Since that time, things have certainly begun to change in the Northwest. The once-pedestrian Baldwin has created a name for himself and now holds a tie for the league lead in receiving touchdowns with Allen Robinson and Brandon Marshall. The incredible thing about this stat is that Baldwin has done this with just 104 targets, while Marshall and Robinson have with 174 and 153 respectively. Baldwin and his quarterback Russell Wilson have provided a spark in the second half of the year that has not only enabled the Seahawks to power into the playoffs as arguably the most dangerous team, but has also softened the blow of losing running backs Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls. While the team could have fallen out of the playoff race at the hands of injuries, Baldwin and the rest of the receiving corps stepped up at the most important time.
The Seahawks launch themselves into Sunday's wild card game at Minnesota as the hottest team in football, winning six of their last seven, including a dominant 30-point win on the road against the Cardinals. With Lynch returning against a Viking team that already fell at the mercy of Seattle a mere 32 days ago, the fourth-ranked offense of the Seahawks should be able to find a way to get a win with the receiving and rushing games finally working together.
Next up in the divisional round will be the Carolina Panthers, and the fate of Seattle's season could likely come down to the result of this game. The Seahawks' defense will be going up against Cam Newton and a high-powered Carolina offense. The key to this game will be to find a way to stop tight end Greg Olsen, who had 155 yards against Seattle in week six. If this is able to happen, the Seahawks have a good enough defense to control every aspect on that side the ball, and should be able to bring the Panthers' season to a sudden halt. Getting the dub over one-loss Carolina would drive the Hawks forward and hopefully they would be able to ride the momentum through the rest of the playoffs.
The time is now for the Seahawks. The next two games are crucial, and that's a given. The playoffs are here, and the Seattle Seahawks are right back into the middle of the conversation. The road to the Super Bowl will be tough this year, but the Seahawks are all about challenges and have proven the doubters wrong time and time again, They are more than capable of working their way through this next month to raise the Lombardi Trophy once again.
Buckle up, Seattle. It's about to be a bumpy ride.