Seattle Seahawks: Predicting The '09 Season
Summer is on the horizon and there's plenty that could change between now and opening kick off, but here's an early prediction as to how the Seahawks' season could pan out in 2009.
Week One vs St Louis Rams
The Seahawks currently own an eight-game winning streak against the Rams that stretches back to January 2005. St. Louis is in the midst of a transition year and although improvement is expected under Steve Spagnuolo, we might not see an instant impact on opening weekend.
Key opponent: Steve Jackson (RB) - the Rams will lean on the running game and stopping Jackson will provide a recipe for success.
Verdict: Seattle opens with a victory
Week Two at San Francisco 49ers
When the two teams met in week two of the 2008 season, the 49ers pulled off a surprise road win. The Seahawks won their last two visits to Candlestick and will be going for the hat-trick.
Key opponent: Shaun Hill (QB) - If the Seahawks can make life uncomfortable for Hill it could make the 49ers one dimensional.
Verdict: Singletary's team clinch a close one
Week Three vs Chicago Bears
Jay Cutler struggled in his NFL debut against the Seahawks and travels North West to meet the 12th man. Seattle won an entertaining encounter in 2007 (30-23) to avenge two defeats in 2006-one in the playoffs.
Key opponent: Matt Forte (RB) - Forte should make like easier for Cutler as he adjusts to a new team. Stopping the run will force the QB to attack and possibly lead to mistakes.
Verdict: Seahawks win a shoot-out
Week Four at Indianapolis Colts
Seattle's first visit to the Lucas Oil Stadium and a face-off with Peyton Manning.
Key opponent: Peyton Manning (QB) - Last year's MVP is still an elite quarterback and this will be a big test for Seattle's new defense.
Verdict: Colts offense too strong
Week Five vs Jacksonville Jaguars
A second successive game against the AFC South, the Seahawks need to make home field advantage count after two defeats on the road.
The Jaguars flattered to deceive last year recording a 5-11 record despite great expectations heading into 2008.
Key opponent: Maurice Jones-Drew (RB) - Now considered a feature back in Jacksonville, Jones-Drew is a real enigma and an under rated running back.
Verdict: Comfortable Seahawks victory
Week Six vs Arizona Cardinals
Seattle's first opportunity to test themselves against the current NFC Champs.
Despite contrasting fortunes in 2008, the Seahawks and Cardinals fought out two close regular season games (Arizona eventually winning both).
Key opponent: Larry Fitzgerald (WR) - Seattle's inability to stop the Cardinals passing game hurt them twice last season. Fitzgerald is arguably the best receiver in the NFL.
Verdict: Another close one, this time Seattle wins through
Week Seven BYE
Week Eight at Dallas Cowboys
Thanksgiving Day and a national audience wasn't the best time for the Seahawks to produce one of their ugliest performances in years when they lost to Dallas 34-9 last season.
Seattle will be one of the first teams to visit the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Key Opponent: DeMarcus Ware (OLB) - Ware destroyed the Seahawks with three sacks in 2008.
Verdict: Seattle pulls off a surprise road win
Week Nine vs Detroit Lions
Jim Schwartz's Lions are next up at Qwest Field and it wouldn't be a total surprise if 2009's #1 draft pick was starting for Detroit by this point. Matt Stafford will likely start his career behind Daunte Culpepper, but won't sit for too long.
Key Opponent: Julian Peterson (OLB) - returning to his old team, Peterson will be keen to show what the Seahawks traded away.
Verdict: Home win, but the Lions will be much improved in 2009
Week Ten at Arizona
A re-match against the division champions and a chance to avenge tough defeats in Glendale in 2008 and 2007. We'll know by this point how the division is shaping up, this could be a crucial match in the race for the post-season.
Key Opponent: Kurt Warner (QB) - having gone with Fitzgerald in the first game, we'll take Warner here. The Seahawks need to cut off the supply to Arizona's receivers.
Verdict: Arizona avenge defeat at Qwest Field
Week Eleven at Minnesota Vikings
Matt Hasselbeck will remember the last time he faced the Vikings - E.J. Henderson's tackle provoked a knee injury which spoilt his 2006 season as the Seahawks lost a 12 game winning streak at home.
Minnesota's dome is always a tough place to visit and should provide a stern test in the middle of Seattle's three game road trip.
Key Opponent: Jared Allen (DE) - AP is an obvious other option but we know he'll produce every week. Seattle will need to provide some offense themselves and keeping Allen off Hasselbeck could be a determining factor.
Verdict: Vikings win at home
Week Twelve at St Louis Rams
Should the Seahawks win in week one, they'll extend their winning streak against St Louis to nine games. The Rams have not been push overs in the four road games included in that run and this will be another tight contest.
Key Opponent: Steven Jackson (RB) - as before, St Louis will be relying on a ground game to open up the pass.
Verdict: Seahawks make it a perfect ten against the Rams
Week Thirteen vs San Francisco 49ers
If the Niners and Seahawks are expected to challenge Arizona in the NFC West this year, this could be incredibly important. San Francisco won 33-30 (OT) at Qwest Field last year, getting revenge for MNF shut-out in 2007.
Key Opponent: Michael Crabtree (WR) - by this point I expect Crabtree will have adjusted to the NFL and begin to show just how good he can be.
Verdict: It's close, but Seattle wins for a 4-2 record against the NFC West.
Week Fourteen at Houston Texans
Seemingly everyone's hot tip in 2009, the Texans are expected to make a post-season challenge this year. They have a great offense and have concentrated on improving their defense during the off-season.
Key Opponent: Mario Williams (DE) - the Seahawks will need to keep up with Houston's thriving offense, that means keeping Williams well away from Hasselbeck.
Verdict: Texans restrict Seahawks to get victory
Week Fifteen vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccs look like early contenders for a top five draft pick. They've made significant changes to the coaching staff and cut a number of veterans.
They'll be using rookie Josh Freeman at quarterback and he may experience some teething problems.
Key Opponent: Gaines Adams (DE) - if Tampa Bay are going to succeed in 2009, it could be because Adams looks set for a break out season.
Verdict: Seahawks win with ease
Week Sixteen at Green Bay Packers
Last time the Seahawks visited Lambeau Field they were swept away by a snow storm and out of the playoffs.
Switching to a 3-4, it's hard to guess how the Packers defense will perform in 2009.
Key Opponent: Aaron Rodgers (QB) - if he continues to grow into his starting role, Rodgers could be a real force.
Verdict: Another cold, disappointing afternoon in Wisconsin for the Seahawks
Week Seventeen vs Tennessee Titans
The Titans peaked too early in 2008 and will be cautious of doing the same this year.
If the season fell like this, the Seahawks would come into the final weekend with a 9-6 record. Victory could be enough to secure the NFC West, but if Arizona have a better record it could also be the difference between an early exit and a wildcard.
Key Opponent: Chris Johnson (RB) - Seattle has struggled against speedy, agile running backs in the past.
Verdict: A nervous, brutal affair that the Seahawks edge with a late field goal.
Predicted Seattle Seahawks regular season record: 10-6
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