Nobody quite knows what to make of the Seahawks entering this season. They’re picked as Super Bowl champs in one breath and to miss the playoffs entirely in another (there are a lot more of those breaths).
Will Jadeveon Clowney make the difference? Does Russell Wilson have yet another level to which to take it? Here’s what the national media are saying about the Seahawks heading into 2019.
Appropriately, the Seahawks come in 12th in ESPN’s season preview rankings of all 32 teams, with the question: Can the rebuilt defense hold up?
Brady Henderson: “That seems a lot more likely than it did even a week ago, when Ezekiel Ansah wasn’t even practicing and Jadeveon Clowney was still in Houston. Clowney’s addition changes the outlook in a big way as does Ansah being on track to play in Week 1. Seattle has a pair of premier edge rushers as part of what now might be the NFL’s best front seven — at least once Jarran Reed returns from his suspension in Week 7.”
Bill Barnwell lays out the path to the Super Bowl for Seattle.
“If the Rams slip, the Seahawks would consider themselves the best-positioned team to take advantage and win the NFC West. It’s tough to see the Seahawks getting to 12 wins and claiming home-field advantage throughout the postseason, but the best path for Seattle is somehow getting two playoff games at home to take advantage of its raucous crowd.”
Conor Orr picks the Seahawks as Super Bowl champions (over the Patriots), the No. 1 seed in the NFC and Russell Wilson as MVP, as well as Pete Carroll for Coach of the Year.
“This is a season of cleansing and exorcisms. Proshchay, bad vibes. It’s time for Russell Wilson to defeat the Patriots and abolish the hordes of sniping, anonymous former teammates. It’s time for Brian Schottenheimer to call a masterful title game. It’s time for Pete Carroll to unload any lingering doubts about his legacy. This is the year we all feel good. This is the year we start bailing out Mother Earth. This is the year we reinvest in the Golden Rule. This is the year we fall in love with love again.”
Robert Klemko picks the Seahawks to lose to the Eagles in the wild-card round.
“I like San Francisco’s chances at sneaking into the playoffs, but Seattle feels like less of a dice-roll.”
Jenny Vrentas picks the Seahawks to make the playoffs as a wild card but lose to the Rams in the divisional round.
Mitch Goldich picks the Seahawks to win the NFC West and beat the Rams in the wild card round, but lose to the Eagles in the divisional round.
Bette Marston picks the Seahawks to lose to the Bears in the wild card round.
Eight other writers — Albert Breer, Greg Bishop, Jonathan Jones, Kalyn Kahler, Andy Benoit, Ben Baskin, Andrew Brandt and Gary Gramling — predict the Seahawks will miss the playoffs.
The Seahawks check in at 15th in Robert Mays‘ preseason power rankings.
“No one is mistaking Clowney’s impact for Aaron Donald’s, but he’s still a movable piece that could help unlock the rest of this Seahawks front. … This front six will be a full-blown strength when Reed returns, and it might be stout enough to cover for an inexperienced secondary.
“Seattle’s offense isn’t nearly as complete, but a truly great quarterback tends to make you forget about that. … If Schottenheimer is willing to unleash Wilson this year, Seattle could easily be one of the NFL’s most efficient offenses. The problem is that committing to the run seems to be hardwired into Carroll’s football DNA.”
Danny Heifetz evaluates the Seahawks’ chances at missing the playoffs as “DangerRuss.”
“Seattle romping through that schedule is not impossible — Russell Wilson at 35-to-1 to win MVP is a great bet — but it’s also not likely.”
Mike Freeman asked an AFC team executive to evaluate each team in the NFC West, and he or she might be a little familiar with Jadeveon Clowney.
“The Seahawks getting Jadeveon Clowney won’t just change what happens with them. It could change the course of the entire division. That’s how good I think he is, and a lot of people do. He will lift the game of every Seahawk.”
In Bleacher Report’s staff predictions, Russell Wilson earned one vote for Offensive Player of the Year, as well as the player to throw the most touchdown passes. Bobby Wagner also earned one vote to finish with the most tackles. (As does new Baltimore Raven Earl Thomas for most interceptions.) One writer picked a Seahawks-Browns Super Bowl, but nobody predicted a Seattle championship.
Jason La Canfora picks the Seahawks as NFC West champions.
“Russell Wilson need fret about his future no longer. The Seahawks have the ultimate security and will benefit immediately from John Schneider multiplying their draft haul exponentially. The Rams will regress some, and while the 49ers will surge, I see them more as a wild card threat than division champs. Seattle can run it down your throat and there’s no way they bottle up Wilson like they did down the stretch a year ago. There’s better talent on offense and the defense is a year removed from its exodus of veteran leaders. Pete Carroll will lead them deep into January.”
Sheil Kapadia picks the Seahawks 10-6 and second place, behind the 11-5 Rams, in the NFC West, with a divisional-round loss to the Saints in the playoffs.
“What was considered a weakness earlier this offseason turns into a strength as Jadeveon Clowney and Ezekiel Ansah combine for 23 sacks. An offense that scored 26.8 points per game last season (third-best in the NFC and tied for sixth-best overall) relies on Russell Wilson, Chris Carson, Tyler Lockett and a solid line to produce similar results. The Seahawks make the postseason for the seventh time in eight years since they drafted Wilson.”
- FiveThirtyEight’s ELO forecast gives the Seahawks the sixth-best chance in the NFC to make the playoffs at 46%, with an average finish of 9-7.