Seahawks take Giants clash as rehearsal for Super Bowl
SEATTLE - Reuters / Agence France-Presse
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson runs with the ball during his team’s match against the New Orleans Saints.Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hopes his team’s meeting with the host New York Giants on Dec. 15 serves as a Super Bowl dress rehearsal with the teams set to clash at the site the National Football League title game.
Seattle (11-2) has the NFC’s best record and the inside track to home field advantage throughout the playoffs in a campaign that could bring them back to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, for the first cold-weather Super Bowl.
“Our goal is to go 1-0 every single week,” Wilson said during a conference call to reporters at the Giants’ practice facility on Dec. 11.
“That’s been our mentality all year to have a championship week. Our ultimate goal is to play in the Super Bowl and all that and it would be nice to have played there before and just been in the stadium before.
“I’ve never played in MetLife Stadium, but it’s exciting to play there.”
The Giants (5-8) were eliminated from playoff contention with a lopsided loss last week in San Diego.
While Wilson would love to play two dates this year in the Meadowlands across the Hudson River from Manhattan, the standout second-year quarterback knows the key to that goal is tied to his home stadium of Century Link.
Earning the home-field edge could prove pivotal for the Seahawks, who have won 14 consecutive games, dating back to last season, before their roaring home fans.
Fans at Century Link recently set a Guinness world record for crowd noise at 137.6 decibels.
“Obviously, playing in Seattle is a very, very special place,” the quarterback said. “It’s one of a kind and our fans are so energetic, they’re so into the game and all that.
“If you’ve never been there ... you’ve got to put it on your bucket list, to watch a game at Century Link.
“The atmosphere is just off the charts. Everybody is electric in that stadium and then we play great football. It brings a lot of energy to the game and the fans are unbelievable. That 12th man is real and so I think that will definitely help. We’re definitely striving for that.”
Coach Pete Carroll, who coached the New York Jets when they played in Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands, said he did not want his team getting ahead of themselves.
Asked if he might consider it an advantage having played in the stadium should his Seahawks get to the Super Bowl, Carroll told Giants reporters: “We’ll look at it that way from the other end. If we ever get there.”
Meanwhile, the San Diego Chargers shocked Peyton Manning and the Broncos 27-20 on Dec. 12, boosting their own NFL playoff hopes while denting Denver’s aspirations of clinching the AFC’s top seeding.
Ryan Mathews ran for 127 yards and a touchdown and San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers threw two touchdown passes to Keenan Allen in the AFC West division clash.
Rivers was 12-of-20 for 166 yards for the Chargers, who improved to 7-7 and moved a half-game behind the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins for the AFC’s second wild-card playoff berth.
Manning completed 27-of-41 passes for 289 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the Broncos, who fell to 11-3.
Already assured of at least a wild-card berth, the Broncos are still battling the 10-3 Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC West crown.
Denver have the upper hand over the Chiefs, owning the head-to-head tiebreaker thanks to two wins over Kansas City this season.
Even if they win their divsion, however, the Broncos could lose out in the race to capture the top seed in the American Conference. The 10-3 New England Patriots are now very much in the running for the top spot as they visit Miami on Dec. 15 in an AFC East division clash.
Tied with reigning Super Bowl champions Baltimore for the sixth and final AFC playoff spot, Miami needs every win it can get over the last three weeks of the regular season.
Elsewhere on Dec. 15, the Chicago Bears will have quarterback Jay Cutler back from injury against Cleveland.