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Seahawks ‘completely capable of wreaking havoc in the playoffs:’ National media roundup

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SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 07: Thomas Rawls #34 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates scoring a 4-yard touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card game at CenturyLink Field on January 7, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

OK, everybody can agree the Seattle Seahawks looked dominant in a 26-6 victory in the NFC wild-card round on Saturday at CenturyLink Field.

But what, if anything, does that mean going forward as the Seahawks head to Atlanta on Saturday for a game in which they’re 4-point underdogs? (That game, by the way, has a 1:35 p.m. kickoff, but coverage will begin at 6 a.m. on the home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX.)

Here’s what the national media are saying about the Seahawks’ win, and the challenge they’ll face Saturday.

Let’s start with the NFL.com’s Jeffri Chadiha, who thinks Seattle’s re-emergent running game could mean big things in the weeks ahead.

Just like that, the Seahawks were back to looking completely capable of wreaking havoc in the playoffs.

The major story of Saturday was Rawls, who set a team playoff record with 161 yards on 27 carries and scored a touchdown. He made life easier for quarterback Russell Wilson. He proved that all the problems that have plagued the Seahawks offensive line this year might be resolving themselves faster than we knew. He also reminded us of what the Seahawks can do when their run game is gashing opponents.

Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bishop – who, as a former Seattle Times writer, knows the Seahawks quite well – thinks the team now has a blueprint for further advancement.

 … if the Seahawks are going to make a playoff run—emphasis on if—the way they played on Saturday, how they beat the Lions, that’s the blueprint. That is how it will look. The Seahawks rushed for 177 yards and limited the Lions to 49 yards on the ground. Seattle held the ball for 36:39, compared to 23:21 for Detroit. “That’s definitely the formula,” (DeShawn) Shead said. “That’s how we’re supposed to play.”

Not everybody is so enamored of the Seahawks, of course. Forbes’ Zach Petersel says Seattle’s season will come to an end Saturday.

Football Outsiders ranked the Lions defense as the worst in the NFL.

Again, the worst defense in the NFL.

They surrendered more than 150 yards rushing in each of the past three weeks. Call me crazy if you dare, but I’m thinking the ‘Beast Mode’ Rawls we saw and the success Seattle had on the ground was a product of Detroit’s struggles, not the other way around. 

Looking ahead to next week, I’m even more skeptical of Seattle’s prospects.

A little closer to home, The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta points out this is one of the very few times in the Russell Wilson era the Seahakws will be true underdogs.

Within minutes after the final gun Saturday, Las Vegas oddsmakers established Atlanta as a 4-point favorite, a number that at some places increased to 4.5 by Sunday afternoon.

That may not seem like much, but it’s the biggest spread against the Seahawks in a post-season game since a 2011 divisional playoff contest at Chicago — when Seattle was a 10-point underdog. And it’s only the fourth time in the 12 playoff games of the Wilson era that Seattle has been an underdog.

Speaking further to Seattle’s dominance the last few years, the 4-point spread is the third-largest against the Seahawks since the seventh game of Wilson’s rookie season in 2012.