PFW examines the Seahawks as they prepare for the playoffs, identifying the keys to the offense and the defense, a player to watch, and what they have to do to win the Super Bowl.
7-9 / First place in NFC West
Keys to offense: The primary weapon this season has been reclamation project WR Mike Williams, who has come back from a two-year hiatus from the NFL with a Most Improved Player of the Year-worthy season, earning a three-year contract extension Monday. Opposing defenses have had to account for the mismatches on the perimeter that Williams' dangerous combination of size and speed provides. Pete Carroll probably would have opted for in-season addition Marshawn Lynch as the offensive centerpiece, but the former Bills running back hasn't filled the bill much of the season as part of the league's lowest-ranked ground game. That first-round OLT Russell Okung has operated much of the season on gimpy ankles hasn't helped matters.
Keys to defense: Look for the Seahawks to come at opponents with a host of different looks in an attempt to compensate for their across-the-board shortcomings — both against the run and pass. The run defense was severely hurt by the season-ending loss of DE Red Bryant, but the return of DTs Brandon Mebane and Colin Cole from lengthy injuries has improved the situation up front somewhat. LBs Lofa Tatupu, the traffic cop in the middle, and David Hawthorne are active go-getters who must be stopped. Seattle's secondary has been worked over pretty good, with teams having success late in the season isolating on CB Marcus Trufant and safeties Lawyer Milloy and Earl Thomas, who had five interceptions in '10, none in the last six games.
Player to watch: If the Seahawks are to be a factor in the playoffs, ace kick returner Leon Washington probably will be a major reason. Fully healed from a gruesome leg injury suffered last season, Washington has been the Seahawks' best player all season, providing valuable energy both on and off the field.
They'll win the Super Bowl if ... pigs learn to fly, Keanu Reeves learns to act, the Cubs win the World Series, and a new labor agreement is nailed down in the next month.