NFL Week 2: How the Seahawks' Domination of 49ers Shakes Up NFC Power Balance

Bruce ChenAnalyst ISeptember 17, 2013

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Running back Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field on September 15, 2013 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks destroyed the San Francisco 49ers, and until anything more drastic happens, they are the conference title favourites. It's always tough to overreact to anything that happens early on in the NFL season, but we all saw what we saw this past Sunday night in Seattle. 

In a matchup of, perhaps, the two most well-rounded, talented and dominant Super Bowl favourites, a domination by one side always puts the rest of the conference on notice. The power of the supposedly stacked NFC conference has shifted to the northwest in a major way.

This is a roster that is missing four key players in Percy Harvin, Chris Clemons, Brandon Browner and Bruce Irvin. 

This is a running game that put up 172 rushing yards against the fourth-ranked rushing defense last year and simultaneously held the fourth-ranked rushing attack from last season to 100 yards. That doesn't sound amazing until you realize 87 of those rushing yards came from the quarterback.

Colin Kaepernick had a 20.1 passer rating and threw three ugly interceptions, after throwing two interceptions in all of last year's magical run to the Super Bowl.

And he never lost any eyebrows last season either. 

I can keep rattling off statistics, but they don't begin to tell the story. This is a San Francisco 49ers team of which their very foundation is built on running the ball, stopping the run and not making mistakes on defense.

Apparently, the loudest stadium in the world was enough to help the Seahawks shake all three of those cardinal 49er principles.

But I don't need to convince anyone who watched that game that, if the 49ers have to meet the Seahawks in CenturyLink in the playoffs, they are in trouble.

What about the rest of the NFC? 

Can we really trust the preseason darling Atlanta Falcons, who, unlike Seattle, are showing they can't handle injuries to key personnel members (Roddy White, now Steven Jackson and Kroy Biermann).

They've played, by my count, six bad quarters of football with dismal second halves against both the New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Rams.

The second-half version of Matt Ryan goes from a 122.5 passer rating in the first half to 89.8 in the second, with 420 of his passing yards coming in the first and 258 in the second, as well as three TD passes in the first and one in the second.

The Seahawks get stronger as the game goes on; Ryan and the Falcons supposedly elite offense clearly get weaker as the game goes on, and that's what allowed them to almost come back against them last year in the playoffs.

What about the Green Bay Packers? They were beat in Week 1 by the 49ers who were just beaten down by the Seahawks. Sure, you can't ever count out the otherworldly Aaron Rodgers. But they still rank, through two games, in the bottom half of the league regarding run defense pass defense. 

As good as Rodgers is, he's still been sacked six times in two games with the makeshift offensive line that's without Bryan Bulaga. 

The rest of the NFC doesn't come close. The Washington Redskins? They're 0-2 and have been playing from behind all season, and Robert Griffin III looks tentative behind that surgically repaired knee.

The Dallas Cowboys looked like they had an improved defense by forcing six turnovers from the New York Giants, but then, they came up with nothing against the Kansas City Chiefs. Philadelphia's new offense looked promising in Week 1, but then, it showed huge flaws against an average San Diego defense.

The Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints are 2-0, but they still need to prove more to be on Seattle's level. Needing until the last minutes of the game to beat the likes of Minnesota and Tampa Bay shows that you are still making silly mistakes which will cost you against Seattle. 

Through two games, we're still left trying to answer the question: If San Francisco can't beat Seattle at home, who can?