It's hard to find any story from the Seattle media concerning the Seahawks that doesn't include the word 'Super' or some mention of the Super Bowl.
That's because the 'Hawks shut out the New York Giants 23-0 in Week 15 at MetLife Stadium -- the site of Super Bowl XLVIII. So with the Seahawks having the league's best record at 12-2, there's a lot of talk about this being the first of two trips to New Jersey for Pete Carroll's team.
The Arizona Cardinals can throw a wrench in all the celebrating while strengthening their own playoff resume. Arizona (9-5) needs a win Sunday at CenturyLink Field to keep their postseason dreams alive.
The last time these two teams met in Seattle, the Seahawks embarrassed the Cardinals 58-0 -- the worst loss in franchise history.
But only 22 of the 45 Cardinals who suited up last December in Seattle are still with the team, so this game should have a different feel than that 58-point blowout did.
The two teams met earlier this year, with the Seahawks prevailing 34-22 on a Thursday night game in Week 7.
All week, in preparation for the game, we'll update you with everything going on in Seattle as the Seahawks get ready to host the Cardinals.
Sunday, December 22
• J.R. Sweezy will not play Sunday (ESPN.com)
Right guard J.R. Sweezy, the only offensive lineman who had started every game this season for the Seattle Seahawks, will not play Sunday because of a concussion. "He went through the concussion protocol and didn't make it back," Seattle Pete Carroll said Friday after practice.
• Thomas knows Arizona is better this time (ESPN.com)
Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas knows the Arizona offense he will see Sunday is much better than the one he saw two months ago in the 34-22 Seahawks' victory on the road. Thomas said the biggest difference is the improvement in quarterback Carson Palmer.
• Sherman picks Thomas as the best (ESPN.com)
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is tied for the league lead with six interceptions. His teammate Earl Thomas is one behind with five interceptions. So who would Sherman vote for right now at the NFL's defensive player of the year?
• Five matchups to watch: Seahawks vs. Cardinals (Seahawks.com)
A look at the Seahawks' Week 16 game against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, including five matchups that could impact the outcome.
• One more win will gives Zach Miller two more firsts (Seahawks.com)
The significance of what the Seahawks can accomplish Sunday is significant to Zach Miller. The opponent is not. Yes, Miller grew up in Phoenix and went to Arizona State University. Yes, the Seahawks are hosting the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. But no, that is not Miller's primary focus.
• Seahawks' defense builds on last year's lofty heights (SeattleTimes.com)
As the Seahawks prepare to face the Cardinals in a game that can give them the NFC West title and the No. 1 seed throughout the NFC playoffs, the verdict — in the eyes of the players themselves — is in: They are the best in team history.
• Keys to the game: Cardinals at Seahawks (SeattleTimes.com)
A key to Seattle's victory in Arizona was its ability to constantly pressure Carson Palmer. Seattle's seven sacks were a season high. However, Arizona's offensive line has improved. And while Palmer remains hardly mobile, the sacks have subsided and that's one reason why Palmer has been more consistent lately.
Friday, December 20
• Double Coverage: Cardinals at Seahawks (ESPN.com)
Playoff standing is on the line for both the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
The Seahawks (12-2) would clinch the NFC West title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs if they get their 15th consecutive home victory. The Cardinals (9-5) see this as a must-win game to keep their postseason hopes alive.
ESPN.com Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss and Seahawks reporter Terry Blount look at how these two division rivals match up.
• No place like home for Russell Wilson (ESPN.com)
Russell Wilson plays well on any field, but at home, he's unbeatable so far in his NFL career.
Seattle's 14-game home winning streak easily is the best in the league. The Patriots are second with eight consecutive home wins.
• Sweezy misses practice with concussion (ESPN.com)
Starting right guard J.R. Sweezy and cornerback Jeremy Lane were surprises on the injury report Thursday as two players who did not practice.
• Sherman candid on Seahawks' depth (ESPN.com)
"It helps when you don't listen to the idiots in the draft room," Sherman said. "That's when you find players like [cornerbacks] Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell] and myself and [safety] Kam Chancellor. And the list goes on, like Russell Wilson."
• Seahawks are believers in play-action passing game (Seattle Time)
The Seahawks, by design, use the play-action pass more than any other team in the NFL. And, thanks to their strong running game, they do it quite well.
• Sherman touts Thomas as defensive player of the year (MyNorthewest.com)
Cornerback Richard Sherman believes the NFL Defensive Player of the Year should come from Seattle. He doesn't necessarily think it should be him, though, instead pointing to Earl Thomas.
Thursday, December 19
• Brandon Browner still fighting ban (ESPN.com)
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner vowed to continue to fight his indefinite suspension for a violation of the league's substance-abuse policy, which was officially announced Wednesday.
• Luke Willson was a steal for the Seahawks (ESPN.com)
"He's been a fantastic draft pick for us," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said about Willson. "To play so early and contribute in such a variety of ways, and he's really just getting started. He's a tremendous prospect for us for the years to come."
• Brandon Browner banned indefinitely (ESPN.com)
The suspension is the second in two seasons for Browner. He was suspended four games last season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. He is the second Seahawks player to be suspended for violating the substance abuse policy this season. Fellow cornerback Walter Thurmond is serving the final week of a four-game suspension.
• Seahawks' running game hasn't been itself of late (MyNorthwest.com)
It has been four games and counting since Marshawn Lynch surpassed 100 yards rushing, and he's averaging 3.2 yards per carry in that span. It's a trend that is not necessarily as troubling as it is puzzling because the Seahawks seemed to have lost a step at precisely the moment you would have expected them to pick up speed.
• Seattle has turned low-round picks into starters (SeattlePI.com)
The Seahawks (12-2) have an uncanny knack for drafting players in the later rounds and being able to develop them into starters. And not just adequate players, but All-Pros in some cases.
• Marshawn Lynch in a rush to collect more victories (Seahawks.com)
While his individual totals are a little down this season, the one statistic that is the most important to Marshawn Lynch is that the Seahawks are 12-2 entering Sunday's game against the Cardinals.
Pete Carroll looks ahead to Sunday's matchup with the Arizona Cardinals and provides personnel updates on Percy Harvin, Brandon Browner & more.
Wednesday, December 18
• NFC West is the best in 2013 (ESPN.com)
Go west young man, if you want to be where the best teams are in the NFL. Specifically, the NFC West.
The 12-2 Seahawks lead the best division in the league with two weeks remaining in the regular season. The combined record for the four NFC West teams is 37-19, a .661 winning percentage.
• McShay sees an OT for Seattle in Round 1 (ESPN.com)
It's no secret that the Seahawks would love to add depth -- or a possible starter -- on the offensive line, so ESPN Insider Todd McShay has the Seahawks addressing that need in his first-round NFL mock draft.
If it ends up Seattle has the final pick of the first round (obviously, what they're hoping for with a Super Bowl win) McShay is absolutely right about the Seahawks possibly grabbing Tennessee offensive tackle Antonio Richardson, a giant guy at 6-foot-6, 330 pounds and a man with unlimited, but unrefined, skills. Richardson is a junior who will enter the 2014 draft.
• Carroll press conference notes: Harvin won't practice, no word on Browner (SeattleTimes.com)
A few quick notes from Pete Carroll's session with the media today:
— WR Percy Harvin won't practice today and Carroll said there is nothing more definitive on a timetable — meaning, no one has a guess right now when he might return;
— There seems to be some hints that a decision may be coming soon from the NFL on Brandon Browner. But there wasn't anything yet when Carroll spoke. He said Browner would be limited healthwise if he were to be able to practice.
• Sherman named NFC Defensive Player of the Week (SeattleTimes.com)
Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman has been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after intercepting two passes in the team's 23-0 win at the New York Giants on Sunday.Sherman is tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with six.
It's the second time he has been Player of the Week, also winning honors when he shut down Vernon Davis in Seattle's week two win over the 49ers at home.
• How Seahawks' Thomas and Baldwin are building Athlete Inc. (SeattleTimes.com)
The rabbit hole opened while Jesse Munoz was driving to church. During the morning of Nov. 24, Munoz saw a tweet from one of the Seahawks he follows, receiver Doug Baldwin.
In the wake of cornerback Walter Thurmond's four-game suspension, Baldwin received tweets criticizing Thurmond. He decided to respond.
• Richard Sherman: Super Bowl should not be in New Jersey (SeattlePI.com)
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman would love to play in the Super Bowl in the snow. It would give his team's league-best passing defense even more of an advantage against a quarterback and receivers with cold hands and slow feet.
But Sherman doesn't think the Super Bowl should be played in the snow.
Tuesday, December 17
• Maxwell and Lane earning praise (ESPN.com)
Cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane had to step up with the suspension of Walter Thurmond and the injury (and possible suspension) for Brandon Browner.
A Seahawks' running game that hasn't been as productive in the past four games will prepare this week to face an Arizona Cardinals defense that is allowing the fewest average rushing yards in the league.
• Focus on: Russell Wilson (Seahawks.com)
Russell Wilson, the Seahawks' second-year quarterback, played his way into being the apple of the Big Apple's media eye Sunday in a performance that wasn't even among his best efforts.
• Biggest Questions That the Seattle Seahawks Must Answer Before the 2014 Playoffs (Bleacher Report)
Coming off a dominating 23-0 shutout of the New York Giants, the Seattle Seahawks seem to have everything going their way. They clinched their spot in the playoffs three weeks ago with their win over the New Orleans Saints, and will also almost certainly wrap up home-field advantage in the playoffs at some point before the regular season ends.
• How Seahawk kicker Hauschka stays calm under pressure (MyNorthwest.com)
Hauschka is a brainy guy who didn't set out to be an NFL field-goal kicker. He could have easily become Dr. Hauschka. He was taking pre-med courses in college and intended on going to dental or medical school.
• Seahawks mostly intact as regular season winds down (MyNorthwest.com)
For the second consecutive year, the Seahawks will conclude their regular season by hosting two games against division opponents. This time, Seattle will need to win just once in the next two weeks, defeating either Arizona this Sunday or St. Louis next weekend to clinch not only the NFC West, but the top seed in the NFC playoffs.
Monday, December 16
• Russell Wilson continues to set records (ESPN.com)
Russell Wilson now is the only quarterback in NFL history to win 23 games in his first two NFL season. He also joined Dan Marino and Peyton Manning as he only quarterbacks ever to throw at least 50 touchdowns passes in their first two seasons.
• Upon Further Review: Seahawks Week 15 (ESPN.com)
This was the first shutout for the Seattle defense since the 58-0 victory over at home against Arizona on Dec. 9, 2012. It was the first shutout on the road in more than eight years.
• Car dealer to pay shutout promo (ESPN.com)
The Seattle Seahawks' 23-0 shutout of the New York Giants on Sunday will make 12 people $35,000 richer on Monday.
Jet Chevrolet, a car dealership in Federal Way, Wash., located 25 miles south of Seattle, had a promotion that if the Seahawks shut out the Giants, 12 people would split $420,000 equally.
• What we learned from Seahawks' win over Giants (MyNorthwest.com)
1. Seattle's expertise in drafting and developing cornerbacks is unmatched in the NFL.
Brandon Browner's injury and Walter Thurmond's four-game suspension have left Seattle playing the fourth and fifth cornerbacks from its depth chart, and Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane have played better than average NFL starters.
• Seahawks' dominant win inspires Super Bowl dreams (MyNorthwest.com)
Pete Carroll walked onto the field at MetLife Stadium, stopped at the edge of the end zone and just stood there for a few seconds, hands in his pockets as he looked into the fully lit, now empty stadium.
The game was over, his Seahawks had beaten the New York Giants 23-0. His press conference had ended, Carroll describing what was the team's most complete defensive performance in his four years as coach. And as Carroll stood at the edge of the field in his long-sleeved T-shirt, it was impossible not to wonder if the coach was letting his mind wander for just a moment, picturing Met Life Stadium seven weeks from now when it will be the site of the Super Bowl.
• Hugh's view: How the Seahawks picked off Eli Manning five times (SeattleTimes.com)
Seattle hung a career-high interception total on a likely Hall-of-Famer who is one of the premier playoff quarterbacks of the past two generations.
• What we learned: Seahawks snuff out Giants in New Jersey (SeattlePI.com)
Playing at the site of Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seattle Seahawks put together their most suffocating defensive performance of the season Sunday, defeating the New York Giants 23-0 while securing their first road shutout since their Super Bowl season in 2005.
• Surging Seattle Seahawks have that Super look (SeattlePI.com)
The more they claimed they didn't want to talk about it, the more they had to say.
A return trip to the Meadowlands for the Super Bowl hardly was a taboo subject after the Seahawks manhandled the New York Giants 23-0 on Sunday. With the way other contenders are betraying their weaknesses — and with the NFC road to East Rutherford almost certainly running through Seattle — Pete Carroll and crew should embrace the topic.