In my opinion, these are the four best teams in the NFC,
Packers.....12-3, #1 Offense 31.6 PPG, #16 Defense 23.5 PPG, +121 point differential
Saints........11-4, #4 Offense 29.9 PPG, #8 Defense 22.0 PPG, +119 point differential
Seahawks..11-4, #7 Offense 28.9 PPG, #13 Defense 23.2 PPG, +85 point differential
Bucs..........10-5 , #4 Offense 29.9 PPG, #7 Defense 21.9 PPG, +120 point differential
Standings and point differential taken from here,https://www.nfl.com/standings/
Team stats taken from here,https://www.espn.com/nfl/stats/team/_/t ... e/dir/desc
Yes, I use points per game instead of yards per game because I think ppg are a much better measure than yards when ranking offenses and defenses. I really don't care how many yards an offense racks up if they aren't scoring points, and I really don't care how many yards a defense is giving up if they aren't allowing points.
Packers, Saints, and Bucs all have top 5 offenses, and the Seahawks come in not far behind at #7. However, the Seahawks offense has taken a step or two back in the 2nd half of the season. The same can't be said for any of these other 3 teams in my opinion.
The Saint and Bucs both have top 10 defenses that have been consistently good for the most part
(every team has hiccups) over the entire season. The Packers D has been consistently middle of the pack for the most part
over the entire season. The Seahawks D started out absolutely horrible, but has improved tremendously over the past 7 weeks or so.
Interestingly, the Packers, Saints, and Bucs all have nearly identical point differentials at right about +120. While the Seahawks still have a very respectable point differential of +85, that still lags quite a bit behind the other 3 teams.
Obviously, there are dozens of others factors to consider, but I'm not going to get into each and every one in this post. To sum it up, at the end of the day, I keep coming to the conclusion that we are probably the 4th best team in the NFC behind the Packers, Saints, and yep, even the Bucs. Hopefully no one strokes out over that last one. I do think it's fairly close and I do think the Seahawks are capable of beating any of those teams, I just think it's fair to say that those teams are probably a bit better than we are.
So having said all that, back to the original question "What do we need to do to consider this season a success?"
The #1 priority of any team is to win the division. We've done that. There is some measure of success in that, in my opinion.
Next up would be winning a playoff game. At this point it looks like we're most likely going to be the #3 seed which would mean that we would be playing the #6 seed at home. Losing that game would be awfully disappointing and I think it would be fair to call that a failure. Winning would be some small measure of success, it's a playoff game after all, but this is one that we should win, so... yeah.
Then we have the divisional round. I think the most likely divisional matchups are Bucs@Packers and Seahawks@Saints. If we went into N.O. and beat the Saints in the playoffs, I'd have to consider that a pretty big success. If we lost that game I'm not sure I'd consider losing to a better team on the road in the playoffs a failure. As a Seahawks fan, of course it would be disappointing, but a failure? Not sure I could go that far.
Anything beyond the divisional round I'd have to consider a pretty big success, since as I've explained, I think we're most likely going to be playing better teams on the road going forward after the wildcard round.