Seattle Seahawks Predictions
Last season, the Seattle Seahawks matched the 7-9 record they posted in the 2010 season when they won the NFC West title. This time around it wasn’t enough as San Francisco took the division by storm with a 13-3 mark.
Head coach Pete Carroll believes the key to becoming a perennial playoff contender is the defensive side of the football. The Seattle defense was pretty darn good in 2011, and it could be even better in 2012 after adding seven defensive players through the draft. The offense, however, was among the worst in the NFL.
The Seahawks finished 28th in the NFL in total offense last season with 303.8 yards per game. They ranked 23rd in scoring with 20.1 points per contest. It’s going to take better play from the quarterback position for Seattle to improve on these numbers.
Unsatisfied with the play of Tarvaris Jackson, who completed 60.2 percent of his passes for 3,091 yards with 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, the Seahawks signed free agent Matt Flynn and drafted Russell Wilson in the third round. Flynn turned a lot of heads when he threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns against Detroit last season.
The receiving corps will be better in 2012 as long as Sidney Rice can stay on the field. He only caught 32 passes for 484 yards and two touchdowns as shoulder and concussion issues kept him out of six games.
With Rice battling injuries, Doug Baldwin emerged as Seattle’s top target. He led the team with 51 receptions, 788 receiving yards and four touchdowns grabs.
The Seahawks are counting on increased production from Golden Tate and tight end Zach Miller this season. They also like the addition of tight end Kellen Winslow.
Running back Marshawn Lynch is coming off a Pro Bowl season during which he rushed for 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’ll continue to be a workhorse.
The offensive line struggled early but jelled in the second half of the season, resulting in the Seahawks rushing for at least 100 yards in seven of their final eight games. The pass blocking, however, left much to be desired as Seattle finished 29th in the league with 50 sacks allowed. If healthy, this unit, which features left tackle Russell Okung, right guard John Moffitt and center Max Unger, shows promise.
Last season, the defense kept Seattle in games when the offense struggled to move the football. The Seahawks finished seventh in the league in scoring defense with 19.7 points allowed per game and ninth in total defense with 332.2 yards allowed per contest.
The defensive front is led by end Chris Clemons, who led the team with 11 sacks. No other player on the roster had more than four sacks, which is why the Seahawks decided to go after Bruce Irvin with their first-round pick.
The linebacker unit will miss David Hawthorne, who led the team with 115 tackles. He has left for New Orleans. Despite the loss, I’m not expecting a major drop off in production. Middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, weak-side linebacker Leroy Hill and strong-side linebacker K.J. Wright are all solid options. The Seahawks also added Bobby Wagner in the second round of the draft. He was a beast at Utah State.
The defensive backfield is the strength of the defense. It helped the Seahawks rank fourth in the NFL in interceptions (22). Safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, and cornerback Brandon Browner, who led the team with six interceptions, all made Pro Bowl trips following the 2011 season. The other corner, Richard Sherman isn’t a weak link. He had four interceptions and 53 tackles last year.
NFC West Prediction: 3rd Place
Seattle’s defense is one of the best in the league and could potentially be better than it was a year ago. The offense, however, still has a long way to go. Jackson isn’t a star quarterback, and Flynn is still very much unproven. Flynn will likely emerge as the starter, but I don’t expect him to take the league by storm. He won’t have the same kind of weapons that he had in Green Bay. The schedule is no picnic either. Even the “12th man” likely won’t be able to stand up to Dallas, Green Bay, New England and the New York Jets in non-division play.
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