Bold Predictions for Seahawks' 2021 NFL Season
DK Metcalf has rapidly become one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.
Metcalf's third season in the NFL could be his best yet, and he may finish the season with the No. 1 spot on the receiving yards leaderboard.
Metcalf finished his sophomore campaign seventh in that category despite featuring in an offense with two 1,000-yard wideouts.
Russell Wilson's connection with Tyler Lockett does not take away anything Metcalf produces on the opposite end of the field. That makes him one of the leading contenders to be the top wideout in 2021.
Defensively, the Seattle Seahawks will once again need to get the best out of Jamal Adams in the secondary to make up for weaknesses in other parts of the defensive backfield.
With his contract situation out of the way, Adams can direct his full focus to his on-field accomplishments and he could finish high up the leaderboard in a few defensive stat categories.
DK Metcalf Leads NFL in Receiving Yards
Metcalf experienced a massive uptick in production from his rookie to sophomore seasons.
In 2020, Metcalf had 29 more targets, 25 more receptions, 403 additional yards and three touchdowns more than he did in 2019.
Metcalf should cruise past his second-year totals in 2021 with the 17th regular-season game added to the schedule.
Metcalf's regular connection with Wilson combined with Seattle's favorable schedule outside of the NFC West gives the No. 1 wideout a good chance to outpace the other top receivers in the league.
Seattle's matchups against the AFC South could be especially fruitful for Metcalf. All four of the AFC South franchises ranked in the bottom half of passing yards conceded in 2020. Additionally, the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions had two of the 10 worst passing defenses.
The back end of Seattle's schedule is even more helpful for a chase toward the receiving title. Houston, Chicago and Detroit are three of the team's final five opponents. The Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals are the other two foes in that stretch.
Metcalf was 233 yards off Stefon Diggs' league-leading total last season. No other player had more than 1,420 receiving yards. That put Metcalf within 110 yards of the players ranked from second through sixth.
If Diggs regresses even a bit, Metcalf can eclipse him with a schedule that should play in his favor. With an extra game, Metcalf likely needs around 1,600 yards to win the receiving title. That would require an average of 94.1 yards per game. He had eight matches with 90 or more yards last season. If that number rises, Metcalf can deal with a bad game or two and still top the league chart.
Jamal Adams Finishes in Top 5 in Sacks and Top 10 in Tackles
Adams' agreement on a four-year deal with the Seahawks should be massive for the team's defensive production.
He will not be playing with any type of distraction hovering over him, and he will be asked to do plenty of things in all facets of the defense.
Adams and Quandre Diggs may be asked to provide extra support over the top while the new cornerbacks adjust to the system.
In 2020, Adams picked up 83 tackles and 9.5 sacks in 12 games. He finished inside the top 75 in the NFL in tackles and he landed in a tie for 11th in sacks.
If he plays the entire 17-game season, Adams should easily reach his second 100-tackle season and make a push toward his first-ever 10-sack campaign.
In 2020, safeties Jordan Poyer and Budda Baker finished inside the top 20 in combined tackles. They were joined by Kevin Byard, Jessie Bates and Justin Simmons in the top 20 in solo tackles. Adams led all defensive backs in sacks.
Adams is going to have to patch over some of Seattle's secondary holes, and should be as aggressive around the line of scrimmage as he was last season.
If he remains that aggressive, Adams could finish as the top defensive back in tackles and sacks to set career highs in both categories while helping Seattle deal with the treacherous NFC West schedule.
Russell Wilson Sets Career High in Rushing Touchdowns
Seattle does not have to worry about much in the passing attack with Metcalf and Lockett complementing Wilson.
However, the same can't be said about the rushing game with Chris Carson leading a group of mostly unproven running backs.
Carson missed four games last season, and the Seahawks were unable to find a solid replacement while he was down.
Even if Carson is fully healthy in 2021, the Seahawks are going to need more support for him in some capacity. That is where Wilson steps in.
Wilson has five rushing touchdowns over the last three seasons. He had the most carries in a single season during that span in 2020. He ran the ball 83 times for 513 yards and two scores.
The Seahawks should rely on Wilson more in the red zone to have more variety in that area of the field with opposing defenses focusing on Carson and the wideouts.
Wilson's legs can be useful on play-action plays. He could split defenders or find himself in the corner of the end zone if defenders latch on to Metcalf, Lockett or the team's tight ends.
This variety around the red zone could lead to a single-season career high in rushing scores. His current best is six from the 2014 season. He does not need the 118 attempts, like he had in that campaign, but if he can be effective around the end zone, Seattle can be more diverse in its play-calling and keep pace with the rest of the NFC West.
Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference.