The Seattle Seahawks say their march to the Super Bowl championship last season gives them an edge in these playoffs that is hard to match.
“We know how to handle it – how loud it’s going to be, how fast the game will be,” linebacker K.J. Wright said. “I don’t think things should be too big for us. The lights were bright the first couple of times, but this should feel pretty normal to us now.”
The Seahawks beat the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers at home last January before skewering the Denver Broncos 43-8 in the Super Bowl. There was a sense from a cross-section of Seahawks, entering Saturday’s playoff game against the Carolina Panthers, that nothing about the postseason should surprise or rattle them by now.
“These games aren’t all that different for us,” wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. “Every week is like a championship week.
“There are no big games for us; every game is treated the same. Obviously the intensity is a little elevated in the playoffs, by the fans and the media, but the games themselves aren’t different for us. That’s the experience we’re leaning on.”
Cornerback Richard Sherman said the only things that really change from the regular season to the postseason are peripheral to the games – more media obligations, greater ticket demands – but not anything about what happens on the field.
“Understanding that it’s the same game; that’s the biggest part,” Sherman said.
“Coming into the playoffs you hear all these hype-up speeches: ‘Oh, it’s bigger! It’s faster!’ Then you get out there and say it feels like the same game. We have the experience where it feels like the same game. We play it like it’s an elimination game every week.”
Choose the week off: Sherman was asked Tuesday if the Panthers might benefit from the momentum of beating the Arizona Cardinals last week, while the Seahawks had a bye.
Sherman didn’t buy that at all.
“You get less time to heal, you’re banged up,” Sherman said of playing the wild-card weekend.
“You might have the rhythm of playing, but not many people wouldn’t take a week off if they could get it.”