As the Seahawks begin the 2018 season on the road against Denver this Sunday, we take a look at how the national media expects Seattle to fare with a host of new faces, an exciting rookie punter, and a lot of uncertainty.
Projected unit ranks: Offense – 20th, Defense – 13th, Special Teams – 17th
Over/under: 7.5 wins
NFC West odds: 16 percent
Super Bowl odds: 0.5 percent
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Brady Henderson: “Not since 2011, Pete Carroll’s second season in Seattle and a year before Russell Wilson arrived, have expectations for the Seahawks been so low. They refute the notion that they’re in rebuild mode after a 9-7 season and the departures or absences of Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Jimmy Graham and Earl Thomas. Whatever you want to call it, the Seahawks have their work cut out for them as they try to climb back atop an increasingly strong NFC West with a roster no longer as loaded with Pro Bowl talent. “We’re excited about that challenge, we’re excited to prove people wrong,” middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said.”
Field Yates picks Russell Wilson to lead the NFL in QBR: “It’s important to note that Total QBR is a statistic in which mobile quarterbacks can make a decided mark. While Wilson may not boast a supporting cast on offense that parallels that of his quarterback peers, he is as nifty and nimble on the run and a tremendous thrower. If Seattle stays in the NFC West hunt, he’ll be in the MVP mix.
Bill Barnwell calls Michael Dickson the 21st-most intriguing player in the NFL this season: “There’s something a little sad about Seahawks fans who once bragged about arguably the best roster in football pinning their hopes on a rookie punter, but Dickson has comfortably been the best punter in football during the preseason. … Could he inspire the league to create a Special Teams Rookie of the Year award? And shouldn’t there be a Special Teams Player of the Year award already?”
Peter King picks the Los Angeles Rams over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.
“Here we are, three days before the start of the NFL’s 99th season, and there is no team in recent history that has done a 180 like the Rams of the past year. …
Labor Day 2017: The Rams were trying not to be a laughingstock anymore, with the youngest coach in modern NFL history, a quarterback desperate for a detour from bust-dom, a GM hanging on for dear life, and no one to put on a billboard in a sprawling market that demanded stars. Best two players on this team: a defensive tackle and a punter.
Labor Day 2018: The Rams, defending NFC West champs, are darlings. That chortled-at peach-fuzzy coach, Sean McVay, is the reigning coach of the year. Todd Gurley and Aaron Donald are returning offensive and defensive players of the year. That disastrous quarterback, Jared Goff, had a 100.5 rating, fifth in the league and higher than a few great QBs—Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Ryan, Rivers and Wilson.”
Punter Michael Dickson is King’s Offensive Rookie of the Year: “I don’t even know if a punter is an offensive or defensive player. But I’m giving Dickson this nod because he’ll lead the NFL in gross and net punting, and because punters are people too.”
King also names Richard Sherman, now a San Francisco 49er, as his No. 4 pick for Comeback Player of the Year.
None of the 15 panelists pick the Seahawks to make the playoffs, nor any Seahawks as award winners.
Robert Mays: 24th of 32 teams
“Only a select few quarterbacks have the ability to completely mask their roster’s ills. … Russell Wilson is in that camp too, and he’s the only reason the Seahawks aren’t even lower on this list. Wilson is a magical force, capable of surviving poor offensive line play, conjuring a rushing attack, and summoning chunk plays down the field at will. Without him, the Seahawks would almost certainly have one of the worst offenses in football. With him, Seattle could easily field a potent attack yet again. …
“The Seahawks as we know them are done, and that may soon affect the Schneider-Carroll partnership that has defined this franchise over the last eight years—without the defense carrying this team, Carroll’s squad is in trouble. After Doug Baldwin—who admitted last week that he’s dealing with a knee injury that may keep him at 80 percent this season—Seattle’s receiver depth chart is a wasteland. … If Wilson gets hurt for any stretch of time, this is a bottom-three roster and the Seahawks are in contention for next year’s no. 1 pick in the draft.”
All 21 panelists pick the Los Angeles Rams to win the NFC West
Michael Robinson: “On paper, Los Angeles might have the best team in the league.”
Jeremy Bergman: This division is and will be the Rams’ to lose — their roster is superior at nearly every position aside from quarterback and pass rusher — but the West won’t be easily won. The Rams will split their division games en route to the West title and will fail to secure a first-round bye, thanks to late-season losses to late-charging rivals Arizona and San Francisco. … In Seattle, the 12s will be calling for offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s head by Halloween — and head coach Pete Carroll’s by Christmas. Happy holidays?
20th of 32 teams
“At this time a year ago, the Seahawks were still viewed as one of the leading contenders to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. They were the New England Patriots of the conference—a team that was not only good but consistently so over a period of several years. Seattle won a Super Bowl and should have won a second.
Just run the ball, Pete.
Fast-forward one year, and the Seahawks look like an also-ran. An eight- or nine-win team, tops.”
Rashaad Penny receives one vote a piece as a dark-horse offensive rookie of the year and as fantasy player of the year.
Mike Tanier: “Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer wants to establish the run, run when teams are expecting the run, run like he’s coaching a 1970s Texas high school team and so on. Does it make good football sense? Heck no! Does it mean boffo fantasy potential for the first-round pick, who also happens to be the only legitimate every-down and goal-line running back on the roster? Heck yes!
John Breech: 10-6, 2nd NFC West
“After watching the Seahawks lose players like Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Sheldon Richardson, Kam Chancellor, Jimmy Graham, and Paul Richardson this offseason, it’s easy to understand why most people aren’t that high on Seattle heading into 2018 (I could have actually listed even more players that the Seahawks lost, but we had to stop somewhere). Not only did they lose multiple starters from last year’s team, but they did little to fix their biggest problem, which is the offensive line. The good news for the Seahawks is that Russell Wilson has proven that he doesn’t really need an offensive line to be successful and the defense is stilled filled with playmakers, including Bobby Wagner. They might not win the division, but I do think they’ll get to 10 wins.”
Pete Prisco: 25th out of 32 teams
“This is the year the Seahawks need to turn it over to Russell Wilson and let him play fast and free. If they do that, they could be higher up this list.”
Matt Verderame: 5-11, 4th NFC West
“Russell Wilson is looking around, wondering where everybody went. … After years of being in the mix — Seattle hasn’t endured a losing season since 2011 — the Seahawks stripped it all down this offseason. … The end result is Wilson surrounded by Doug Baldwin and little else, while the defense is reliant on Bobby Wagner, Frank Clark and question marks.”