Break out the thesaurus, the tired old sayings and the pithy remarks, it is the NFL postseason this weekend.
Up here, the NFC Wild Card Weekend means Seattle gets to host its first-round game in the light drizzle and the heavy noise at Qwest Field. The Washington Redskins, the ones with the politically incorrect yet historically known name, fly in as the opponent.
The last time Washington came to Seattle in the postseason was in 2006 when the Seahawks were the NFC’s No. 1 team. Seattle prevailed, 21-10. It was a boring game, but there was a sense of inevitability to it. Everyone in the stadium knew that this was just the first step that would lead them to Detroit for Super Bowl XL.
They were right.
This time around, there’s no air of certainty, a whiff of expectation or a sniff of destiny around this matchup. There’s just no “there” there.
Seattle needed just a five-game stretch to win the NFC West this time around. A 6-0 record inside the division was all it took for the Seahawks to hoist their fifth straight division pennant into the rafters.
Other than that, we don’t know what we’re going to get on Saturday at 1:30 p.m., the first game of the postseason. Are we going to get the gun-slinging Seahawks, with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck flinging the ball all over the stadium? Or, are we going to get the grinding, no-holds barred Seahawks, led by five Pro Bowlers on defense that shut down and humiliated the division’s foes? Or, are we going to get a resurgent Seahawks, with running backs Shaun Alexander and Maurice Morris running over, through and away from the defenses?
Or, are we going to get the inconsistent Seahawks, led by wide receivers who are high on talent and big on dropping passes when the offense needed them the most? Or, are we going to get the frustrating Seahawks, with five Pro Bowlers on defense that has shown more lax coverages and little drive at times? Or, are we going to get the slowed Seahawks, with running backs Alexander and Morris getting eaten up behind the line of scrimmage and can’t hit the holes that are created by an offensive line riddled with injuries and blame for a downgraded running game?
Or, are we going to get all of the above – in one game, maybe even in one quarter?
No one knows. That’s why this season has been so frustrating – and historically typical – in Seattle. Even during the Super Bowl run, there was some talk of, “yeah, but we’ll still lose” and “hey, something is going to happen to screw this up.” Insert your own officials/NFL conspiracy theory here regarding Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl win in Detriot, eh.
So, where to we go from here? A win sends us to Green Bay for the NFC Divisional round on Saturday, Jan. 12. A loss sends us home for the winter and a seat on the couch to watch New England try to finish off what they started.
In other words, if we haven’t learned what we’re going to get from Seattle after 16 weeks of the regular season, we’re not going to get the answers on Saturday – or the Saturday after that or, if things break right, the Sunday after that one, too.
Let’s just see where they take us, one game at a time.