oct. 5 to knock free a ball from Calvin Johnson on the goal line, preserving a win, could have been a season-changer for Seattle. Additionally, the Cary Williams experiment opposite Richard Sherman didn't work. The Seahawks cut bait with him Dec. 7 after benching Williams in Week 11. DeShawn Shead has taken over and been an upgrade. Aside from getting torched by Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer, the defense has allowed point totals of 3, 12, 13, 7 and 6 since Oct. 22.

2. Russell Wilson is en fuego

The Seahawks quarterback has been a revelation since he's been able to stay upright (see No. 4). He has 26 touchdown passes and just seven interceptions, but he's thrown 16 (yes, 16!!) of those TD passes in his last four games, much to the delight of Seahawks fans and his fantasy football owners. He's done it without Lynch and now without Graham, and it's hard to question that this is his team now.

1. The championship pedigree remains

This team just knows how to win. In 2012, the Seahawks were a fourth-quarter blown lead away from possibly playing in the NFC title game after a brutal loss to the Falcons. In 2013, they were by far the best team in the NFL and won the Super Bowl by crushing Peyton Manning's Broncos. Last season, they were just a play away from repeating and possibly going for a three-peat this year. The Seahawks are 15-3 combined in the final six weeks of the past three regular seasons. They may not get a bye or any home playoff games this time around, but if you're the Panthers or Cardinals, you're worried about these guys coming into your building in January. Also, Pete Carroll has been there and done that, and given his postgame antics on Sunday, is amped for a playoff run.


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