It’s certainly not the worst thing in the world, as the Seahawks will still be making yet another playoff appearance in what has been a decade full of them, but now, Seattle won’t be playing a home playoff game (barring a rather unlikely meeting with the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game).
The Seahawks will be battling the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card Round next weekend as they begin their quest to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since their heartbreaking loss to the New England Patriots in February 2015.
So, here are three burning questions for Seattle entering the playoffs.
3. Can they find a way to get to the quarterback?
The Seahawks’ pass defense ranked just 27th in the NFL this season, and a big reason for that was Seattle’s inability to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, as it totaled just 28 sacks, which ranked second-to-last in the league.
Losing Frank Clark over the offseason hurt, and with Jadeveon Clowney banged up, Ziggy Ansah hardly making an impact, and Jarran Reed having a down season, the Seahawks have been unable to replace his production.
That could spell big trouble for Seattle in the postseason when getting to the quarterback is even more paramount. If the Seahawks are unable to generate any kind of pressure, they could be in for an early playoff exit.
2. How much does Marshawn Lynch have left in the tank?
Seattle brought Marshawn Lynch back ahead of Week 17 after season-ending injuries to fellow running backs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny.
Lynch made his 2019 debut against the 49ers, carrying the ball 12 times for 34 yards and a touchdown. With both Carson and Penny sidelined, Lynch instantly becomes the Seahawks’ No. 1 back in spite of having not played any football since last year.
At 33 years old, this is hardly the same Marshawn Lynch who made four Pro Bowls during his first go-around in Seattle from 2010 through 2015. Does he have enough left to carry a ground game that the Seahawks have relied heavily upon this season for success?
1. Will Russell Wilson have to take matters into his own hands too much?
Russell Wilson has been brilliant this season, and had it not been for Lamar Jackson, he would probably be the frontrunner in MVP voting.
However, with Seattle’s rushing attack compromised and the defense a far cry from the dominant unit that went to back-to-back Super Bowls in 2013-14 and 2014-15, Wilson will have more responsibility on his shoulders than ever before.
Wilson is a fantastic player, and he has a duo of terrific receivers in Tyler Lockett and rookie D.K. Metcalf at his disposal, but this could end up being a situation where the Seahawks are depending on him too heavily.
Carson going down was huge and has made it so that Seattle has become a bit one-dimensional offensively. Unless Lynch finds the fountain of youth, Wilson will have to do a little bit of everything for the Seahawks to have a shot at a Super Bowl run.