Seahawks will have to prove they can consistently win on the road

Aug 28, 2013 6:59 AM

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 28th of 32 preseason previews in 32 days leading up to the NFL season opener Thursday, Sept 5.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Win total last 5 years: 34

LVH over/under wins (10½)

Pete Carroll brought his emotion to the Pacific Northwest and Seattle’s famed 12th Man ran with it.

The Carroll success was a work in progress (he’s 25-23 in three seasons), with last year producing 11 wins thanks for the best home field advantage in the NFL and the emergence of rookie Russell Wilson at quarterback.

As was the case in San Francisco with Alex Smith, Seattle went into last season planning to go with offseason acquisition Matt Flynn at QB. The Niners eventually turned to Colin Kaepernick in midseason and never looked back. Likewise, only sooner in Seattle as Wilson won the job in preseason and only got better.

An incredible Week 3 Hail Mary win over Green Bay on Golden Tate’s ruled catch off what looked to be an interception in the end zone was the fuel that sparked the Seahawks to buy into Wilson and the emotional Carroll.

The public’s acceptance of the Seahawks as a legitimate Super Bowl contender came in a stunning 42-13 beatdown of San Francisco in Week 15 at Seattle. The 49ers went on to win the NFC title, but Wilson made his mark with a rookie record 26 TD passes.

This year Wilson won’t be sneaking up on people, yet the Seahawks have produced three solid wins this preseason. Granted these games matter little, except to bettors who continue to cash in every time the Seahawks take the field at home.

Seattle was a perfect 8-0 last year, including wins over Green Bay, Dallas, New England and San Francisco. Qwest Stadium has almost been written off as a Seattle win. That belief will be tested early in a monster Week 2 rematch with the 49ers.

Wilson’s ability to run and throw with equal excellence only served to strengthen a running game led by “The Beast” Marshawn Lynch, who rushed for a career high 1,590 yards – third best in the NFL.

The Seahawks offense really looked to be spectacular with the acquisition of free agent Percy Harvin, but an injury will have the former Vikings standout runner/receiver out until at least midway through the season.

Defensively the Seahawks added frontline players Michael Bennett from Tampa Bay and Cliff Avril (Detroit), while also bringing in cornerback Antoine Winfield (Minnesota).

That said, this franchise more than any other in the NFL revolves around its raucous crowd and Carroll’s energy that feeds it. Even in pre Carroll days when the franchise struggled they held serve at home. Since 2002, Seattle is 59-29 – second only to Green Bay, which won the Super Bowl in 2011.

Seattle’s draft was rated a C by Athlon Sports, but top pick RB Christine Michael from Texas A&M has been impressive in preseason and looks like a clone of Lynch.

The Seahawks will have to prove they can consistently win on the road and a test comes early in the season opener at Carolina in a marquee matchup of Wilson against Cam Newton.

If Seattle can manage 4-4 on the road, a 12-4 regular season is likely and remember the Super Bowl is being played at the Meadowlands where the Farmer’s Almanac predicts major snow problems. 

Sounds just right for a team from the Pacific Northwest.

Thursday: St. Louis Rams

Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at [email protected].

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