In his last full season with Indianapolis, Peyton Manning threw for 4,700 yards and 33 touchdowns. The stunning stat is that this year the Colts accounted for about 3,300 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The Indianapolis Colts, while horrid, could not even combine for half as many touchdowns as Peyton Manning threw all of the year before. 3,300 yards and 14 touchdowns. That is a putrid offense. Manning, who some argued was the 2011 MVP, was the difference in at least nine wins and almost 140 more points over the span of a season. Everyone remembers how absolutely terrible the Colts passing game was last season.
Manning simply covered up the Colts' weaknesses right? Manning was the offense, or more correctly, the offense was Manning.
What was the Seahawks passing offense in 2011? Around 3,300 yards and 15 touchdowns. Sound familiar? The Seahawks under Whitehurst, Jackson and even a few throws by Sidney Rice and Marshawn Lynch produced the exact same passing offense as the excruciatingly bad Indianapolis Colts offense last year.
The Seahawks didn't even average 200 yards passing a game in 2011. Some people might try and argue that this is because the Seahawks ran the ball so effectively under Lynch. While this is true, the Seahawks actually averaged over 30 passes each game and only had about 15 more yards each game than the Colts averaged last season.
My point from these stats is this: Even with Marshawn Lynch's amazing season, Seattle's offense was terrible. So terrible in fact, that it was one of the four worst in the NFL. With Manning this offense will immediately become better.
How far would the Seahawks go with Manning?
Manning elevates the play of every single player around him, whether that means Mike Williams has (another) comeback season or that Golden Tate finally has a breakout year. Manning's play will even boost the play of Lynch who really did have a tremendous year last year.
The Seahawks have the pieces on offense, except for quarterback. Peyton Manning would make the Seahawks offense explode into one of the best offenses in the NFC and certainly in the NFL.
But what would that mean for wins and losses?
Analyzing Seattle's defense last year is actually quite surprising. The Seahawks defense actually was second in the NFC in points per game (19.7) and third in yards per game (332). This all came with a defense that is young and improving. Seattle's secondary, made up of first or second year players, put three of their four starting defensive backs in the Pro Bowl.
With the albeit hopeful return of Red Bryant and David Hawthorne and the addition of a stud defensive lineman in the draft (Melvin Ingram or Nick Perry) the Seahawks D will contend for being the best defense in the NFC.
So let's add all this up. If Manning comes to Seattle, to an offense ready to get better and a defense set to build on last season's success, where does the team go?
The answer, to at least a 12-win season, a division title and quite possibly the Super Bowl. Seattle has a chance to become great with one free-agent signing. If Peyton Manning can recognize this possibility and John Schneider can open the check book, Manning could be going to his third Super Bowl in the last six years.