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.