2014 NFL Preview: Seattle Seahawks

2014 NFL Preview: Seattle Seahawks

It seems only fitting that the last preview for the 2014 NFL season is the defending champion Seattle Seahawks. Winning back-to-back titles can be a daunting task, but this roster has the muscle to get the job done. Despite some free agent exits, which comes as a package deal with success, the ‘Hawks are poised to be the first team to repeat as champs since the 2004 Patriots. There are potential bumps in the road, most notably a financially disgruntled Marshawn Lynch who could be in store for a down season. Also, a fair amount of their defensive depth walked out the door, so injuries to starters could prove significant. But there’s a reason why the are 7/1 odds (second only to Denver) to hoist Lombardi in February: they are really, really good. Here’s a preview of the Seahawks in 2014.

Outlook: If Lynch doesn’t half-ass his way through the season, the running game should once again thrive. The passing game is never going to be elite, but it could be much improved if Percy Harvin remains intact. Russell Wilson is a shrewd decision-maker, although his 16 fumbles in two years are a concern. The league’s most dominant secondary is bolstered by an attacking front seven. A special teams unit that ranked 5th statistically will deal with some turnover, but coordinator Brian Schneider is one of the best in the game. Barring a swath of injuries, Seattle will once again play deep into January.

New arrivals: Rookie Justin Britt has been penciled in to start at right tackle, although veteran Eric Winston was signed as insurance. Second-round wide receiver Paul Richardson is a burner who could make noise as a deep threat. Veteran Wade Smith was brought aboard for O-line depth, even though he was below average in 2013 with Houston. Rookies Cassius Marsh and Jackson Jeffcoat probably won’t play much, but both have burgeoning pass-rushing skills.

Wave goodbye: Golden Tate is the latest receiver attempting to fill the void opposite Calvin Johnson in Detroit. Tate had his moments in Seattle, but Doug Baldwin is pretty much the same guy. Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond both spent time as starting cornerbacks when they weren’t suspended for using PEDs, but they each found new homes with the Patriots and Giants, respectively. Sidney Rice was plagued by leg injuries for the last four years and finally called it quits at the age of 27. Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald was a disruptive rotational force in 2013 and parlayed his inspired play into a 4-year, $12 million contract with Tampa.

Over/Under wins – 11: Green Bay, @San Diego, Denver are the first three games for the ‘Hawks. They also play at Carolina, Philly, and Kansas City. It’s fair to say they will be tested every week. If the NFC West is indeed improved then reaching 12 wins is no lock. That said, a ferocious defense with no holes gives them an edge over nearly every team in the league.

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