Probability or Impossibility: Can Seattle Seahawks Repeat in 2011?

Brad HinkleContributor ISeptember 11, 2011

Probability or Impossibility: Can Seattle Seahawks Repeat in 2011?

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    Now that the preseason has taken a back seat and I have seen all I will be able to see prior to the first game of the season, it's that time of the year again. Time to break this team down and see if it is once again probable, or even possible, for the Seahawks to surprise the NFC West and everyone else once more.

    The difference is that, this year, the article is more of a co-op with one of my best friends who I also regard highly as far as football I.Q. is concerned, Justin Powell.

    We are heading into this 2011-2012 season with a much different looking team than last year, which in and of itself was a much different team than the one inherited from the one season we had under Jim Mora, so it is going to be hard to set much precedent based on what happened for us a year ago

Primary Concerns

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    Injuries could once again be a serious problem for this Seahawk team. Of our big three signings of the offseason, both Sidney Rice and Robert Gallery are known as players who are more than likely going to be injured for stints over a season—and it seems like both of them are exercising these demons early, as it is unclear whether either will be able to play the first game against San Francisco.

    Meanwhile, we still have to worry about our best defensive line player Big Red Bryant and our LT of the future, Russell Okung, whose ankles can't seem to support the weight that the team wants him to keep up.

    I guess it doesn't hurt to also mention that Mike Williams has had a fairly bad recent history of completely unrelated injuries, while certain players on this team aren't quite up to snuff on their conditioning due to the shortened offseason, the most notable of these being James Carpenter, who has been practicing on and off at left guard since Gallery's injury. Last season, this team resembled the reality TV version of "The Walking Dead," and with our personnel, it's not unlikely that we weren't renewed for Season 2.

    Our secondary, while young and full of potential, is still mostly unproven. Marcus Trufant has to prove that he can still play at a capable level after having time to recover from his last major injury, and everyone behind him still has to prove that they CAN play.

    Walter Thurmond still looks to be the most promising of the bunch, but all of our rookie corners (Richard Sherman/Byron Maxwell) played well enough to warrant some praise for themselves. Brandon Browner looks like a skyscraper out there, at 6'4"; he is essentially the Mike Williams of our secondary—the man amongst men.

    In years past, our team would get torched by taller receivers like Larry Fitzgerald due to our lack of height at CB. This year, size and physicality isn't going to be the problem, as we will likely use Browner and our other big, physical rookies to press the line of scrimmage early and often. However, Browner looks like he will need some pass support as he seems to lack the acceleration, change of direction and foot speed to stick with top-tier receivers if he fails to press them.

    Kam Chancellor will be starting at strong safety and looks to play like a younger version of Lawyer Milloy with great physicality—a hard hitter who will be used on safety blitzes who will have coverage ability that ranges anywhere from average to just below average as far as this year goes. His backup Atari Bigby will see a lot of time in games, especially on sure passing downs as a ball hawk and secondary leader to Trufant due to his experiences with a Super Bowl winning team.

    Earl Thomas looks as explosive as ever and doesn't look like he will take a Michael Boulware step back. His game relies entirely on being where the ball is and where its going, acting entirely on instinct and big hits, whereas Boulware had a more thought-out finesse approach. He ended up thinking too much for too long and couldn't recover from his mental errors.

    We also have promising young rookie Jeron Johnson on the roster who played so well he beat out draft pick Mark LeGree and Carroll favorite, Josh Pinkard. He may see time in our bandit packages but looks to be more of a special teams dynamo at this time, along with Byron Maxwell.

    Quarterback is the obvious concern that everyone nationwide has already keyed onto, so I need not get into detail. Clipboard Jesus and T-Jack have yet to prove that they can shake off their drawbacks, but they both had sparkling moments of their own in the preseason. We just need to hope that they can overcome an offseason with little practicing and realize their potential. At least they can't do too much worse than Matt Hasselbeck did statistically for this team last year.

Team Breakdown: Coaching Staff Highlights

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    Coach Pete Carroll is returning for his second season as coach after what really was a successful first campaign. He still has his doubters, but seems to have done enough while lacking top-tier talent to have his job security within the green threshold. Beyond him, quite a bit about our staff has changed or needs to be highlighted.

     

    Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell

    Brought over from Minnesota in the offseason, Bevell ran a pseudo West Coast power offense that revolved around Adrian Peterson, so much so that fans broke down his scheme as the "run twice pass one" approach. While a veteran presence like Brett Favre helped to balance that ratio some, it has always been an offense that revolved around a strong run game and medium-long quick slant like completions that also relied heavily on the TE.

    Beyond the obvious question mark of quarterback, it looks like the Seahawks have the offensive personnel to execute his vision as it has been seen in the past with top-tier tight end Zach Miller and former deep threat Sidney Rice.

    The 12th man has to hope that he mixes up his play-calling a little more than he has historically been shown doing as teams "knew what they were going to do" whether or not that was emphasis on the Bevell approach or just their general desire to run the ball is unclear, but what is clear is that we cannot use Marshawn Lynch the way they can use Peterson.

     

    Offensive Line Coach/Assistant Head Coach Tom Cable

    The Snohomish native has returned home to help bring the Seahawks back to national prominence. Under Cable, the Raiders achieved their first .500 season in what seemed like forever, though breaking even didn't save him his job despite doing better than all his recent predecessors.

    He established one of the best overall run games in the whole league as the Raider coach, and his nasty mentality is something he wants his linemen to eat up with extra large spoons. The drafting of both James Carpenter and John Moffit were by his design to have those big, strong, road graders along the offensive line.

    While this line didn't perform too well as a whole during the preseason, that was to be expected considering no two players on this line had played together last year—Okung being the only returning starter with Unger being on IR for all of last year.

    This team lost valuable reps, but if the last game of this preseason is any indicator, this team CAN control the line of scrimmage against power defensive lines like the ones that the 49ers and Rams(and most Super Bowl contenders) employ, while it did show it needs more reps to be able to handle exotic blitzes like what the Broncos threw at it.

    It will take some time, but with Cable, Carroll and Bevell collaborating on an overall game plan, I like our prospects down the line of becoming a very tricky to handle physical offense.

     

    Defensive Coordinator Casey "Gus" Bradley

    The only member of the Mora coaching staff to survive the transition to Carroll survived the cut once more, and to be fair, I believe he earned it. I'm still not sold on him, and if you remember my last predictions article, I was all in favor of firing him. However, last season, his defense did perform well schematically, and it is showing that it can adapt to new talent with different attributes, so our new bigger corners are going to allow this team to not have to play so deep in the secondary to prevent big plays.

    His schemes used linebackers to support the run well, but I would like to see them defend the short passes just a little bit better for me to be truly satisfied with him calling the defensive plays.

     

    Defensive Line Coach Todd Walsh

    Last year, Dan Quinn was calling the shots for our defensive line, molding the big unit into a top five run-stopping force before injuries. Now Quinn is gone, having accepted the job as defensive coordinator for Florida. Taking his place is former Tampa Bay defensive line coach, Walsh, who coached in the same capacity with the Bucs from 2008 till this last season.

    His coaching allowed the Buccaneers to finish seventh in pass defense, 17th overall. His hiring brings familiarity with defensive coordinator Casey Bradley. It is clear that the personnel here is much more suited to run stopping, but the man seems to know what he's doing.

     

    Linebacker Coach Ken Norton Jr.

    Aaron Curry still remains as an underachiever for this team, whether that is due to himself or the schemes utilized by our defense, he has yet to really perform like a dominant force. However, he showed brilliant flashes last season and Coach Norton is a big reason as to why.

    From the second he joined this staff, I knew we had struck coaching gold. This is a man who knows how to mold players into elite talent with consistency. His track record includes names like Keith Brooking, Ray Malaluga, Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews...even a name more closely related to the Seahawks, Lofa Tatupu.

    He can take potential and have his players realize it. He is the man that can make Curry a monster—the man who can capitalize on David Hawthorne and resurrect LeRoy Hill. We have question marks all over our linebacking unit, but knowing that Ken Norton is managing these players has to help Pete Carroll sleep easier at night, knowing they're in good hands.

The Quarterback and His Offense

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    The days of Matt Hasselbeck are now firmly in the past. Tavaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst figure to be the tandem that serves as, at least, his short term replacement.

    The debate is sure to rage on into the season, Whitehurst or Jackson? Neither are names that bring words of praise to the articles written about them unless they are competing with only each other. They both bring impressive skill sets to the table but haven't proven to be effective starters. No, Charlie Whitehurst performing well in one clutch win over the Rams is not a good sample on its own.

    Most fans are rightly worried, but, as an optimistically realistic fan, I do see the silver lining. It is likely that what is being done here is that we are trying to have multiple chances to get our franchise QB.

    We give Jackson the confidence he could never have in Minnesota and see if that sparks him. If that fails, we hand the reins to Whitehurst, who should be hungry for a job after doing everything within his power to show he has earned a shot to be top dog. If he cannot seize the opportunity, we will likely suffer through an average to mediocre season and secure a QB like Landry Jones through the draft, who will already have all the tools he needs at his disposal to succeed. That would allow us to plug-and-play our starter of the future the way the Jets have done with Mark Sanchez.

    We can only hope that our QB would be less inconsistent than Sanchez. In short, this is a plan that can cover the short, medium and long-term that gives us multiple opportunities to achieve what this team needs and desires, and considering the youth of this team, it doesn't hurt to try all of your options.

    The worst thing we could do would be to sign a short-term stopgap that may not even work out, as it would entirely eliminate this process and prove troublesome for our offensive cohesiveness. David Garrard would not look good in a Seahawk uniform at this time is what I'm saying.

    Beyond the generals of the present and future, almost everything else on offense is in place—big-bodied receivers in Mike Williams and Sidney Rice to provide horrible matchup problems for other teams, quicker smaller receivers with high upside in Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin, who could both be menaces from the slot, one of the best all-around tight ends in the league in Zach Miller, along with promising youth behind him for great short mismatches and a strong, young offensive line that will serve as this team's foundation for a decade.

    That will hopefully bring to life a running game that has been on life support since the loss of Steve Hutchinson, Walter Jones, Mack Strong and Shaun Alexander. Once we can allow the "Beast Mode" to run free, it will only cause more problems for other defenses, as our offense can quite literally become uncoverable if it is firing on all cylinders.

    The threat of being beaten by screen passes, runs up the gut, jump balls to tall receivers, deep balls to fast receivers, dump offs to RBs and our top-tier TE and the mobility of our QBs literally make this offense one that has the potential to attack a defense in every way imaginable to keep them off balance for whole games at a time.

    If either Whitehurst or Jackson can get it together, if the offensive line can gel by around Week 6, this team could sport one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFC and the most powerful offense in the NFC West on the virtue of weapons alone...this team is loaded on offense, make no mistake.

The Defense: One Half of an Immovable Object

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    Run away from Red.

    That was the plan of attack for teams last preseason, last season, this preseason and this season for all teams, starting Week 1.

    There isn't a run-stopping force off the edge of the line in this league quite like Big Red. He consistently outpositions and overpowers opposing tackles, and he helps the interior linemen create pressure due to double teams. All of those double teams allow Leo end Chris Clemmons to come off the end virtually unblocked. It was the story for the defensive line last year, and it is why this team started so strong prior to the injuries to starters Colin Cole, Brandon Mebane and Big Red himself.

    Prior to them going down this defensive line was the engine that powered us as a top five run-stopping force. The addition this season of the nimble and dynamic Alan Branch is only going to cause teams more fits, as he is more than an upgrade to the subpar Cole. As long as this unit can avoid critical injuries, we WILL be a top five run-stopping unit, as teams running away from Red allow our defense to focus our run-stopping pressure (usually using LB Aaron Curry) on specifically one-half of the field, opening things up for everyone else.

    And despite not being fast, Bryant's sheer physicality allows him to bulldoze his way into opposing QBs, making him quite the unorthodox pass-rushing option as well. This team will thrive or die by the status of this unit, which is deeper this year than it was last year.

    Our linebackers will be starting this season without the familiarity of Lofa Tatupu; replacing him will be the much more physical David Hawthorne. The "Heater" outplayed Lofa, who was hobbled by injuries that sapped him of his previously elite playmaking ability. Flanking him are linebackers LeRoy Hill, looking to resume his career not more than a few seasons removed from being this team's leading tackler, and Aaron Curry, who is looking to become more of a force this season, as this may be his last shot to prove that he can live up to his lofty draft status.

    Hill brings valued experience to the position as one of the few remaining members of our 2005 Super Bowl team. He has proven to be a consistent run-stopping and pass-rushing force. He learned a lot of his trade from former elite LB, Julian Peterson. However, it came to a point when Hill played so well that we could afford to let Peterson go. This unit will continue to be used as a run-stopping supplement with occasional linebacker rushes off the edge.

    The secondary is a huge question mark, there is a lot of size and physicality in our CBs, but a lot of the players who we will be relying on in multi DB packages (Maxwell, Sherman, Browner) have played a combined zero NFL regular season games. They all showed well in the preseason, but it remains to be seen if they can cut it in a real game.

    Browner's CFL experience should help him in that regard, as he has at least been playing as a semi-pro for some time now. Our safeties will probably be more consistent as their roles seem more clearly defined—use Thomas as a physical ball hawk and use Chancellor to be straight up physical while inserting Atari Bigby to captain the safeties from time to time as a second ball hawk.

    As long as we remain healthy, our team will not allow many 100-yard rushers let along 100-yard combined efforts on the ground, but it won't matter if we can't cover. So, I'm looking to see how Pete Carroll and Casey Bradley utilize the physical potential of what we do have behind proven slowing veteran, Marcus Trufant.

16-Game Prediction: Sink or Soar

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    Week 1 at SF (Result L)

    Justin: Win Percentage: 50: They are a strong running team with a depleted defense. We are a strong run stopping team(with Bryant) with a horrible secondary. We match up pretty well with them. As long as we don’t beat ourselves (interceptions by whoever is playing QB) or let Smith get into a rhythm, I see us having a really good shot at this game.

    Brad: Win Percentage: 51: I believe that the Seahawks are a team essentially built to counter a power run/power pass rush team like the 49ers. When healthy, this defense should be able to stop the Niner run game in its tracks. My worry is the offense. You mentioned interceptions. I'm thinking injuries.

    With this team possibly being down both Gallery and Rice, we could have some issues as this team has yet to gel, possibly getting Okung back would be a boost, but the known uncertainty surrounding this game's opening active roster holds back an otherwise positive prediction. It's never easy to start a season on the road. 

     

    Week 2 at PIT

    Justin: Win Percentage: 15: Yeah we still can win...but really? We won’t be able to run on these guys or pass. So, unless we can come up with some defensive plays, we will lose this game. This is a game I wish the kickoff rule was different because that could provide us with a spark. I hate you, Pittsburgh.

    Brad: Win Percentage: 20: It's a long shot, but I think that our receivers do provide matchup problems that Ike Taylor and Co. can't quite handle. No, this won't be a game we are going to point to as one where our running game will break out, but anything could happen. I see this as probably being one of the lowest total run yardage games for the league this whole season, and it's likely that our secondary caves before theirs does. We all hate Pittsburgh; you aren't alone. Playing on the East Coast, at a likely early play time, won't help this team either.

     

    Week 3 vs. ARI

    Justin: Win Percentage: 60: This prediction is based purely on the fact that I don’t think that Kolb will be amazing. I see him having an up-and-down year, especially with no O-line. The secondary and rush defense, is suspect for Arizona. We should be able to run and pass efficiently.  Just have to be careful because that defense early last year was winning games for the offensively inept cards.

    Brad: Win Percentage: 70: It is my view that the Cardinals are still garbage. They will possibly be more consistent this year than last year, but what little they gained in consistency, they lost on defense. The Cardinals are likely going to be 0-2 and wavering coming into Qwest, and an inexperienced Kolb will find it hard handling the noise, assuming he isn't already injured. The Seahawks come up big for their first home game and blow up the wayward Cardinals. 

     

    Week 4 vs. ATL

    Justin: Win Percentage: 35: Atlanta is a running team, who just added a huge playmaker in Julio Jones. We must pick our poison when we play them, and I think shutting down Turner should be our first priority. Offensively, we should be able to do at least well against them (if our QB play is not terrible). We have a good chance to come away with the upset, only because we are playing at home. 

    Brad: Win Percentage: 30: Shutting down Turner will be the easy part for this team. It's everything else that will prove challenging. There's no way to know how in sync our offense will be at this point, and I have a hard time believing that we will be able to cover Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez.

    I like our chances to upset because of our crowd at home, but we have to get them engaged first. If we fall behind early like this team historically has tended to do, the 12th man could prove to be a nonfactor. Our winning hinges on us not letting this one get out of hand in the first half.

     

    Week 5 at NYG

    Justin: Win Percentage: 25: We are going to get run over and passed on like we don’t know what we are doing all game…this is the game I see us getting throttled. They are the perfect team to really beat up on the Hawks. We just don’t match up well anywhere with them—offensively or defensively. I would go lower, but I believe that anything can happen in the game of gridiron football. All of the injuries that the Giants have gotten could bring them down enough for us to beat them.

    Brad: Win Percentage: 40: Really, you think we're as unlikely to beat the Giants as the Steelers...I wouldn't stoop nearly as low. Now, I can't quite say I favor us to win, but on paper, we match up better than you say. They are a power run team first and foremost; I don't care if Bradshaw or Jacobs is toting the rock; we can shut that critical aspect of their game down.

    People still have the last Giants game fresh in their minds when that truly was a horrible indicator, as our D-Line was already out with injuries along with most of the O-Line, we were dominated in the trenches, and if we're healthy, that isn't going to happen again. As with most of these games, this game's outcome will be decided on whether or not we can handle Nicks/Manningham.

    And when dealing with the Giants, the best way to bring this offense down is by rattling Manning early and often. By shutting down the run game, we will be taking away his first safety valve, and as long as we cover the intermediate routes and force him to drive the ball deep, we will have our opportunity to pick him off.

    If we can get good pressure and hit/sack him (which I believe we can), he is going to be off kilter early and often. We will be playing in the Eastern time zone, which will work negatively against us, as the NFL game times are slanted unfairly towards Eastern teams, but if we can overcome that, I like our chances. 

     

    Week 6 BYE WEEK

    Justin: I don't think we can win this one.

    Brad: I agree.

     

    Week 7 at CLE

    Justin: Win Percentage: 45: We match up pretty well against these guys, given that their strengths on offense are ours on defense. The Seahawks getting a run game going will be critical in this low-scoring affair. Whoever wins the ground war, I think will escape with the win. They have the edge only because we are not a good road team. 

    Brad: Win Percentage: 55: First of all, we're not ALL the way over onto the East Coast, so I guess that's positive No. 1. What we have working for us is that Cleveland lacks real playmakers on offense. They have some solid receivers and a solid young QB in Colt McCoy, but nothing really stands out as far as their passing game is concerned, so I am more than confident in our ability to cover them.

    They won games last year by wearing down teams moving the ball on the ground, but you have to get first downs to elongate the effects of that fatigue. If our D-Line is intact, that won't be happening. Their defensive line is also a power defensive line, which is what our O-Line is best suited to play against.


    Week 8 vs. CIN

    Justin: Win Percentage: 65: We can’t lose this game. We need to hit them hard and fast, getting them to quit early, and this game will be a walk through. They have a really bad run game, with a worse QB situation than ours. This one should be a win, but I’ve seen bigger upsets.

    Brad: Win Percentage: 70: We are at home, and we will be playing Cincinnati. I don't think I should really have to say much more, as the Bengals are so sorry at this point and time, and Dalton isn't going to be able to handle Qwest. AJ Green is always a threat, but he is worthless if the ball can't get to him with consistency. 

     

    Week 9 at DAL

    Justin: Win Percentage: 38: I see this Dallas team as one who lost too many pieces this year, without adding much. They still have immense talent at all the skill positions, so they have a shot at every game they are in. But we should be able to score at least 17 or 20 points, which will at least put us in position to win this one. If we can hold them to less than 20, I think this game will be ours. But again, we are a horrible road team.

    Brad: Win Percentage: 45: Dallas is coming off a down season, but I can't really remember a recent game where we have performed well in Texas. I worry about our ability to stop their balanced attack, as they don't really seem to rely on passing or running. However, their line is down two Pro Bowlers, and they are breaking in a lot of new pieces.

    Ware is always a pass-rushing threat that could cause us fits, but by now, our schematics should be hitting their stride. It's always tough to say you can win in the Jerrydome, so that's not something I am going to guarantee.

     

    Week 10 vs. BAL

    Justin: Win Percentage: 40: By now, we are probably going to be all torn up due to injuries, but I’m just going to pretend that we are completely healthy. Baltimore will be able to score decently well against us all day, but if we can cause some pressure, they are prone to turnovers, so we may cause a couple, which we will need to convert to win. This Seahawk team needs to just keep faith in what they are doing and hope that Baltimore does something that will give us the game.

    Brad: Win Percentage: 38: We may or may not be injured at this point, but I am only going to predict based on our roster. We can stop their running game, and they don't have any one all-world receiving threat, so they shouldn't be able to blow us up. This leads me to believe that this will be a low-scoring affair, especially since we are at home.

    Baltimore is going to be jostling for playoff positioning by now, and we should still be in the NFC West race, so there are definite implications for both teams, but I predict their experience and cohesiveness to best our youth and potential. Anything can happen in front of the 12th man though.

     

    Week 11 at STL

    Justin: Win Percentage: 40: We will not win if Sam Bradford takes leaps and bounds this year. Their defense will be much better, along with an even stronger running game. I don’t see us having much of a chance if Bradford plays like he can. Hopefully, by now though, our QB has fully settled in; maybe he can even win us a game we should be out of.

    Brad: Win Percentage: 45: We face the tough task of going up against the likely division leader at this point in time in their own Edward Jones Dome. I like how we match up against them defensively; however, they will likely be hitting their pass happy best before this point in the McDaniels system, so it could be tough to properly cover his creative schemes. This will be a critical game for both teams to reach the playoffs, and I think our players, hungry for another berth, will be up to the task, but I can't give us the edge in their home with so many question marks.

     

    Week 12 vs. WAS

    Justin: Win Percentage: 70: The 'Skins are one of those teams that has the ability to blow up any game...in both good and bad ways, though. They could just completely shut down and beat themselves. Or they will go out and run the ball 30 times and pass for 200 yards and no interceptions. I’m hoping they don’t do that, because our high is not as high. Their defense is old, and if you have a good enough line, you can stuff the run down their throats.

    Brad: Win Percentage: 70: We are fortunate to be playing two of the worst teams in the division at home; I am all but willing to pencil this in as a win alongside the Cinci game. I doubt Grossman or Beck will be looking like All-Pros, and the Shanahan running scheme will falter like all the others as long as we remain healthy. We will be the physical team in this exchange.

     

    Week 13 vs. PHI

    Justin: Win Percentage-36: A high of 45 percent is all on the hunch that I have that, by now, Vick will be injured enough to either take him out of the game or make him a lot less effective. If he is completely healthy, then we cannot stop them. They will have complete control; winning this game would be on what they allow us to do. I have us with such a “high” percent only because we are at home.

    Brad: Win Percentage: 30: By Week 13, I'd assume that all of the Eagles players would be on the same page, and they really look like they can beat us down. We're lucky to be playing at home. One of our safeties will have to shadow Vick at all times to stop him from running, and their defense just looks like too much for our young team.

    While we should be able to gain decent yards on the ground, their exotic blitzing and top-tier corners and solid safeties would be too much to ask of most QBs, let alone the ones we have at our disposal. Vick could run all over us, if we're not careful in this one. Again, we're lucky to be at home for this one.

     

    Week 14 vs. STL

    Justin: Win Percentage: 50: This game is one of those games that could decide whether or not the Seahawks can hold onto the division.  We need to win this one at home. We should at least be effective on offense since we are playing at home, but will our defense be able to stop or at least slow down Sam Bradford and Co.? I can see this game going either way.

    Brad: Win Percentage: 60: I honestly believe that the Seahawks have the chops to go undefeated at home against all of their NFC West opponents. They will be coming off the Eagles game that no one expects to win, so if they can at least preform decently in the game prior, they will have nice confidence coming into this game. I believe they cap off the three-game home stand with a win over the Rams.

     

    Week 15 at CHI

    Justin: Win Percentage: 45: This is almost completely a hit on Jay Cutler. I think that he is the worst thing that has happened for Chicago in a long time. He gave them so much hope, but at best, he is a sloppy gunslinger. No, I don’t think we should be the favorites this game, but I think if we play a solid game and make Jay eat dirt, we will end up taking this one. This could be a huge win for Seattle.

    Brad: Win Percentage: 45: We split our games with Chicago last season, as they won when it mattered the most, but after we had been downed by injuries, our healthy defensive line can crush their healthy offensive line...if it is healthy. I believe we win this game by a fairly decent margin the way we beat the Bears early on last season.

    They have no standout receiving talent, and Cutler, while talented, is easily flustered and a questionable decision maker...not the type of QB that makes me worry about our secondary question marks, especially since they will all have some decent experience by this point against multiple types of offenses. 

     

    Week 16 vs. SF

    Justin: Win Percentage: 65: By now, either our offensive line will be in shambles or really coming together to look like a cohesive unit. If we play at our potential, our QB, whoever it will be, should have tons of time, along with a decent run game to back him up. This should be a fairly winnable game…as long as Smith lives up...down to his expectations.

    Brad: Win Percentage: 65: The Niners are looking to be one of the bottom feeding teams in the division again. The same pluses and minuses from Week 1 still apply; however, we will have regular season experience and homefield advantage coming into this game. Their receivers aside from Vernon Davis don't scare me, and our defense still trumps their offense overall. It is critical for the Hawks to win this game if they are serious about going to the playoffs. 

     

    Week 17 at ARI 

    Justin: Win Percentage: 45: This game I see as one we let slip away. Arizona will be bringing its big guns at us if we are fighting for a playoff spot here. This kind of pressure away from home for such a young team could cripple us. We need our run game to sparkle because both of our QBs will be under constant pressure. I think we can win, but this one doesn’t look that great.

    Brad: Win Percentage: 60: The Cardinals are still the Cardinals; they will most likely be worn down and out of the playoff race at this point, and Kolb could be on IR. I do agree that it will be tough to be in a must-win game to cap the season like last year, but we were young last year and made it happen against a tougher opponent.

    I believe we can overpower the Cardinals on both sides of the trenches, and while I see them causing problems for our secondary (if Kolb is healthy), we should be unstoppable to the point where it won't matter. The Cards should be worn down from many losses on the season, but may still be up to playing spoiler.

Final Analysis

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    Final Records

    Tallying up the scores, Justin predicts that the Seahawks finish with a 6-10 record, while I have the team finishing 8-8.  While both records provide for wiggle room either way, our predictions equal out to the Seahawks finishing with around a 7-9 record like last season.

    However, this year that is still an improvement, considering we would have the same record only against a tougher schedule than the one we faced last year. It remains to be seen whether or not that record can win the division again.

    No matter the result, we will both be cheering on the team we enjoy to watch, and we hope you all enjoy the season. This team has such a bright future.

    ***

    A football season we thought we may have missed, as the Saints vs. Packers score is currently 7-14. We're rolling, and I'm just glad to be past all of the bickering and to be back to watching what we all enjoy watching.

    Good luck to fans of our competing teams, the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals, wishing all your teams the best, and just know that what I say about your teams is meant to be more analysis than a knock. Enjoy your respective teams' seasons, and lets all drag the NFC West out of the gutter together.