The Seattle Seahawks aren’t used to being in this position. The city of Seattle and Seattle fans aren’t used to it either. The Seahawks are no. 2 in the ESPN power rankings heading into their game at home with the San Francisco 49ers, the team that happens to be ranked No. 1; not to mention their division rivals whom they will fight with all season for the top spot. More attention and predictions of success have been thrown at this Seattle team than any other in the Franchise’s history, and to some fans, that’s worrisome. Will the young Seahawks be able to handle the pressure of the national spotlight focused on their team, or will they crumble under the scrutiny?
Despite any worries from fans, the Seahawks are confident that they have what it takes to bring Seattle its first Superbowl Championship in the team’s history. The Hawks were 8-0 at Century Link Field last year; undefeated. Their overwhelming advantage at home is undeniable; the problem is, that home field advantage that they need to help ensure playoff victories in the future could be in jeopardy as early as week 2 of the NFL season.
The 49ers and the Seahawks head into their showdown, both having started the season with impressive wins. Seattle, a gutsy, defensive driven, hard fought win on the road at Carolina, and the 49ers with an offensive show of force at home against the Green Bay Packers. Both teams are 1-0 to start the season, but that equation has to inevitably change after this game. For either team, a loss could potentially mean staring up at their division rival for the rest of the season for the lead and home field in the playoffs; not to mention, a mental edge and jumpstart on gaining a tie-breaking advantage should the two teams finish with the same record. The significance of this game is unusually large for just the second game of the season, and the Hawks know they need to have a better game than the one they had against the Panthers to beat the 49ers.
Though they came out of Carolina with a 12-7 victory, the Seahawks have some notable problems that have to be addressed. Penalties, a stagnant run game, and a weak pass rush are on Pete Carroll’s mind as they head into their game with San Francisco.
“Not everything worked out the way that we’d liked,” Carroll said. “We didn’t run the ball very well. In our program, as you guys know, that’s a huge focus and so we were disappointed. We plan to go right back to business and get it done this week. We can’t go like that. We’re not going to do our football that way. We have to do something about it this week against a tremendous defense.”
As for the pass rush, the Seahawks will likely get defensive end Cliff Avril back after aggravating a hamstring injury during pre-season. That’s good news for the Hawks who desperately need their defensive line to put more pressure on the opposing quarterback. Avril was acquired from Detroit in the off season for his sacking abilities, having averaged over 10 sacks the last two seasons with the Lions.
Despite their overpowering home presence, the Seahawks and their fans know that they are facing, arguable, the best team in football right now in the 49ers. A loss at home could be a significant blow to their chances of home field and a high playoff berth in the post season. Seahawk fans are both fired up and a little nervous about their team’s collision with their greatest rivals this week. Whatever the outcome, the Hawks are determined to show the world that they can handle the spotlight this week. The Seahawk fans hope they can too.
By: Keith Ishii