Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense have to be smiling just a bit as they prepare for the Super Bowl. After all, for just the second time in more than two months they will face a defense that does not rank in the league's top eight.
Since coming off their bye in Week 12, they have run into the Saints and 49ers twice each. The Saints ranked fourth in both scoring and overall defense this season, while the 49ers were fifth in yards and third in points.
The Giants finished eighth overall, although that didn't stop the Hawks from shutting them out 23-0, but the Cardinals used the league's sixth-ranked defense (seventh in points) to become the only team to knock off the Seahawks in Seattle over the past two seasons.
The only defense not ranked in the top eight was the Rams, which ranked 15th overall and 13th in scoring but held the Hawks to 269 yards and 20 points.
Since scoring 27 of the team's 34 points in a Monday night blowout of the Saints, the Seattle offense has played unevenly against the good defenses it has faced. Every game over the past two months has been a struggle.
The Hawks ran for just 86 yards in a 19-17 loss at San Francisco, tallied just 192 total yards in a 17-10 loss to Arizona, threw for just 103 yards in the playoff win vs. the Saints and failed to put away the 49ers in the fourth quarter of the NFC championship game (until the defense saved the day).
Basically, the Seattle offense has not played a complete game since that surprising Monday night decimation of the Saints. Coach Pete Carroll, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Wilson all have been quick to point out the quality of defenses they have faced.
Well, now they get one they might be able to handle.
The Denver defense finished 19th overall and 22nd in points allowed. While the Broncos have been solid against the run in the playoffs (San Diego and New England combined for just 129 yards on 34 carries), they also have surrendered 30 points in the fourth quarter of those two games.
The Seahawks have run it well in both of their playoff wins. Marshawn Lynch has rushed for 249 yards and the Hawks have played well in the fourth quarter.
They also have a little history of success against the Broncos this season.
It was just the second preseason game -- the one in which the starters typically play just a quarter -- but both teams played their starters for almost the entire first half in a contest that had the intensity of a real game.
While Peyton Manning moved the Broncos up and down the field (but scored just one touchdown as Denver lost three fumbles), Wilson and the Seattle offense rolled up 26 points. Wilson completed 8 of 12 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Granted, that was just the second preseason game and neither team was scheming for opponents yet. But the Seahawks got a good look at the Broncos (and vice versa).
Last week, Wilson told reporters that game would help in preparing for the Super Bowl.
"Just to see their players against our guys and see them on our football field and all that, and that was a great game," Wilson said of watching film from that game. "Even though it was a preseason game, it was a great battle."
Although the Seahawks won in a blowout, 40-10, the game sure looked like a prelude to the Super Bowl. Five months later, here they are.
And it looks like the Seattle offense has a chance to put together its best game in two months.