Seattle Seahawks 2012 Game-by-Game Predictions
Fans looking at their favorite team's schedule won't generally be concerned when they see a game against the Seattle Seahawks. NFL analysts aren't giving Seattle much respect headed into the 2012 season, either.
A dismissive attitude toward the Seahawks is understandable. Pete Carroll has led the team to a pair of 7-9 seasons, which is actually the high-point of the franchise since 2007.
NFL teams aren't going to be overlooking Seattle, though. The Seahawks will have an impact on the 2012 playoffs and as many as six opposing head coaches will see Seattle as a team that could keep them from reaching the playoffs.
A few analysts recognize the improvements being made by the Seahawk front office. Mel Kiper is one, in spite of his harsh commentary on the Seahawks draft efforts under Carroll and John Schneider.
Kiper told ESPN.com that he is predicting a breakout season for the Seahawks.
Here’s your surprise pick. The 49ers are very good, but should regress a little bit—turnover margin isn’t reliable year to year—and the Seattle defense can be really good if it can find a consistent pass rush. Russell Wilson has a chance to be really good because of his maturity—he could be this year’s Andy Dalton.
I'm predicting a 10-6 finish for Seattle. There are several wins that could go the other way, but there are also a few games I'm projecting as a loss that the Seahawks could win.
This may be enough for the NFC West to place two teams in the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
The Seahawks were an improved team in 2011, even if it wasn't reflected in their record.
The team's advancements will show up in the win column in 2012, ending a four-year run of losing seasons.
Week 1 @ Arizona Cardinals
Larry Fitzgerald creates unique issues for NFL defenses. The Seahawks have struggled to find ways to cover him the last seven seasons.
Seattle has a pair of very good cornerbacks, but it simply isn't possible for a single player to shut down the best receiver in the NFL...or at least one of the top two.
Arizona will have an issue of its own. Seattle's defensive line figures to be every bit as dominant against the run as it was last year and much better at rushing the passer. That will make life difficult for the Cardinals' running backs and quarterback John Skelton.
For those who haven't noticed, Arizona has put together a solid defense of its own. The NFC West could have three of the top-10 defenses in the NFL, but the division also has some of the NFL's elite offenses.
Points will be difficult to come by for Seattle. As many as half of its points in the desert may be credited to the defense.
Result: Seattle, 20-13
Week 2 vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have an outside shot at winning the most overrated division in the NFC.
Yes, the New York Giants are the defending Super Bowl champions, but they barely won the division with a 9-7 record last season. Had the Seahawks not beaten the Philadelphia Eagles in December, the Giants would have been watching the playoffs instead of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
Dallas is likely going to have another mediocre season and miss the playoffs again in 2012. A loss to the Seahawks will be the Cowboys' first sign of vulnerability.
The Cowboys' downfall in Seattle will be the line of scrimmage. Dallas’ offensive line won't be able to stop Seattle’s defensive front. The Seahawks will pressure and frustrate Tony Romo.
DeMarco Murray could be the Cowboys' best weapon in this game, as he looks to build on his 139 yards on 22 carries in last year's game against the Seahawks. If Seattle doesn't do a better job containing him, the Cowboys will have an opportunity to steal a win.
Result: Seattle, 24-17
Week 3 vs. Green Bay Packers
Seattle's goal in 2012 will be to prove an NFL team can still win with an elite defense and great rushing attack. They will have an opportunity to do just that when they host two of the best passing attacks in the NFL.
While they will likely be a huge underdog against Green Bay, this is a game Seattle can win. The Packers lack a ground game, which will allow Seattle's secondary to sit back and concentrate on covering Green Bay's receivers.
The Seahawks will likely spend a majority of the snaps in a variation of their "Big Nickel" package. This gives them an extra defensive back and adjusts their one-gap rushing responsibilities. They should be able to shut down the Packers' rushers with just six defenders.
Seattle will try to rekindle the magic from the last time Green Bay visited Seattle on a Monday night. The Seahawks won that game led by Shaun Alexander, who rushed for more than 200 yards.
A big night from Marshawn Lynch could propel the Seahawks to a 3-0 record and announce their arrival in the NFC.
More likely, Seattle will be looking later in their schedule to secure a marquee win.
Result: Green Bay, 27-24
Week 4 @ St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams should be a team on the rise, but they didn’t accomplish enough with their draft picks and free agency to make much of an impact this season.
Quarterback Sam Bradford has a lot to prove. The team decided to stick with their former top draft pick instead of drafting Robert Griffin III and trading him. He should have a few new weapons, but the St. Louis receivers are still underwhelming.
Steven Jackson remains the heart of the Rams' offense, but he has never had a 100-yard game against Seattle. That won't likely change in 2012.
Seattle's defense will be too much for the Rams' offense. While St. Louis should show signs of improvement, it will need to work on defensive continuity and add a few more parts on offense to be competitive.
Result: Seattle, 30-10
Week 5 @ Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers are working on a major turnaround in 2012. This game will be the first big test for their offense against one of the best defenses in the NFC.
The Panthers' defense could be the biggest factor in this game. The addition of linebacker Luke Kuechly should make it better unit. But other players, such as Charles Johnson, need to step up their game.
The biggest issue with Carolina is its suspect secondary. If Seattle can control the line of scrimmage, its receivers should be able to turn this game into a huge road victory.
Carolina is getting attention as a potential playoff team in 2012. And on the surface, it seems as though Seattle is a long shot here, but Carolina doesn’t match up well against the Seahawks.
Carolina's strength on offense is running the ball, but stopping the run is a specialty for Seattle. The Seahawks are vulnerable to teams that effectively use tight ends as receivers. But this is an area where the Panthers are weak.
An improved Panthers team will have matchup struggles with Seattle and a lose a game it feels it should have won.
Result: Seattle, 27-17
Week 6 vs. New England Patriots
Seattle will need a bit of luck to reach 4-1. It will take a whole lot more than luck to get to 5-1.
Even with the home-field advantage, this is one of only a few games in which the Seahawks will need an incredible stretch of good fortune to win.
The Patriots will win with their passing game. Their wide receivers won't likely find much room in Seattle’s secondary, but it will be a different story with their tight ends.
As mentioned earlier, Seattle hasn't been able to contain even decent tight ends in recent seasons. The Patriots' options are just a tad better than decent.
Seattle may keep the game close, but that is about all it can expect.
Result: New England, 27-17
Week 7 @ San Francisco 49ers
Speaking of games the Seahawks will have little chance of winning, this is another one. Seattle will only have three days off before facing its primary division rival.
Life isn't much better for San Francisco, but at least the 49ers are home after playing host to the New York Giants.
Seattle will be hoping to see signs of life from rookie quarterback Russell Wilson by this point. Its receivers could prove to be underrated by Week 7, and the 49er secondary can be exploited.
If the Seahawks can block the best front seven in the NFC, they have a chance to pull off an upset. Not a great one, but a chance.
There aren't many offensive lines that will be able to fend off San Francisco's pass rush. Seattle's isn't likely to be different, so unless Wilson can make up a lot of ground with his legs, the Seahawks will struggle to keep the game close.
This game will be a smash-mouth defensive struggle with both teams attempting to run the ball. Fans of the old black-and-blue division will want to watch this game.
Result: San Francisco, 17-13
Week 8 @ Detroit Lions
Seattle vs. Detroit could come down to Richard Sherman’s ability to contain the NFL's best receiver not named Larry.
The Seahawks may not keep Sherman on Calvin Johnson, though, as they've tended to keep him and Brandon Browner on their respective sides of the field.
Whichever approach Carroll and Gus Bradley take, the Seahawks' secondary might be the closest thing Johnson sees to the Madden Curse in 2012.
The Lions’ offense will be potent. But they will likely have issues with their ground game. Depth at receiver will also be cause for concern against Seattle.
The Seahawks will be able to play press coverage with their corners and dedicate Earl Thomas to provide help over the top on Johnson.
Detroit will lean on its defensive front to get enough pressure to shut down Seattle's offense.
This game will be closer than many think and is one Seattle could win.
Result: Detroit, 24-23
Week 9 vs. Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota should have a fairly good defense in 2012. Led by Jared Allen, the Vikings' four down linemen should be good. They attempted to upgrade their secondary over the offseason by adding four players, but it appears they came up short.
The Vikings' offense revolves around Adrian Peterson. If he's healthy, the Vikings could have the most balanced offense in the NFC North, assuming quarterback Christian Ponder continues to improve.
The addition of wide receiver Jerome Simpson will create openings underneath for Percy Harvin. However, the Vikings won't find many holes in the Seahawks' secondary, and Peterson alone won't be enough.
Result: Seattle, 21-17
Week 10 vs. New York Jets
The Jets should have another good defense. Comparing points generated by the defense vs. their likely inept offense could become an intriguing activity for beat writers.
New York is thin at the skill positions. The Jets' quarterback competition made Arizona thankful for Kevin Kolb vs. John Skelton, and they are so bad off at wide receiver that it is surprising they didn't sign Terrell Owens.
The defense could be prone to wear down after spending the majority of the day on the field. It also will be leaning on rookie Quinton Coples to provide a pass rush.
Result: Seattle, 23-6
Week 12 @ Miami Dolphins
Seattle looks to be a better team than Miami, at least on paper. The Seahawks have a much better defense and should have a more balanced offense.
Both teams will have a solid ground game, but the Seahawks hold the advantage at receiver.
Russell Wilson and Matt Flynn have played better than any quarterback on Miami’s roster.
If Seattle has progressed enough to win the games they should and they can adjust to the early game on the East Coast, a road win in Miami and possibly Buffalo could keep them competitive in the NFC West.
Result: Seattle, 20-10
Week 13 @ Chicago Bears
Playing at Soldier Field is second nature for Seattle. This will be the Seahawks' fourth trip to Chicago in the last three seasons.
Seattle won both of the regular-season games but lost the biggest contest, a divisional playoff game following the 2010 season.
The Seahawks will have similar intentions in 2012, and they do stack up well against the Bears.
Chicago will have a more balanced offense, but Matt Forte is still the driver of the unit. That feeds right into the teeth of the Seahawks' defense.
Seattle will expect to win this game. If the Bears offensive line is still struggling, the Seahawks will likely earn their third straight regular-season win in Chicago.
But at this point, I'm predicting a tough loss for Seattle, dropping a road game it could have won.
Result: Chicago, 17-13
Week 14 vs. Arizona Cardinals
The 2012 season could be long and torturous for Arizona's offense and quarterbacks. The line is wrought with holes, and unless their young players mature and jell quickly, points will be hard to find.
The noise in Seattle won't help the Cardinals' cause. The Seahawks defensive linemen will get a quick jump off the snap and will spend the afternoon clogging running lanes and pressuring the quarterback.
Whichever Arizona quarterback is still standing by Week 14 will try to force the ball to Larry Fitzgerald and his mates, but that is a dangerous proposition with the ball-hawks in Seattle's secondary.
Result: Seattle, 24-10
Week 15 @ Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills' situation is somewhat similar to that of Seattle. They’ve been flirting with a winning record but haven't been able to make the step from losing to winning.
In another way, the two teams are much different. Buffalo started strong last season and fizzled in the second half, partly due to injuries to several key players.
But many analysts see the Bills as the team making the jump in 2012. It seems counter-intuitive, though, as Buffalo failed to address several key areas of need.
The Bills helped their pass rush and run defense by adding a pair of defensive ends, but the team as a whole still lacks quality depth at most positions. Buffalo will struggle down the stretch, even if it has a normal number of injuries.
Seattle is the better team, at least on paper right now, and would be a big favorite at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks could also be favored this late in the season because of the injury situation.
If Seattle's tackles can control Mario Williams and give Russell Wilson time to throw, the receivers should be able to find holes in Buffalo's secondary. Marshawn Lynch will also be looking to inflict a little pain on his former team.
Result: Buffalo, 14-13
Week 16 vs. San Francisco 49ers
The home game against San Francisco will be a must-win for Seattle. The 49ers should have a playoff spot secured at this point, but Seattle could still be alive to win the NFC West.
Seattle expects to at least have a shot at a wild-card berth.
Seattle almost won its Week 16 home game against San Francisco last season. Larry Grant, while filling in for Patrick Willis, forced a Tarvaris Jackson fumble and San Francisco recovered it, denying the Seahawks a shot at a game-winning field goal. The 49ers held on for a two-point win.
Seattle should be able to write a different ending in 2012. Crowd noise will give Seattle's defensive line an advantage, as it will try to exploit a suspect right side of the 49ers' offensive line.
I argued prior to the 2010 draft that Anthony Davis should play guard in the NFL. If he doesn't step up his game this season, it will be interesting to see if Jim Harbaugh looks to make a move with him next season.
Seattle's secondary is built to contain the kind of receivers the 49ers have. Tight end Vernon Davis will be the biggest issue.
Seattle's run defense should be able to handle Frank Gore and company. The Seahawks' offense will be seasoned and look to exploit an overrated 49er secondary, but that will require a healthy offensive line containing a powerful 49ers' pass rush.
Result: Seattle, 17-13
Week 17 vs. St. Louis Rams
Including a playoff win on the road, the St. Louis Rams beat Seattle three times in 2004. They have only managed one win since, at home in 2010.
Seattle will extend its current winning streak against the Rams to five.
Result: Seattle, 31-13
Playoffs? Are the Seahawks Talking Playoffs?
That's a matter of perspective, but Pete Carroll has been clear that Seattle has every intention of taking back the NFC West. He hasn't openly talked about what the team can do after they reach the playoffs, but Carroll had one goal in mind when he returned to the NFL.
He wants to lead the Seahawks to their first championship.
This may not be the year to talk about a deep playoff run. The team has a few key areas of concern that will likely keep them from winning too many playoff games. They are starting a rookie quarterback, their offensive line isn't proven and there are concerns with the play at the receiver positions.
The defense could be top five and is comprised mostly of young players who are under contract for at least a few more seasons.
Making the playoffs and getting postseason experience would be a great step for the Seahawks.
There are several games that could go either way. With a little luck, Carroll could reach his goal of winning the NFC West in 2012.
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