Seattle manhandled the New York Giants 23-0 Sunday for its sixth road win, holding the hosts to 181 yards. This is the best Seahawks road team in their history at 6-2; they are 6-0 at home.
Should they return to New Jersey this season, it would be for the Super Bowl.
"I do think that's advantageous to us," star cornerback Richard Sherman said after grabbing two of a career-worst five interceptions thrown by Eli Manning. "Anytime you are comfortable with a stadium and seen a locker room and the time zone change and the weather, it helps. You get in a routine, get a rapport with the place you're at."
The Seahawks have quite a chance to be at MetLife Stadium again if they continue to perform the way they did against the overmatched Giants (5-9).
"Just being human, you know about it," coach Pete Carroll said of the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold weather city. "It's not important now. When the time comes, if we put ourselves in position to do that ..."
Marshawn Lynch scored on a twisting, triple-effort 2-yard run, Steven Hauschka kicked three field goals and Russell Wilson toyed with New York's defence. The second-year quarterback ran for 50 yards, threw for 206 and a touchdown before sitting out the last few minutes.
Wilson has 23 wins, the most for a quarterback in his first two seasons in the Super Bowl era.
"It does matter," Wilson said of the 23 victories. "Winning a lot of games is really important. It's what we come to do every day, to have a championship day, have a championship year."
The Seahawks (12-2) are already in the playoffs and are closing in on the NFC West title and their best overall record; they went 13-3 in 2005 before losing to Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl.
New York (5-9) will be deep into its off-season by the Super Bowl with its first losing record since 2004.
"It probably pretty much shows why we're in this situation where we have only five wins and they are the top of the NFC and playing great football," said Manning, who has tied his career high with 25 interceptions.
It was Seattle's first shutout since a 58-0 romp over Arizona on Dec. 9 last year. The Giants lost 38-0 to Carolina in Week 3.
"We're not taking anything away from their defence," coach Tom Coughlin said. "They're No. 1 in the league for a reason, they are a good defensive team.
"There's no excuse for what went on out there. We kept turning the ball over, and put our defence back out there over and over and over again."
Cornerback Byron Maxwell, who has stepped in so capably for Brandon Browner (groin injury), also got two picks. Earl Thomas had the other.
The Giants lost top receiver Victor Cruz to a concussion in the fourth quarter. Cruz is 2 yards short of his third straight 1,000-yard season.
Hauschka, who is clutch from long distance (14 for 15 from beyond 40 yards), made 49- and 44-yarders, plus a 24-yard field goal.
Seattle's top-ranked defence had New York off-kilter so badly that three of Manning's interceptions were into tight coverage. Maxwell and Sherman had clearer shots at the ball than Manning's intended receivers.
"We wanted to make sure we affected the game," Sherman said.
One interception came on a desperation pass to end the half and Thomas' pick in the final period was off a deflection.
Sherman's first pick led to Lynch's brilliant short run for a 10-0 lead. Lynch seemed to be going down several times, but went into full Beast Mode to power into the end zone.
Lynch actually was most effective as a receiver with six catches for 73 yards. He rushed for 47.
Hauschka's 44-yarder made it 13-0 at halftime, then Sherman got his sixth interception of the season.
Maxwell's second pick led to Wilson's 12-yard TD pass to Doug Baldwin, the 17th touchdown New York has yielded off a turnover.
NOTES: Wilson has 50 touchdown passes in his short pro career. ... Carroll, who was Jets head coach in 1994, suggested with a laugh that people forget the last game he was on the home side in the Meadowlands. ... The Giants were shut out in the first half for the second successive week. They gained only 54 yards in the opening two periods and didn't get into Seattle territory until halfway through the fourth quarter. ... Giants T James Brewer hurt his ankle and RB Peyton Hillis was being tested for concussion symptoms.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org