When a team is in the position the Seahawks are in, waiting for their playoff opponent to be determined, plenty of people get caught up in the “whom to root for” game.
We have always said: If you can’t beat them all, you obviously don’t deserve to win it all. Pete Carroll goes by the same philosophy: “It’s all about us.” The opponent does not matter.
So, don’t worry whether the Hawks end up playing Carolina, Arizona or Detroit next weekend — or Green Bay or Dallas in the NFC title game.
If the Hawks are good enough (and they are) they will beat whichever team advances to meet them.
Here’s a quick look at the three teams the Hawks might face next week:
The Lions play at Dallas on Sunday and would need a big effort to pull off the upset and advance to play the Seahawks.
The Lions have been horrible against this year’s playoff teams on the road, losing 24-7 at Carolina, 14-6 at Arizona, 34-9 at New England and 30-20 at Green Bay.
If they somehow get past the Cowboys, they will come to Seattle, where former Seahawk receiver Golden Tate will see what it is like to go against the Legion of Boom.
Bruce Arians did a masterful job of getting the Cardinals into the playoffs despite losing his top two quarterbacks.
With Ryan Lindley starting again today, odds aren’t very good that the Cards will in at Carolina. The Cardinals averaged just 12.2 points over the final six games, so their No. 5 scoring defense would have to keep Carolina under 10 to win.
Even if they can advance, the Cardinals proved no match for the Hawks this season, getting blown out by an aggregate of 54-9.
The only team hotter than the Panthers (four straight wins) to close the season was the Seahawks (six straight wins).
Of course, Carolina’s winning streak was fashioned against weaker NFC South foes and Cleveland. With the exception of a Week 2 win over Detroit, the Panthers were terrible against playoff teams this season, losing to Pittsburgh and Baltimore by 18 and 28, tying Cincinnati, losing at Green Bay 38-17 and to Seattle 13-9.
Carolina seems the most likely opponent for the Hawks next week, meaning they would play each other for the fourth time in three years — but the first time in Seattle.
The Hawks won all three previous games — by the low, oddball scores of 16-12 (2012), 12-7 (2013) and 13-9.
All of those games were played in the first half of the season, and the Hawks have averaged 28 points per postseason game with Russell Wilson at quarterback the past two years, so this one might not be nearly as close.
Looking ahead to the NFC title game, everyone thinks Dallas will be the big threat — especially because the Cowboys beat the Hawks in Seattle earlier this season.
The Cowboys went 8-0 on the road — the first team to do that since New England in 2007. They also averaged 41 points in their final four wins — all blowouts, three on the road. No offense is hotter.
Seahawk fans who look for the so-called easiest matchups are surely happy the Cowboys would have to play in Green Bay against the Packers’ No. 1 offense.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a bit gimpy after getting hurt in the season finale against Detroit, but he should be fine for the playoffs. He led the Packers’ No. 1 scoring offense this season, which would make for a fun rematch against Seattle’s No. 1 defense.
The Seahawks blew out Green Bay 36-16 in the season opener in Seattle, and we all know the No. 1 defense always beats the No. 1 offense.