Hawks suddenly look like expected Super Bowl contenders

“I’m really excited about what’s coming up. I think we have a hell of a football team.” – Pete Carroll, to 710 ESPN

After the first two weeks of the season – a 1-1 record and just 15 points scored — it sure looked like this was going to be a repeat of the Seahawks’ slow start in 2015.

But, overcoming injuries and tough matchups for their offensive line, the Hawks have quickly rallied to look much more like the Super Bowl contenders we all envisioned.

While some silly folks thought Russell Wilson should have sat out in New York, he instead overcame his leg injuries to play his best game of the season and lead the offense to a second straight good-looking performance – making it 64 points for Seattle over the past two games despite all kinds of injuries.

“We make a good step forward here,” Pete Carroll said this week. “We played well two weeks ago (in a 37-18 win over the 49ers), then we went on the road in a difficult setting and found our play again. So that kicks us into the bye thing, where we can really take a look at the end of the first quarter of the season and kind of see where we are. We still have a game out there that we wish we would have gotten, but we’re coming around. We’re moving forward and moving in a good direction.”

So where are they? At 3-1, in full control of their path back to home-field advantage.

In the NFC West, they are tied with Los Angeles, but we all know the Rams won’t be able to sustain their record for the full season.

As for the NFC race, the Hawks are two games up on expected contenders Arizona and Carolina, who both have been struggling and now are dealing with injuries to their quarterbacks.

The other early NFC contenders are Minnesota (4-0), Philadelphia (3-0), Dallas (3-1), Green Bay (2-1) and Atlanta (3-1). The Hawks play Dan Quinn’s Falcons after this week’s bye in a game that should reveal just how much more complete Seattle is than Atlanta’s defense-less crew.

The Hawks also face the Eagles and Packers later this season. Minnesota has amazingly overcome the offensive losses of Teddy Bridgewater, Adrian Peterson and Matt Kalil — but can the Vikings keep it up?

Over the past two weeks, the Hawks have been the best-looking team in the NFC. Some think the bye might stunt their momentum, but that is hardly a concern given the need to get healthy. They should only get better as Wilson, Tyler Lockett and others rest up over the next week.

Seattle lost Mike Morgan to a problematic sports hernia, and Thomas Rawls (fractured fibula) and Quinton Jefferson (broken hand) will miss at least a couple more weeks each. But Carroll said rookies Nick Vannett, C.J. Prosise and Jarran Reed all should be good to go against Atlanta.

“There’s a lot of guys coming back to full health … that could add to the competition of things, and we’re really excited about that,” Carroll said, adding that Wilson, Lockett, Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham and Germain Ifedi all “will benefit” from the extra rest. “That’s a lot of guys right there. They’re all going to be way better.”

It all adds up to a pretty confident coach.

“I’m pretty fired up about our team right now,” Carroll said. “… We’re excited about turning the corner and going to the second quarter. We’re ready to do this.”

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