How dangerous are the Seahawks?

Russell Wilson had a terrific game on Sunday against the Chicago Bears. onathan Daniel/Getty Images

Going to Chicago and beating the Bears is a huge sign of progress for the 2012 season, as well as the big picture, for the Seattle Seahawks. Russell Wilson, Seattle's rookie quarterback, was fantastic on Sunday. But the bigger question is where this win leaves Seattle.

Can the Seahawks challenge for the NFC West? Are they a playoff-caliber team? If so, can they make noise in the postseason? And just how far has Wilson come in his maturation since Week 1?

The NFC West-leading San Francisco 49ers lost to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, a team they tied in Week 10, but the fact remains that the 49ers are 8-3-1 and the Seahawks only 7-5. The 49ers travel to Seattle (perhaps the most difficult place to play on the road in the NFL) in Week 16, but San Francisco also has already beaten Seattle head-to-head in Week 7. That means that Week 16 matchup is most likely a must-win for Seattle if it wants to win the NFC West.