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Seattle Seahawks clinch home field with romp of Rams

The path to the NFC Championship goes through Seattle.

The Seahawks clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with their 27-9 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

CenturyLink Field is one of the toughest places to play in the league, and Seattle will be well rested after a first-round bye. NFC contenders beware.

Here's what else we learned Sunday.

1. The Seahawks have yet to win a Super Bowl in their 37-year history, but this might be their best chance yet. With the Super Bowl in New York -- if they make it that far -- few teams will be better prepared for the chilly climate.

2. The Seahawks' secondary is missing Brandon Browner due to suspension, but other players have picked up the slack. In this game, it was linebacker Malcolm Smith, sparking the Seahawks' scoring with a pick six of Kellen Clemens early in the game. Byron Maxwell, who has impressed as a fill in for Browner, continued his strong play with a nice interception of Clemens late in the second quarter.

3. Marshawn Lynch ran violently as always. He knocked Rams corner Trumaine Johnson's helmet clean off his head with a vicious stiff arm that ignited one of several scuffles in a testy game.

4. The Rams missed the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season. Only the Browns (11 seasons), Raiders (also 11) and Bills (14) have longer active postseason droughts.

5. However, the Rams do have promise heading into the offseason. The defense has been a bright spot, highlighted by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Robert Quinn, who finished second in the league with 19 sacks. They also have a dangerous playmaker in Tavon Austin and a legit running back in Zac Stacy. The Rams also will have QB Sam Bradford returning from injury. That coupled with dual first-round draft picks (including the No. 2 overall selection from the Redskins) sets the Rams up nicely for 2014.

6. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that it looks like Percy Harvin will end the year on injured reserve. The Seahawks traded a first-round draft pick for the dangerous playmaker, but he's played only one game in 2013 while dealing with a hip injury. Fortunately for Seattle, Golden Tate has raised his game. On Sunday he produced one of his best games of the year, recording eight catches for 129 yards and a touchdown.

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