Seattle Seahawks: I'm Just Going To Pencil Them In For Playoffs In The NFC West
I'm not one to jump the gun, and I may be guilty of it today, but I'm telling you that I don't see any team capable of stopping the Seahawks from making playoffs this season.
Lets assume that half of the roster does not go into the hospital for injuries, and evaluate the talent alone.
We'll go team by team and start with the Rams:
Sam Bradford, the QB for the Rams, is a rookie and he may have a very accurate arm, and the Rams may have Steven Jackson, but I don't think he is ready.
Granted, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, and Vince Young all had outstanding rookie seasons for their teams, none of them were a top overall pick, and the Falcons had picked up Michael Turner to be their running back that year.
The Rams have not added anyone of any merit in free agency. No major wide receiver, no great tight end, no talented defensive back or linebacker; this team has not changed besides the fact that they have drafted a quarterback.
The defense is decent, but I really don't think Steve Spagnuolo has done a good enough job unleashing these players.
Chris Long has only had nine sacks in two years and three games now, and Adam Carriker, their other first-round draft pick for the defensive line, is now with the Redskins.
I don't know if Spagnuolo is making progress with the Rams. I can't really name a real stud on that defense, and the offense has only Steven Jackson with a groin injury.
They tried to draft an offensive tackle, but Jason Smith from Baylor has not produced anything of real significance.
All in all, I don't see the Rams getting more than four or five wins this season.
If the Rams make the playoffs, I'm giving up cupcakes for a decade.
Next, we shall proceed to the 49ers:
The 49ers have a decent quarterback in Alex Smith, but the offense is not gelling together. In two of their games, they did not put up an offensive touchdown when it mattered (The 49ers lost 31-10 against the Chiefs, but the touchdown they scored was in the final seconds of the fourth quarter).
The one game they played against the Saints was a heartbreaking loss, so they are 0-3 while Seattle is 2-1.
I cannot think of any team turning themselves around from an 0-3 start and making playoffs. The Niners are in the pool of despair right now.
They just fired the offensive coordinator, Jimmy Raye, and I'm starting to wonder if Singletary may be on a hot seat himself. I think he's done great with the defense, but he may be the scapegoat if the offense doesn't work again.
The Niners were thought by many, including me, to run the table there. I said on my radio show with Jay Dee and the Dawgfather that I expected them to win because everyone else would be adjusting to major changes.
This 0-3 start is very discouraging because they didn't just lose two games, they were buried. The Chiefs and the Seahawks bought cemeteries ahead of time, so they could have enough room for the entire team.
0-3 to playoffs? I sincerely doubt that. So, bye-bye Niners.
The last rival we have is the Arizona Cardinals:
The Cardinals were in the Super Bowl two years ago, but they lost the most important person to their team. Not only is Kurt Warner a future Hall of Fame quarterback, but he is one of the top 3 quarterbacks of this past decade.
I think what he did in what little time he had, which was around five or six real years of football, he's won a Super Bowl, and been to two others while posting the best Super Bowl numbers of any quarterback, not once, not twice, but all three times.
In case you misunderstood that, what I mean is that no one has more passing yards in a single Super Bowl than him. He not only holds the top spot, but he owns the silver and the bronze too.
His loss as a player, as a teammate, as a leader, as a motivating presence by just standing in the room, is all gone because he retired.
Now, the Cardinals have Derek Anderson, who doesn't even complete half his passes, in at quarterback. Kurt Warner completed 66% of his passes regularly, so the difference is huge.
They have traded star receiver Anquan Boldin, for a third and fourth round pick because management wouldn't give him the money. He's now in Baltimore and has become a star there.
They have lost Karlos Dansby, a stud linebacker, to free agency, and I think that while they can contend in the future, I just don't see them making playoffs the way they are.
They were utterly destroyed by the Falcons, 41-7 and while they are 2-1, the first win was over the St. Louis Rams, another bad team, and the Oakland Raiders would've beaten them if Sebastian Janikowski makes the 32 yard field goal to make it 26-24.
Instead, the Cardinal win 24-23, and their record hides their real talent.
This team needs a quarterback more than any other team in the NFL in my eyes. They have great receivers in Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston, and all they need is an accurate passer to utilize them.
The Cardinals are iffy with me, but I think a losing record is their outcome this year.
Last, we have the Seahawks:
They've got a really good quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck. The guy is very underrated because the Seahawks didn't win Super Bowl XL five years ago, but he is a very good player.
If you look at the offense beyond him, they have a lot of good players surrounding him.
Mike Williams is reviving his career as a receiver. Deion Branch is also a reliable target along with a very underrated tight end in John Carlson. Plus, the Seahawks drafted Golden Tate in the second round of the last draft, and he is a promising prospect as well.
The weapons are there for Hasselbeck as long at the offensive line holds up its side of the bargain.
Granted, Walter Jones, who is quite possibly the greatest offensive tackle in the history of the National Football League, has retired, but the Seahawks drafted Russell Okung from Oklahoma State to replace him.
Okung has been dealing with some injuries lately, but I saw the film of this guy, I actually picked the Seahawks to get him, and I thought he was the best offensive lineman in the draft, and quite possibly the best player out of all of them.
Here is the link to the Russell Okung article: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/354161-2010-nfl-mock-draft-seattle-seahawks-select-russell-okung
By adding him, they get a very good prospect for an offensive line that has been dominant in the past, and the offensive line they have now isn't something to look down on.
I'm thinking that the Seahawks, if they keep up this improvement, they can become the top dog again like they were from 2004-2007 when they won four straight division titles.
The running game does need to be addressed. I don't think any of the backs that they have are what could be called a legitimate number one back, but by using all of them, they should get by.
The defense has improved greatly. They have allowed only 67.7 yards rushing per game. That is definitely an accomplishment after going up against Frank Gore for the 49ers.
They have four interceptions in three games despite being 30th in passing yards allowed with 315.7 per game.
Well, that's not going to kill them in their division, because as I've stated, none of the quarterback in the division are what you can call butchers. The division has got great running backs, not great quarterbacks.
I'm immensely proud of Earl Thomas. The rookie safety had two interceptions in the win against San Diego, and his second one was a clutch interception, on the goal line, to prevent the Chargers from tying the game and forcing overtime.
That's an accomplishment for a rookie. If he continues making plays like that, he will definitely be a favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
The linebacking corp is a deadly one especially with Lofa Tatupu back after injuries in the past. Chris Clemons already has recorded two sacks, Aaron Curry isn't a weak link, but could be more dominant.
The defensive line is getting better with the addition of Raheem Brock who has two sacks already. They still have Brandon Mebane, who is an effective starter.
From the standpoint of a guy who played defense, I can say that Pete Carroll is making progress making this team's defense become more dominant. Last year, they were 25th in points allowed, and so far, they are 14th through three games.
The biggest improvement was special teams. The Seahawks took a gamble on Leon Washington, a kick returner that was very good for the Jets but suffered a compound leg fracture.
They give him a chance to get back on the field, and the Chargers kicked it to him four times, and he got 200 yards on two of those chances with two scores.
He and Earl Thomas were the major factors to the game being won. His pickup is arguably the best of the offseason. He's such a danger in open room, so the Seahawks special teams has improved dramatically.
I also think Pete Carroll is getting better as a coach. I think his tenure at USC has helped him endure to the young players coming in, and he's learned from mistakes he made in the past from his briefs stints with the Jets and Patriots.
I think Carroll is going to be a candidate for Coach of the Year if the Seahawks don't just make playoffs, but if they dominate the division and get a 10-6 record or more.
The team may have its flaws, and I'm not going to say they are Super Bowl bound, but the goal is to be the best in your division, and they are the best in the west in my eyes.
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