The Baltimore Ravens and the city of Baltimore are celebrating their Lobardi Trophy they claimed in a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII with a victory parade today at M&T Bank Stadium, but many fans and NFL analysts are already looking ahead at what’s in store for next season.
ESPN.com NFL Senior Writer John Clayton has put together a list of his early favorites for next year, and the Seahawks are on his list.
Clayton ranks the Seahawks as his No. 4 favorite team to be in next year’s Super Bowl, behind the Denver Broncos (No. 1), New England Patriots (No. 2), and Green Bay Packers (No. 3). The Seahawks rank ahead of the Atlanta Falcons, who round out Clayton’s five favorites.
Specifically, Clayton points to quarterback Russell Wilson, a standout defense, and a schedule that should better distribute the Seahawks’ three divisional road games (the Seahawks played at each NFC West opponent in the season’s first seven weeks in 2012) as reasons to expect success.
Clayton’s full comments: “4. Seattle Seahawks: Thanks to the drafting of Russell Wilson at quarterback and how coach Pete Carroll rebuilt the defense, the Seahawks are ready to challenge the 49ers — who have owned the NFC West the past two seasons — for the division title.
Now, the Seahawks are ready. The schedule betrayed them in 2012 and cost them a chance to win the division. The NFL gave the Seahawks three division road games early in the season. Wilson, a rookie who took only a third of the snaps in the preseason, wasn’t able to pull those early games into victories. As a result, the Seahawks started the season in an 0-3 hole in the NFC West.
They scrambled to finish the season within a half-game of the 49ers. In 2013, you figure the Seahawks will get a fairer distribution of NFC West games and have a better chance of going 4-2 or 5-1 in the division. The Seattle-San Francisco rivalry is growing.”