Last year it was the Ravens. This year, it’s the Seahawks.
The Ravens know how the Seahawks feel right now, celebrating a Super Bowl and preparing for a championship parade. However, the Ravens found it very difficult to repeat, missing the playoffs in 2013 with a disappointing 8-8 record.
Are the Seahawks better equipped to make a run at repeating than the Ravens? Here are three reasons why Seattle should be much stronger as defending champs in 2014 than the Ravens were in 2013.
1. The offseason will not gut the Seahawks roster. For various reasons, the Ravens lost a ton of players last offseason that were in an integral part of their Super Bowl team – Matt Birk, Anquan Boldin, Danelle Ellerbe, Paul Kruger, Ray Lewis, Bernard Pollard, Ed Reed, Cary Williams. The Seahawks have some key free agents like wide receivers Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate, defensive end Michael Bennett, and cornerback Brandon Browner. But the Seahawks will return far more of their core players than did the Ravens.
RELATED: [Seahawks beat Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl]
2. The Seahawks are younger than the Ravens. Seattle had the second-youngest roster in Super Bowl history. The Ravens have key players on defense like Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata who have already seen their 30th birthday. But none of these Seahawks stars are older than 25 - Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Cam Chancellor, Percy Harvin, Malcolm Smith, Jermaine Kearse, Golden Tate, and Bobby Wagner. The Seahawks are built to sustain excellence.
3. The Seahawks have a dominant defense When the Ravens won the Super Bowl last year, their defense was not dominant. It was opportunistic, smart, and stingy in the red zone. But the Ravens’ defense in 2012 was nothing like the dominant defense the Ravens had in the 2000 season, when they won their first Super Bowl. The Seahawks have a special defense, one that can carry them even when their offense is having an off day. Sure, the Seahawks will have to fight complacency next season. And their division, the NFC West, is the toughest in the NFL. But will the Seahawks miss the playoffs next season, like the Ravens did this season? It’s hard to see that happening. No NFL team has won back-to-back titles since the Patriots in 2003 and 2004. But the Seahawks look very capable of repeating.