The Seahawlks will once again be taken seriously by NFL odds makers in 2008, but can they repeat the Super Bowl adventure of two seasons ago?
The Seattle Seahawks have won the West four straight years after going 10-6 last season. The Seahawks ranked 9th in total offense, but just 20th in rushing, and 15th in total defense. Seattle also went 9-7 ATS, and 6-2 vs. the NFL lines at Qwest Field. Over the offseason, the ‘Hawks let RB Shaun Alexander go, replacing him with T.J. Duckett and Julius Jones. QB Matt Hasselbeck is still adept at running coach Mike Holmgren’s offense, and the defense tends to be opportunistic.
In their first season under coach Ken Whisenhunt, the Arizona Cardinals went 8-8 and it could have been better; Arizona lost once by two points, twice by three, and by a TD in OT. The Cardinals also went 9-7 against the NFL betting lines, and 6-3 ATS as underdogs. Arizona ranked 12th in total offense but just 29th on the ground, and 17th in total defense. Matt Leinart, coming off a broken collarbone, will be the starter, but Kurt Warner threw 27 TDs last year, and wants to play, too. If the running game and the defense step up, Arizona could contend in the West this year.
After going 8-8 in 2006, the St. Louis Rams lost their first eight games last season and finished 3-13. St. Louis also went a miserable 5-11 vs. the NFL betting lines. Injuries to QB Marc Bulger and RB Stephen Jackson helped the Rams rank just 24th in total offense and 25th in rushing. And only one team allowed more points. The Rams let WR Isaac Bruce go this offseason, and fellow wideout Torry Holt is not the threat he used to be. But St. Louis picked up DE Chris Long with the 2nd pick in the draft, and signed K Josh Brown.
The San Francisco 49ers thought they were ready to contend in the West, after going 7-9 in 2006. But an anemic offense and an eight-game losing streak doomed San Fran to a 5-11 campaign last season. The 49ers ranked dead last in total offense and passing, 30th in turnover margin, and 25th in total defense, all of which contributed to a 5-11 mark vs. the NFL odds. This year SF brought in OC Mike Martz to instill some excitement, and he’ll have an effective tool in RB Frank Gore. And the Niners signed WR Isaac Bruce, who played for Martz in St. Louis.