Looking back at the 2018 season for the Seattle Seahawks, it had a “last hurrah” type of feel to it. The Seahawks locked up a Wild Card spot and went on the road to Dallas in a 24-22 loss. They only had 11 first downs in that game and ended the season with a whimper after winning six of the last seven games to make the playoffs.
If seeking out teams ripe for regression is your thing, your sights are set on the Seahawks in 2019. Seattle was outgained 5.9 to 5.6 in the yards per play department. They gained 5,653 yards and allowed 5,653 yards. They were +15 in turnover margin because they only turned the ball over 11 times and only six times from Week 3 through the Wild Card Round of the playoffs. The Seahawks had the most fumble recoveries in the NFL and were tops in fumbles lost. Add it all up and they were +10 in the fumble luck department.
Russell Wilson is still around and he will always give his team a chance to win. With Earl Thomas’s departure, the end of an era on defense is complete, as the Legion of Boom is no more. Pete Carroll and this outstanding front office repeatedly finds ways to restock the cupboards and keep this team in the hunt, but the magic has to wear off at some point, right?
The Seahawks may have more questions than answers for the first time since 2011 and that leaves us with a lot to think about.
Super Bowl Odds: +3300
Odds to Win the NFC: +1600
Odds to Win the NFC West: +275
Season Win Total: 8.5
(lines Weeks 2-16 from CG Technology as of May 16, 2019)
|5||LA Rams (TNF)||+1||.49|
|10||@ San Francisco (MNF)||+1.5||.47|
|12||@ Philadelphia (SNF)||+3.5||.36|
|14||@ LA Rams (SNF)||+7.5||.22|
|17||San Francisco||-5.5 (est)||.69|
Total Expected Wins: 9.03
There was a lot of player movement related to the Seahawks this offseason, but most of the transactions were players leaving town. Earl Thomas, Justin Coleman, Shamar Stephen, JR Sweezy, and Mike Davis all changed zip codes. Thomas and Coleman got big money to play in Baltimore and Detroit, respectively, so the overhaul in the secondary continues to be a work in progress for the Seahawks.
Seattle also traded Frank Clark away, creating another hole in the back seven. They used the first-round pick in that trade to select defensive end LJ Collier.
The news wasn’t all bad, as the Seahawks said farewell to Sebastien Janikowski and signed Jason Myers. They also picked up Ziggy Ansah and retained the services of KJ Wright.
The Seahawks wound up with 11 draft picks after the Clark deal. Collier was the first selection that they made and they’ll look to replace Earl Thomas with Marquise Blair out of Utah. DK Metcalf, Gary Jennings Jr., and possession receiver John Ursua will be new weapons for Russell Wilson.
On the defensive side, Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kiven could step right in at linebacker right away. The Seahawks have been such a strong organization with drafting and developing that we have to assume that they’ll have a lot of hits on these 11 players.
God forbid Russell Wilson get hurt. As usual, Russ was the lifeblood of this offense. He had a stellar 35/7 TD/INT ratio, as the Seahawks led the league in taking care of the football. He completed 65.6% of his tosses for over 12 yards per reception. Unfortunately, he was also sacked 51 times. He also ran for 376 yards. It would be great to see Wilson take fewer hits, especially since he’ll turn 31 in late November.
It didn’t seem to matter who went into the backfield because they had success. Chris Carson led the team with 1,151 yards, but Carson, Mike Davis, and Rashaad Penny all had at least 4.6 yards per carry. The Seahawks had 4.8 yards per pop in the ground game. They’ll have to do that again because the receiving corps looks iffy. Doug Baldwin is gone. He averaged 115 targets from 2015-17 before battling injuries most of last season. The Seahawks will rely on the 2019 draft class, plus Tyler Lockett and little-used wideout Jaron Brown. This is a real area of concern going into the season, especially with a guy like Wilson that will hang in the pocket or extend plays as long as he can. He’ll take a lot of hits again this year.
We usually take for granted the idea that the Seahawks will have a good defense. I’m here to tell you that they didn’t last season. They allowed nearly five yards per carry on the ground and really weren’t that great in coverage either. Opposing quarterbacks completed 65% of their passes. The Seahawks were 19th in +/- total yards, their lowest mark since 2011. That was a 7-9 team.
The renovation of the defense, which has centered around Bobby Wagner, has been a success to a degree, as young corners like Tre Flowers and Shaquil Griffin are morphing into solid starters, but the depth is starting to wear thin. Frank Clark led the team with 13 sacks last season and he’s now gone. Jarran Reed had a big year with 10.5 sacks, but nobody else had more than three. Justin Coleman excelled as a nickel corner with 10 pass break-ups, but he signed elsewhere.
The Seahawks don’t have any regulars older than 30, with the exception of KJ Wright, so they are young, hungry, and talented, but you have to wonder about the toll that roster attrition has taken over the last few years.
Notes & Nuggets
The networks haven’t gotten the memo that this could be a team that takes a few steps back. The Seahawks have five primetime games. They also have a late bye week and no back-to-back road games before that Week 12 bye. The schedule makers did them some favors on paper.
It feels like people have been calling for the demise of the Seahawks for a while. They don’t rebuild on defense. They reload. Few teams in football can recognize players that fit a scheme better than the Seahawks. They always have a chance with Russ at the helm as well.
With a rebuilding Arizona team and a San Francisco team in transition, five wins in division play is not out of the question. That would get us a good chunk of the way to the over with a pretty friendly schedule. Heavy reliance on running the football will make Seattle a physical team. There are a lot of finesse teams in the NFL these days. A little smashmouth football could go a long way.
I think they’ll be a team that exceeds expectations once again and go over the total.