NFL Preview: Will Seattle Rule the NFC West?

The Seattle Seahawks didn’t rest on their laurels. Although Seattle proved to be the best team in the NFC West last season, the Seahawks didn’t decide that winning the division was enough.

Seattle Seahawks 2017 Preview

Seattle is one of those NFL Teams where championships are now expected. That’s what happens when you have the success that Pete Carroll and the Seahawks’ organization has had the past 5 years.

NFL Super Bowl handicappers know this. That’s why Seattle is one of the favorites, along with the Dallas Cowboys, and Green Bay Packers, to win the NFC. Seattle is a 12 to 1 choice to beat the AFC participant in Super Bowl LII. The Seahawks are a 6 to 1 choice to win the NFC.

Before getting into whether 6 to 1 odds to win the NFC are fair or not, I write about the biggest change for the Seahawks. I also write a few words about Seattle’s rushing attack, and the Legion of Boom defense.

Check out my Seattle Seahawks 2017 Preview!

Seattle Seahawks – Biggest Change

The biggest change for Seattle wasn’t signing running back Eddie Lacy. Don’t get me wrong. Acquiring Eddie Lacy is a close second on Seattle’s list of big changes. Lacy is the type of RB that can block as well as catch the football out of the backfield.
But, Lacy is only going to be as solid as the offensive line. More importantly, a big issue last season was Seattle protecting quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson ran for his life in more than 1 game in 2016.

The Seahawks biggest change was signing former Jacksonville guard Luke Joeckel. Joeckel, the number 2 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, can play left tackle, or guard. He’s only 25-years-old. The lone real knock is that Joeckel goes to Seattle after having suffered an ACL/MCL/Meniscus tear.

Jooeckel said he’s ahead of schedule. He thinks he can participate in training camp activities much more than he thought he could. That’s excellent news for the Seahawks and their fans.

The first key for Seattle to get back to elite status is protecting quarterback Russell Wilson. If the Seahawks can’t protect Wilson, it doesn’t matter how good the defense is, or if the rushing attack roars back.

Wilson is the key to Seattle’s resurgence as an NFC Champion contender. Joeckel is the biggest part of protecting Wilson. If Joeckel is 100% by the time the regular season starts, Seattle’s offense gets a huge upgrade.

Is Seattle’s Rushing Attack Back?

Per many NFL analysts, the biggest training camp battle for the Seattle Seahawks is between running backs Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls. I’m not sure it’s going to be much of a battle. Rawls never got on track last season after getting hurt during the pre-season.

Lacy didn’t play much as a Green Bay Packer because, like Rawls, he got hurt early in the season. The battle figures to come down to which player appears hungrier. From my perspective, that’s Eddie Lacy.

If Lacy’s knee is okay, he should get the most carries. He’s in shape for training camp. That’s a huge sign that he wants to be the man in Seattle. Once Lacy gets going, he’s difficult to stop. I like Lacy to be Seattle’s RB1 this season.

That doesn’t mean Thomas Rawls won’t see any carries. Pete Carroll likes Thomas Rawls. He likes Rawls enough for me to say that Rawls gets at least 7 to 10 carries a game. But, there’s another running back that should see action on Sundays.

C.J. Prosise showed flashes of greatness in a Seahawks uniform last season. Carroll is an expert at gauging college talent. He grabbed C.J. in the 2016 NFL Draft because he knew that the former Notre Dame running back’s skills would translate well to the NFL.

Prosise could end up being the man ahead of both Lacy and Rawls. It won’t happen overnight, though. Don’t expect Prosise to become Seattle’s primary back until the second half of the season.

The answer, then, is yes Seattle’s rushing attack is back. The one caveat is the offensive line. If the offensive line gets it together, it should, right? Seattle’s rushing attack will once again be one of the most feared in the NFL.

Is It the Legion of Boom…or Bust?

Is it boom or bust for the Legion of Boom? The Legion of Boom, surprisingly, had a decent 2016. The unit ended up ranked 5th in total yards allowed on average per game. Opponents averaged 318.7 total yards per versus Seattle’s defense.

Of the 318.7 total yards, the Seahawks allowed an average of 228.5 passing yards per game. Seattle allowed an average of 92.9 rushing yards per game. What’s interesting is that opponents were only good on 70.4% of their field goal attempts versus Seattle’s defense.

What it means is that Seattle’s D was very good at putting offenses in tough third down situations on their side of the football field. This kept Seattle’s opponents in a bad situation. Do they go for a long field goal? Do they punt? Do they try to go for it on 4th down?

To me, that stat is why Seattle’s defense is so good. It’s a sign that no matter who starts, the defense is always prepared. The players that end up on the field know exactly where they should be during every down.

Sure, like all defenses, Seattle’s breaks down at times during every NFL football game. No defense, unless you’re talking the 1985 Chicago Bears’ D, is unbeatable. There’s too much talent in the pro football league for that to be the case.

For the most part, though, the Seattle Seahawks almost never make a mistake on defense. If they get beat by a better play, they get beat by a better play. That’s the way it goes. But, Seattle almost never gets beat because a player is out of position.

Because of that, the Legion of Boom is more boom than bust this season.

Seattle Seahawks 2017-2018 NFL Regular Season Schedule

As to be expected, Seattle’s NFL Regular Season Schedule is a gauntlet. In addition to road games versus the L.A. Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and Arizona Cardinals, Seattle battles the New York Giants on the road. They also take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, no easy out in 2017, on the road.

Road games versus Tennessee and Dallas won’t be cakewalks. Oh, yes, the Seahawks open the regular season with a road game against Green Bay. Non-division foes that Seattle battle at home this season are: Indianapolis, Houston, Washington, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.

If I’m being positive, and I am when it comes to Pete Carroll’s bunch, I think Seattle can go 10 and 6. Their losses should be to Atlanta, Green Bay, the Rams once (just because the Rams always upset Seattle at least once every season), the New York Giants on the road, Arizona on the road, and either Philadelphia or Washington at home.

I think Seattle matches up well with the Dallas Cowboys. That’s a win to me.

Seattle Seahawks Fair NFC Championship Odds

There’s no guarantee that the Seattle Seahawks win 10 games this season. They could end up 8-8, or even 7-9. Arizona was so bad last season, that the Cardinals’ schedule is much kinder to Zona than what Seattle must face.

With that being written, the Seahawks are one of the few teams in the NFL, only Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and New England are the other teams, that have developed a winning culture. What I mean by that is that the Seahawks find a way, just like the Packers, Steelers, and Patriots do.

Schedule doesn’t matter. Neither do players unless the player is the quarterback. If teams like Seattle keep their Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, they’ll find a way to make it to the playoffs.

That’s always the key when thinking about future wagers. If you believe Seattle makes it to the playoffs this season, 6 to 1 odds to beat Green Bay, Dallas, and whomever else gets to the NFC postseason are great. But, if you don’t think Seattle can win through such a tough schedule and make it to the postseason, 6 to 1 odds are terrible.

I think Seattle plays after Week 17. I think the 6 to 1 odds on the Seahawks to win the NFC are great odds.

What do you think?

Written by D.S. Williamson