Seattle Seahawks: 3 Reasons Marshawn Lynch Will Dominate NFC West
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Lynch tore apart NFC West defenses last season, as he rushed for 502 yards on 122 carries against divisional foes. He was also the only running back to score a rushing touchdown and rush for 100 yards against the San Francisco 49ers last year.
Lynch runs with a passion for contact and is able to create a hole if his line doesn’t produce one. With his tough, head-down running style, he's able to abuse opposing defenses and punishes players for not wrapping him up.
The best part about Lynch is that he thrives regardless of who is in front of him. During the Seahawks influx of offensive lineman last season, Lynch just kept about his business, as he led the NFL in rushing over the final nine weeks, according to ESPN.
Lynch also broke the Seahawks record for most consecutive games with a rushing touchdown when he scored in 10 straight games.
He broke a record held by the last great Seahawks running back, Shaun Alexander, but comparisons between the two basically end there.
Lynch has a mean streak to him that hasn’t been seen in Seattle for a long time. Alexander looked to move away from contact, Lynch, on the other hand, basically looks for opposing defenders.
These are all reasons why it’s safe to assume Lynch is poised for another magnificent campaign, especially against the NFC West.
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Simply put, Lynch wants to make sure there's a group of defenders before he goes down.
Lynch averaged 4.2 yards per carry last season and will be counted on to provide some stability to an ever-changing Seahawks offense.
With perhaps a new quarterback in 2012, Seattle is hoping Lynch can be a mainstay on the offense and provide the necessary spark to alleviate some of the offensive burden.
There may be no back better suited for the job than Lynch, because he can take a beating. To say Lynch is a tough cookie is an understatement.
This is the same guy who broke seven tackles as he scored from 67 yards out in a playoff game.
After Lynch abused the NFC West last season, opposing defenses will definitely look to slow him down by sending multiple defenders his way.
But with the way Lynch runs the ball, that strategy may prove ineffective, and with a more talented quarterback under center, the Hawks offense could make them pay for gambling.
Only One Dominant Defense
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The NFC West is on the rise, without a doubt.
But, defensively, the Niners boast the only defense that strikes fear into opposing offenses.
Lynch was successful against San Francisco, at least relative to other backs, as he gained 140 yards on the ground in two games, while scoring once.
Outside of San Fran, the NFC West did not improve tremendously on the defensive side of the ball.
The Rams made some moves to solidify their interior defensive lineman by drafting Michael Brockers and signing Kendall Langford. But, the Rams will need a more productive linebacking core if they want a chance to slow down Lynch.
St. Louis features one of the top young linebackers in James Laurinaitis, but he will need help from his outside linebackers if they want to stand a chance against Lynch.
As for Arizona, their defense vastly improved over the second half of last season en route to finishing second in the division.
However, with an aging Darnell Dockett and no real linebacking threats, the Cardinals will regress in 2012.
They did re-sign Calais Campbell, which was a major factor in the defense’s improvement a season ago, but with no help around him Campbell’s production could diminish.
Last Season's Output
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Lynch was a workhorse for the Hawks last season.
He was also more successful against NFC West opponents than any other teams.
He averaged 70.2 yards per game when his opponent was outside of the division. Within the NFC West, Lynch’s average raised to 83.6 yards per game.
He was successful against divisional foes in 2011, and there's no reason to assume his production will drop off.
With the Seahawks becoming a more well-rounded offense from a season ago, Lynch should flourish by not having to be called upon as much.
Seattle used three starting offensive line combinations during the final nine weeks, according to ESPN, and Lynch just maintained his output.
With a more experienced offensive line and more playmakers around him on offense, Lynch could see his production soar.
Beast Mode ran wild through NFC West defenses a season ago, look for that trend to continue in 2012.