By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)
Through the first thirteen weeks of the season, it appeared as though Pete Carroll had managed to grab lightning in a bottle and had all the luck on his side as his Seattle Seahawks team stood on top of the NFC at 10-2 overall after a Monday Night Football victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
Seattle was winning games in ways that defied logic. They had the worst point differential in NFL history for a team with their record. Over and over again in 2019, they narrowly escaped defeat, sometimes at the hands of teams that had no business staying that close from the team with the best record in the conference.
The Seahawks were in the middle of one of their best starts in franchise history, and it appeared this version of Pete Carroll’s Seahawks was the closest Seattle was to being a Super Bowl contender, since, well, you know what happened.
Then all hell broke loose in a game against the Arizona Cardinals in which Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise suffered season-ending injuries, this after losing Rashaad Penny with a torn ACL, and the Seahawks were forced to call up Marshawn Lynch to come play running back for the team to end the season, and in typical Beast Mode fashion, Lynch was handing out shots of tequila to fans at the last Raiders home game of the season before he rejoined the Seahawks to close out the season.
Ever since that fateful throw from the one-yard-line, the Seahawks have made the playoffs in every season but one (2017), and have won at least one playoff game in three of their last four trips to the playoffs, but they have been well short of the supremely loaded Seahawks teams that for all intents and purposes should have won at least two Super Bowls.
But thanks to the play of Russell Wilson, who is the best quarterback in football not named Patrick Mahomes, the Seahawks have been able to navigate their way through an onslaught of challenges that comes with having a lot of success.
The Seahawks have notoriously struggled to find consistency along their offensive line, and oftentimes seemingly restrain their superstar quarterback until they need him to channel his alter ego of Mr. Unlimited to rescue the Seahawks and lead them to another one of Russell Wilson’s jaw-dropping comebacks.
As they enter the 2020 season, the Seahawks are hoping to take a new approach — be the aggressor on offense and jump out to early leads instead of trailing throughout the game and needing Russell Wilson to save him.
With the Seahawks legendary defenses in the rear-view mirror, and Marshawn Lynch likely riding off into the sunset after an unforeseen reunion in 2019, Seahawk fans hope the new decade of Seahawks football is the one in which they finally “Let Russ Cook.”
Seahawks 2019 Season Review
Right before the start of the 2019 season, the Seahawks went into their opening weekend game against the Bengals by making a splash on the trade market when they
shook down Bill O’Brien like everyone else does traded for Houston Texans holdout Jadeveon Clowney.
That trade came several weeks after the Seahawks made Russell Wilson the highest-paid player in football with a four-year, $140-million contract extension, and after the team made perennial Pro Bowler Bobby Wagner the highest-paid linebacker in football.
Retaining Wilson and Wagner for the long haul allowed for the Seahawks to gradually begin to rebuild around their two superstar players.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Seahawks went out and finally got Russell Wilson a wide receiver that’s taller than him in the freakishly athletic D.K. Metcalf, who somehow dropped to the end of the second round because NFL GM’s constantly outsmart themselves. They returned the running back tandem of Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, and for the first time in seemingly forever, actually had continuity on the offensive line with the entire unit returning from 2018.
But for the first time in the Pete Carroll era, the Seahawks weaknesses all predominantly fell on the defensive side of the football, even with the trade to steal away Jadeveon Clowney for the season.
An anemic pass rush and lack of a third cornerback would be the proverbial thorn in the side of the Seahawks all season. Clowney would play injured much of the season with a sports hernia and saw his sack production plummet to a career-low of three. Jarran Reed would enter 2019 after a breakout 2018 season with a four-game suspension and would go from 10.5 sacks in 2018 to two in 2019. The team gambled on former Lions DE Ziggy Ansah to bounce back from injury, but he spent more time on the injury report than in the opponent’s backfield.
The Seahawks pass rush was so bad a season ago, that the combination of Bobby Wagner and Mychal Kendricks produced more sacks (6) than the combination of Clowney and Ansah (5.5). The lack of a player that could force a quarterback to even feel slight pressure led to the worst defensive output of the Pete Carroll era, and a defense that would surrender the most yards they have since Carroll took over the team back in 2010.
Yet somehow, despite all their defensive shortcomings, the Seahawks were carried by the offense for a change, in large part the play of their superstar quarterback Russell Wilson, who after securing the largest extension in NFL history went on to have the best season of his career with 4400 yards of total offense, 34 touchdowns, and just five interceptions.
Wilson and the Seahawks rushing game would manage to eke out close victory after close victory and the Seahawks had an 11-3 record heading into their matchup against the Arizona Cardinals where the fortuitous breaks the Seahawks had all season would begin to go the other way.
In that came, the dam finally broke. The Seahawks, already reeling with season-ending injuries to Rashaad Penny and tight end Will Dissly would lose Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise to season-ending injuries just minutes apart in the first half. These injuries came with Seattle already having a ravaged defense that included Clowney’s aforementioned sports hernia and injuries to midseason trade acquisition Quandre Diggs amongst multiple other players.
Seattle would go from having a chance at home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with home wins over Arizona and San Francisco in their last two games, to finishing 11-5 and playing the postseason on the road. One of the few times Jadeveon Clowney was able to hit a quarterback, it was a borderline shot that would knock Carson Wentz out of the game and would help prolong the Seahawks season before one more Russell Wilson last gasp comeback fell short against Green Bay, with the pass rush issues and lack of a running game rearing its ugly head against a very vulnerable Packers team.
Hoping to Get Something Autographed by Ciara
S Jamal Adams (Jets/Trade)
TE Greg Olsen (Panthers)
DE/LB Bruce Irvin (Panthers)
CB Quinton Dunbar (Washington/Trade)
DE Benson Mayowa (Raiders)
RB Carlos Hyde (Texans)
OL B.J. Finney (Steelers)
RT Cedric Ogbuehi (Jaguars)
RT Brandon Shell (Jets)
WR Phillip Dorsett (Patriots)
WR Paul Richardson (Washington)
DE Damontre Moore (49ers)
Exiting Seattle Like the Sun Does in November
DE Jadeveon Clowney (Free Agent)
S Bradley McDougald (Jets/Trade)
G D.J. Fluker (Ravens)
LT George Fant (Jets)
DT Al Woods (Jaguars/COVID-19 Opt-Out)
DL Quinton Jefferson (Bills)
RT Germain Ifedi (Bears)
C Joey Hunt (Colts)
C Justin Britt (Free Agent)
DE Ziggy Ansah (Free Agent)
RB Marshawn Lynch (Free Agent)
LB Mychal Kendricks (Free Agent)
Seahawks 2020 Offensive Preview
For all the chatter of the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys, the Seattle Seahawks offense could be every bit as explosive, just in a much different manner than you see in the National Football League in 2020.
Once again, the Seahawks plan to deploy a run-oriented offense and use that success on the ground to open up their passing game, which now has a lot more weapons at its disposal than it did a season ago.
Russell Wilson again will be the focal point of the entire Seahawks offense, and the team goes pretty much how he goes. The Seahawks will get Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny back from their season-ending injuries in 2019, however, Penny likely will start the season on the PUP list as he makes his way back from a torn ACL.
To ensure the Seahawks are not in the same situation where they are calling Marshawn Lynch from the Oakland parking lot to suit up for them, the team also signed Texans free agent Carlos Hyde to work into the Seahawks running back rotation, and have a pair of former Miami Hurricanes in Travis Homer and 2020 rookie DeeJay Dallas to round out the Seahawks stable of backs.
The Seahawks were also wiped out by the injury bug a season ago at tight end, where they had to depend on practice squad player Jacob Hollister for a good portion to close out the year, so again John Schneider made a point to ensure they have plenty of depth at that position as they signed former Carolina Panther Greg Olsen, brought back Hard Knocks star Luke Willson, and will also get Will Dissly back into the lineup.
At wide receiver, the Seahawks went from good to potentially great, as Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf return to start (combined 1,957 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2019), with Josh Gordon set to return to the team, and free agents Phillip Dorsett and Paul Richardson signing on as well. Seattle is also Josh Gordon levels high on 2019 7th round pick John Ursua, who has drawn comparisons to former Seahawks great Doug Baldwin.
For Wilson to maximize the talent around him, once again the Seahawks offensive line will be heavily counted on and under the microscope from the opening kick. Mike Solari has done a masterful job at repairing the much-maligned Seahawks offensive line in his first two seasons since re-joining Pete Carroll’s team in 2018, and he will need to pull a rabbit out of his hat again in 2020 as the team will start four new players on the offensive line.
Considering how disjointed practices and training camp are with the COVID-19 pandemic, having four new starters on your offensive line could pose quite the challenge in the beginning part of the season, but if there is anyone that is used to playing with less protection than a Philip Rivers offseason, Russell Wilson is that guy.
Seahawks 2020 Defensive Preview
The Seahawks made one of the biggest trades of the 2020 offseason when they shipped off an armada of draft picks and Bradley McDougald to go rescue superstar Jamal Adams from Adam Gase’s terrifying eyes.
Adams should fill the massive void the Seahawks have been unable to fix since Kam Chancellor had a career-ending injury three years ago, and in a roundabout way he could also potentially help solve the Seahawks pass-rushing woes as Adams had 6.5-sacks for Gregg Williams’ Jets, and that total would have led the entire Seahawks team in 2019 by 2.5 sacks. The soon to be 25-year old safety is a transcendent talent, however, and will immediately make this a much better defense than it was a season ago, provided he doesn’t get bored or try to eat some strawberries.
Joining Adams in the secondary is 2019 trade acquisition Quandre Diggs, and when Diggs was able to stay on the field for the Seahawks a season ago, their pass defense became significantly better. Diggs and Adams will provide the Seahawks with one of the best safety duos in football.
At linebacker, the Seahawks are again stacked at that position, with the best inside linebacker in football Bobby Wagner playing alongside veteran K.J. Wright and Seahawks 2020 1st round selection Jordyn Brooks. A season ago, the Seahawks were forced to play 4-3 defense nearly 80% of the time, which left Wagner on an island defending slippery slot guys, that should not be the case in 2020 as the team will be putting more of an emphasis on having a capable nickel corner to help alleviate the pressure on their two veteran linebackers.
The Seahawks corners also figure to be much improved from a season ago, as the team traded for Quinton Dunbar in the offseason and will pair him with returning starters Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers, with 2019 2nd round pick Marquise Blair moving to nickel corner in 2020.
For the Seahawks secondary to maximize its potential however, they will absolutely need better production from the defensive line in 2020. Jadeveon Clowney is still a free-agent as of this writing and could still return to the team as there does not appear to be a very fluid market for him, but should he not return to the Emerald City, Pete Carroll will rely on former Seahawks Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The Seahawks would also love to see Jarran Reed return to his 2018 form, as the defensive tackle had 10.5 sacks in 2018 but only managed two sacks a season ago. He will be joined along the line with Poona Ford, Rasheem Green and 2019 1st round pick L.J. Collier, who had a practically invisible rookie season with the team. Considering the struggles of the Seahawks defensive line from a season ago, it’s not the best omen that Collier was a healthy scratch for several games a year ago.
Seahawks 2020 Outlook & Prediction
The Seattle Seahawks 2020 season is going to come down to line play. If the offensive line can gel and Mike Solari can put together an offensive line that will allow for the Seahawks to pound the ball and let Russell Wilson loose, and the defensive line can put some pressure on the quarterback, this is a roster that can find itself in the Super Bowl.
But if the Seahawks line play continues to be an issue, this is a team that will likely find itself in a similar circumstance ever since that
boneheaded, stupid decision to throw a slant pattern from the one-yard line with Marshawn Lynch in the backfield Super Bowl loss to the Patriots in 2015. Remember, a year ago, this Seattle team won many games they probably shouldn’t have, and a regression to the mean could be in order if the pass rush is once again dreadful and the offensive line reverts to how it once looked.
We think the Seahawks will get enough of a pass rush and good enough line play to be one of the best teams in the NFC this season, and a relatively soft schedule will be enough to fuel the Seahawks to their first division title since 2016.
Seahawks 2020 Projection: 12-4, 1st place NFC West
Seahawks 2020 Betting Preview
Unlike throwing the ball at the one-yard line when you have prime Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, these futures bets on the Seahawks will be winning decisions.
- Seahawks OVER 9.5 Wins — (+110) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Since Russell Wilson became the starting quarterback of the Seahawks, Seattle has only failed to reach 10 wins a single time, and that came with Blair Walsh as their kicker. If the Seahawks can avoid another major injury outbreak, their favorable schedule and talented roster will be enough to get the Seahawks over this number yet again. This is one of our favorite win total bets of the season.
- Seahawks to Win NFC West — (+220) at DraftKings Sportsbook
While the 49ers are the favorites to win the NFC West, and justifiably so, we are going to take the Seahawks to win the division this season. The 49ers have the dreaded Super Bowl losers hex placed upon them and are already running into a lot of early injury issues at key positions. Just a slight stumble out of the gate by the Niners could ultimately be the deciding difference in who ultimately wins the NFC West, and we think Seattle returns to the top of a loaded division in 2020. The +220 price makes this bet that much sweeter.
- Russell Wilson to Win NFL MVP — (+800) at DraftKings Sportsbook
The only member of the Pete Carroll Seahawks to get a vote for MVP? Bobby Wagner. Yes, that’s right, Russell Wilson has never received a single MVP vote. Wilson has been the favorite to win MVP for good stretches of the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and at +800 with a potentially loaded Seahawks roster, we’re going to take a stab at Wilson finally getting some love in the MVP race.
- Seahawks to Win Super Bowl 55 — (+2000) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Our second of three Super Bowl futures bets will be placed on the Seattle Seahawks at 20-1. Again, this hinges on their ability to have a cohesive offensive line and an improved pass-rush. If they can get that, they have everything else a would-be Super Bowl contender would need.