The Comeback is previewing all 32 NFL teams from worst to first leading up to the start of the 2017 regular season on Sept. 7. As we near the top five, coming in at No. 6 in our preseason rankings are the flawed but always dangerous Seattle Seahawks.
2016 in a nutshell: The Seahawks’ offensive line was a bloody mess and the running game lacked consistency, hanging franchise quarterback Russell Wilson out to dry in what was the worst season of his career. The Legion of Boom wasn’t the same either, especially after safety Earl Thomas was lost for the latter part of the season. But Seattle still managed to beat the Patriots on the road and won the division with a 10-5-1 record.
What’s different: Thomas is back, the Seahawks have shaken things up along that offensive line and veteran Eddie Lacy has been added in an attempt to give the running game a boost.
Why they could be awesome: Wilson is one of the best young quarterbacks in the game and it appears he’ll be at least slightly better supported in 2017. Oh, and as I said, Thomas is back. Even without him and several important contributors for large chunks last season, Seattle’s defense ranked third in terms of points allowed. And they just added Sheldon Richardson, acquiring the defensive lineman from the Jets.
Why they could suck: The line still isn’t right, especially after losing projected starting left tackle George Fant to a torn ACL. The running game might not be fixed, especially considering the fact newbie Eddie Lacy and returning backs C.J. Prosise and Thomas Rawls haven’t exactly been reliable in recent years. And while that D is loaded, it isn’t quite as dominant-looking as in years past.
Major additions: Richardson, Lacy, versatile second-round rookie offensive lineman Ethan Pocic and former No. 2 overall pick (and current bust guard) Luke Joeckel.
Major losses: Kearse was a starting receiver, but had a disappointing 2016 season and was replaced by Tyler Lockett until he suffered an injury.
Breakout watch: Seattle could use a breakout season from second-year right tackle Germain Ifedi, who struggled in the right guard spot as a rookie. Or any backs or receivers not named Lacy or Doug Baldwin.
— Daniel Fitzgerald (@nflpicksfitz) August 22, 2017
Position to watch: Receiver is intriguing because it’s been all about Baldwin and Kearse the last few years, but youngsters Paul Richardson, Tyler Lockett and Kasen Williams have seen their respective stocks rise of late. Wouldn’t be surprised if the status quo was broken up this season.
Prediction: The NFC West should be a breeze, but the line might not be strong enough for them to sustain a playoff run if Seattle has to play on the road. In other words, the margin for error is small and I’m not sure the Seahawks can pull it off. Still, they’ll be in contention.
11-5, 1st place in the NFC West