Seahawks capable of beating Super Bowl-level foes?
Analysis shows how a team plays in the regular season — either good or bad — doesn’t carry much weight in the playoffs the past 10 years.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Super Bowl path
What kinds of teams win the Super Bowl? All kinds, if the past 10 years is an indication. Baltimore won it all after struggling toward the end of last season. Other teams, like the Patriots of the 2003 and 2004 seasons, looked strong all year. A look at the past 10 Super Bowl winners (with regular-season records in parentheses):
2012, Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Lost to the Texans by 30. Lost three of four to end the year, including the final game of the season.
2011, New York Giants (9-7): Had a four-game losing streak and lost three games at home.
2010, Green Bay Packers (10-6): Twice had stretches of three losses in four games. Lost to the Dolphins at home.
2009, New Orleans Saints (13-3): Lost their final three games of the regular season, after starting 13-0.
2008, Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): Worst loss was by 17 to Tennessee in the second-to-last game of regular season.
2007, New York Giants (10-6): Lost five games by at least 10 points.
2006, Indianapolis Colts (12-4): Their four losses came in the last seven weeks of the season. Lost to Jacksonville by 27 at home.
2005, Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5): Two of their losses were in overtime.
2004, New England Patriots (14-2): Lost by a point to Miami and by 14 to Pittsburgh.
2003, New England Patriots (14-2): Lost 31-0 to Buffalo in season opener, then lost in fourth game. Didn’t lose again.
RENTON – Seattle’s past two games have created a divide between two schools of thought.
In one camp are those who think the close wins the last two weeks prove that even when the Seahawks don’t play well, they can still win. The implication: Only good teams are capable of that.
In the other camp are those who think the Seahawks’ nail-biting wins against struggling St. Louis and winless Tampa Bay signal red flags that will bite them later. That camp doesn’t think the Seahawks look like a Super Bowl team.
Which raises a larger question: What, exactly, does a Super Bowl team look like?
If the last 10 years have shown anything, it’s that characterizing a Super Bowl champion is nearly impossible. There have been teams that won 14 games (Patriots), teams that won only nine (Giants), teams that lost a game by 30 points (Ravens) and teams that lost three straight (Steelers).
This is not an excuse for the way the Seahawks have played the past two weeks. Seattle has issues. The defense has given up too many rushing yards lately, quarterback Russell Wilson continues to take too many hits and the Seahawks haven’t put away lesser competition.
“In the midst of this push to get going in the second half of the season,” coach Pete Carroll said, “we’ve got to play better.”
But how a team plays in the regular season — either good or bad — doesn’t carry much weight in the playoffs the past 10 years.
In fact, over the last decade, only one team that finished with the best record in the regular season (the 2003 Patriots) also won the Super Bowl. In that same time, three wild-card teams have won the Super Bowl.
Championship teams haven’t been immune to losing streaks. The Giants had a four-game losing streak in 2011. The Steelers lost three straight in 2005. So did the Saints in 2009.
There’s also no correlation between winning the Super Bowl and avoiding a blowout loss. The Giants lost five of their six games by at least 10 points in 2008 on the way to the Super Bowl. The 2003 Patriots, who finished 14-2, got blown out 31-0 in the opener.
What about momentum? At least teams that got hot in the playoffs had to be playing well heading down the home stretch, right?
Those three Saints losses in 2009 all came in the final three weeks of the season. The 2012 Ravens lost three of their final four games, including the season finale.
What we’re left with, once the playoffs get rolling: a whole lot of uncertainty.
Sherman vs. Whiteis back on
Richard Sherman and Atlanta receiver Roddy White have a history of trash talk. On Thursday, Sherman was asked if he was looking forward to the challenge of going against White once again. “What challenge?” he said.
White has missed the past three games because of injuries, but he’s expected to play against Seattle.
Sherman wrote an article for Sports Illustrated this week that shared his views if he was the NFL’s commissioner. Sherman was asked if commissioner Roger Goodell called to thank him for his suggestions. “No, he doesn’t call us very much,” Sherman said. “He just sends letters asking for money.”
Giacomini making strides
Seattle offensive tackle Breno Giacomini took a significant step in his return Wednesday by getting back out on the practice field in a limited basis.
Thursday, as he spoke to reporters before practice, he said he “felt better” than he thought he might during that workout.
Still, he said he isn’t putting a specific timetable on when he expects to play again. He has not played since hurting his knee against Jacksonville in week three.
“Taking it slow and steady, you know?” he said, adding that he and the team want to make sure that when he comes back “I’m coming back stronger than I was.”
Giacomini said he wished he had been able to return “two weeks ago.” But his return was delayed when he had a procedure to drain fluid on the knee a few weeks after he had arthroscopic surgery.
“We’ll see how it goes (in practice) today and tomorrow and keep improving,” he said.
Giacomini, a six-year vet, said it’s the first time he’s had to miss games at any point in his career — high school, college or the NFL.
“It sucks,” he said. “It’s terrible. It’s bad, man. But it’s part of the game, I know. … this is the first time I’m going through it. Hopefully it’s my last.”
• Center Max Unger (concussion), defensive end Red Bryant (concussion) and defensive tackle Jordan Hill (biceps) all sat out practice Thursday for the second straight day. Carroll said Unger and Bryant will be evaluated day-to-day with their concussions. Kam Chancellor (ankle) was limited. Derrick Coleman (hamstring) also didn’t practice. Marshawn Lynch (knee) returned to full participation after being limited on Wednesday.
Seattle Times staff reporter Bob Condotta contributed to this report.