JIM MOORE

Moore: Seahawks have best case of NFC’s 5 undefeated teams to be No. 1 in power rankings

Sep 23, 2020, 10:25 AM
Seahawks Russell Wilson...
QB Russell Wilson's Seahawks are one of five NFC teams still undefeated through two games. (AP)
(AP)

Everyone has NFL power rankings these days, and most all of them have the Seahawks in the top five. The only exception I could find was CBS Sports.com, which has them No. 6.

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SI.com has the Seahawks at No. 1, citing the brilliance of Russell Wilson, Jamal Adams and tough wins against quality opponents. Though let’s be honest, we don’t know if the Falcons are a quality team just yet, and their 0-2 record suggest they’re not.

For the purpose of this post, let’s throw out the AFC and teams such as Baltimore and Kansas City that are at the top of many power rankings for understandable reasons – even if the Chiefs got fortunate to beat the Chargers last Sunday. However, they’re still the Super Bowl champions.

Let’s focus instead on the NFC. When you look at all five 2-0 teams, I think you can make the best case for the Seahawks being No. 1. Here’s how I’d rank them:

1) Seahawks: Wins against Atlanta and New England with the best QB of the bunch even if Packers fans and Cardinals fans might disagree.

2) Packers: Passing and running game as potent as the Seahawks’ and defense is better. So why are they second? Their victories came against winless teams (Minnesota and Detroit), and truth be known, the tiebreaker went to the Seahawks because I’m a homer.

3) Cardinals: Look out for Arizona, a candidate to go from worst to first in the NFC West. I expect an unbeaten showdown against the Seahawks on Oct. 25.

4) Rams: You can make a good case for the Rams being No. 1 considering their wins over the Cowboys and Eagles in Philadelphia. If they win in Buffalo this week, I’ll take them more seriously.

5) Bears: No one thinks they’re the best 2-0 team, but they could change some minds if they win in Atlanta this week.

As you know, the NFL is adding another playoff team from each conference this year. With 14 postseason teams, only the team with the best record in each conference will get a bye, compared to the top two in previous seasons.

This will sound odd, but I think there’s a good chance the Seahawks will be the best NFC team at the end of the regular season but end up with a No. 2 or No. 3 seed. How so? The NFC West is the toughest division in the league. Some project that all four teams from the division will make the playoffs.

If that’s the case, or let’s say the last-place team is at least 8-8, don’t you think all of the NFC West teams will be beating each other’s brains out, worsening each other’s records? In this scenario, the Seahawks could win the NFC West at 11-5 but lose the No. 1 seed to 12-4 Green Bay because the Packers played in a weaker division.

Under normal circumstances, the No. 1 seed has a big advantage over everyone else with two playoff games at home, typically paving the way to the Super Bowl. But this year, not so much.

Even if the Seahawks have to play at Lambeau Field in the postseason again – and this time in the NFC Championship – the Packers aren’t apt to have their usual home-field advantage. Granted, they’ll be more used to frigid conditions, but if COVID-19 restrictions remain, it won’t be a full house at Lambeau Field, theoretically lessening the home-field edge.

This has a chance of evening out the playing field. Take a look at the NBA playoffs in the Orlando bubble. No one has a homecourt advantage. In fact, I’d argue that it has hurt the higher seeded teams who would normally have one more home game per playoff series than the lower-seeded team.

They’re currently in the conference finals, and there are two 3 seeds still alive – Boston and Denver – and a 5 seed in Miami.

Maybe I’m going too far with all of that, but it’s just an example of what could happen in the NFL too. And the bottom line is this – the Seahawks could enter the playoffs as the NFC favorite to go to the Super Bowl without having the conference’s best record.

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