The Seattle Seahawks have gone 7-9 back-to-back in their first two seasons under Head Coach Pete Carroll. One of those 7-9 seasons got them to the playoffs, and even to the divisional round. But last season 7-9 got them an early vacation.
With the emergence of the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West, Seattle had better up its game. That’s because 7-9 isn’t going to cut it this year, either.
For this season some important moves have been made, and one big free-agent signing was done in an effort to upgrade the most important position. But there are some questions, mainly on offense, and a tough schedule to deal with.
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Last Year in Review
Seattle ended up going 2-5 vs. teams that made the playoffs, but they also went 3-2 against the Cardinals, Cowboys, Eagles and Bears, all of whom finished 8-8 for the season.
Also, on the year, the Seahawks outscored opponents by a touchdown, and they managed to go 9-6-1 against the spread for their financial backers.
The conclusion we reach is Seattle played a bit over its head last year.
The Seahawks didn't lose too many players of note over the offseason other than linebacker David Hawthorne, the team's leading tackler the last three seasons, and offensive lineman Robert Gallery.
But they made some key pickups, including Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn and two former Tennessee Titan defenders, tackle Jason Jones and linebacker Barrett Ruud.
Then at the draft they spruced up the pass rush by taking West Virginia defensive end Bruce Irvin at No. 15 overall, and then they bolstered the linebacking corps by grabbing Bobby Wager out of Utah State at No. 47.
Flynn and incumbent Tarvaris Jackson will battle it out for the starting QB spot, but Seattle also made an interesting pick at the draft in taking Russell Wilson, a smart and talented kid who had a great collegiate career at North Carolina State and Wisconsin. He's a bit small, at 5—foot-11 and 205 pounds, but, hey, that is about the same size as Drew Brees.
Seattle ranked just 28th in the league last year with 304 yards per game on offense and 21st in rushing at 110 YPG. Some of that can be attributed to injuries along the offensive line, but some also to ineffectiveness at quarterback.
Running back Marshawn Lynch ran for 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns, and his 4.2 yards-per-carry average was the best of his career.
Jackson completed 60 percent of his passes, but his 6.9 yards-per-attempt average ranked in the bottom third among NFL starters. He did, however, play through a torn pectoral, and word is he's popular among his fellow players.
Along the line Seattle returns four starters, but as a group they remain one of the youngest in the league.
A rookie, Doug Baldwin, led the team in catches last year with just 51. In an effort to bolster the receiving corps, the Seahawks have recently added Terrell Owens and Braylon Edwards. But reading the tea leaves on those two guys is tough; they could help, or they could both be gone by the time camp breaks.
One stat from last year that really bothers us is Seattle's ranking 29th in average time of possession at 28:23. Around the NFL last year teams that won the T.O.P. battle won 68 percent of games outright and covered the spread 66 percent of the time.
Seattle ranked ninth overall last year, allowing 332 YPG, which was a considerable improvement after giving up 369 YPG in 2010.
The Seahawks also ranked 15th vs. the run at 112 YPG.
This year this unit gets nine starters back, and while they'll miss Hawthorne they should still be okay. Irvin and Wagner won't have to start right away, which means they can be eased into the system. The main part of the game on this side of the ball they'll want to improve is the pass rush, which generated only 33 sacks last year.
Overall the Seattle defense could improve even more this year.
2012 Seattle Seahawks Schedule Analysis
According to last year's win/loss records, Seattle will play the 12th-toughest schedule in the league this season. They've only got five games vs. teams that made the playoffs last year, and only one of those games comes after Week 8.
But the Seahawks have some tough ones when they host the Cowboys, Patriots and Jets and visit the Panthers, Lions and Bears.
That's not to mention the two games with the 49ers.
Also, Seattle will play four games in the Eastern Time Zone, which isn't great news for a team that's 2-11 straight-up on that split over the last five seasons.
For their season opener Sept. 9 at Arizona 5Dimes is listing the Seahawks as two-point underdogs, with an “over/under” of 41.
2012 Seahawks Futures Betting Odds
Bookmaker is offering Seattle at +400 to win the NFC West this season, +3000 to win the NFC and +6000 to win the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, Seattle has been saddled with a regular-season wins over/under of 7.5.
Also, 5Dimes is offering a price of +320 on the Seahawks making the playoffs, and +1350 on playing in the NFC Championship Game.
2012 Seattle Seahawks Predictions
This is a tough one. Seattle could very well be a better team this year, compared to last year, but it might not show up in the W/L column. They can run the ball a bit, and the defense should be fine, but they need better production out of the QB spot. We see about seven realistically winnable games on the schedule, but then again the Seahawks won six times last year as underdogs on the betting line. Add it all up and we're leaning toward the over 7.5 on their wins total for this season.
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