at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Following the Seattle Seahawks playoff loss in the NFC Divisional round for the second straight season, many heads across the football world began to turn away from the once so promising Russell Wilson and company.

ESPN’s Michael Wilbon was the first to fire on his segment of PTI: 

“It’s time for Seattle to shut up. Bennett, all of them, I love them. Shut up. All they are is an ordinary washed-up former champion. And they run their mouths and tell you what they’re not going to talk about and not going to do. Them and their over-caffeinated coach (Pete Carroll) who clearly stops at every corner in Seattle and drinks something, one of those lattes. … Shut up Seattle. You guys are overrated now. You don’t win anything. Shut up. It’s over.”

He couldn’t be more wrong.

5 Reasons Why the Seattle Seahawks Are Still NFL Contenders

1. Russell Wilson

As long as #3 is taking snaps and dropping back, even if it’s behind a questionable offensive line, the Seahawks will find themselves in favorable positions come late December into January. Wilson’s had nothing but winning seasons dating back to his Rose Bowl victory in college. Coming off of the Seahawks single season franchise record for most passing yards, carrying multiple injuries behind that atrocious offensive line this season, he’s sure to do a lot more than credit given—including getting his team back to the promised land. Even if Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan gets himself a ring this year, Russell Wilson still has twice as many postseason victories under his belt (8) and a ring to match.

2. Defense

With the likes of the NFL’s leading tackler Bobby Wagner (167), teammates KJ Wright, the ever outspoken Michael Bennett, Pro Bowler Cliff Avril (along with 6 other Seahawks), the emergence of young Frank Clark and Seattles secondary, better known as the “Legion of Boom” Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, it’s hard to say how anybody in their right mind could call them “washed up”. Over the past four seasons, Seattle’s defense has ranked first overall in total points three times and third once. There isn’t much of a let-up here. Being the injury-riddled season as it was for Seattle, a healthy core like that should never fall short of a playoff birth.

3. Coaching staff 

You can hate Pete Carroll all you want, but the guy flat-out wins games as a head football coach. Not too many people get to say they won a National Title and a Super Bowl. He has a way with players that is second to none and brings out the best in them whatever their situation may be. You can also throw in the fact that Seattle has made very little changes to their coaching staff thus far.

Offensive line coach Tom Cable even stuck around after the talks of him possibly becoming the next Head Coach in San Francisco, later announced to be taken by Kyle Shanahan, current offensive coordinator of the NFC champion Atlanta Falcons.

4. Favorable Division out West

It’s hard to argue that the NFC West is anything but the weakest division in football. As the 49ers and Rams are both going through the process of finding new head coaches—and searching to find their identities—this really only leaves the Cardinals standing in the way of the Seahawks. But keep in mind their quarterback, Carson Palmer, is now 38 years old. If the Cardinals play anything like they did this last season, the Seahawks will have very little problems on their way to raising yet another Division Championship banner in the rafters of the Clink.

5. Doubters

If the Seahawks have lost any pieces to their recent run of success, it’s the doubters and naysayers that fueled them to to become one of the most consistent teams in the National Football League. Their respect was earned. It was hard to doubt them after Seattle completely dismantled Peyton Manning and the Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl 48. Being a professional football team isolated in the Pacific Northwest, it’s tough to get national recognition. Have you ever wonder why the Seahawks are so good during prime time games, when the whole nation is watching? If a record of 14-2 under coach Pete Carroll doesn’t say anything, I don’t know what will.

Michael Wilbon and the rest of the non-believers have always given this franchise something to prove. Even ESPN acknowledged the team’s successes in their annual awards, giving them fourth spot among NFL teams.

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