Dave's Sports Views

Analysis, humor and opinion on the sports world

Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Three reasons why the Seahawks will win

We conclude this week with the Seahawks, and why they will beat Carolina:

1. Matt Hasselbeck can outplay Jake Delhomme at quarterback. Despite Delhomme’s experience and talent, Hasselbeck has established himself as a first-tier quarterback this year. His has been a logical progression at quarterback. He spent two years as a backup, earned the chance to be a starter, struggled at first, but has really blossomed in the past three years. He’s helped Seattle to the playoffs in three consecutive seasons, and this year he’s shown signs of taking the next step forward as a leader. Last week against a good defense, with his MVP running back out of commission, Hasselbeck put the Seahawks on his back and led them to victory. Though Alexander will play this week, no one knows how effective he’ll be, so expect coach Mike Holmgren to put the game on his quarterback’s right arm. Hasselbeck has shown this year that he’s up to the task of winning a game. He should be again on Sunday.

2. Like Denver, home-field advantage means more in Seattle. The Seahawks are 8-0 at home, for many reasons. They have an outstanding team. They have a supportive crowd. Also, Seattle brings an element that most stadiums don’t have – rain. We’ve hardly seen a drop of rain in months in Dallas, because Seattle has stolen it all. Odds are good that rain will fall on Sunday, making the field a little slower. That favors Seattle for two additional reasons: 1) Alexander, if healthy, outclasses Nick Goings at running back. 2) A sloppy track might be the only thing that can slow down Steve Smith. Weather that enhances the Seahawks’ primary advantage, and neutralizes Carolina’s, naturally favors the home team. However, even if the weather is good, Qwest Field presents a daunting task for any visiting team. The end zone seats are so close to the field that the fans can see pass interference penalties better than the referees. The crowd is so loud that the Giants had 11 false-start penalties in a game there this year. And the Panthers will have to cross three time zones to get there.

3. Seattle’s defense has played big when it matters most. People are finally starting to appreciate the Seahawks’ offense, thanks to Hasselbeck’s emergence and Alexander’s MVP season. The defense is still building its own reputation, but this year, the Seahawks’ defense has stepped up when it most needed to. They helped turn a certain loss to Dallas into a win in regulation. They stiffened and held the Giants to three field-goal attempts in an overtime game when New York was driving, and triumphed after Giants’ kicker Jay Feely missed all three times. They hung a shutout on the Eagles in Philadelphia (without McNabb and Owens, but any road shutout is a good one), scoring three times in the game. They held Tennessee on two fourth-and-short situations in the fourth quarter to avoid an upset on the road. It’s a defense that can be had at times – witness tough road wins against the Titans, Rams and 49ers that turned into shootouts. But while Seattle’s defense won’t be confused with the Bears (or the Panthers, for that matter), it has developed a knack for making big plays when the game is on the line. Playing at home, that should be more than enough.

On Friday, the picks for the Conference Championships.



Post a Comment

<< Home

Subscribe with Bloglines