The wide open NFC West delivered the first ever playoff team with a losing record last season. The Seahawks will hope to return to the post-season but in better health in 2011.
The players Alabama’s James Carpenter is the headline addition in Seattle this year. The offensive tackle was drafted in the first round by the Seahawks and has the size and frame necessary to protect the aging Matt Hasselbeck. The offensive line was Seattle’s big focus in the draft with the Seahawks spending their second round pick on Wisconsin guard John Moffitt. The former Badger is well-used to playing with a raucous home crowd behind him and should fit in nicely at CenturyLink Field.
Year two of the Mike Williams reclamation project should prove fascinating. After a solid 65 receptions and 751 yards last season, Pete Carroll will want his former Trojan to take another step forward this season. The durability of Matt Hasselbeck will also come under the spotlight, particularly with a promising crop of quarterbacks set to enter the next draft.
Mark your calendar Now for the bad news, the schedule is nothing short of brutal. The first five weeks read like this: at San Francisco, at Pittsburgh, Arizona, Atlanta, at the Giants. The Cardinals game is the only one where NFL betting fans are likely to favor the Seahawks. It’s entirely possible they will hit the bye week at 0-5 and anything better than 1-4 should be considered a good start.
The tough games keep on coming in the second half of the season with the Ravens and the Eagles both swooping into Seattle. A road trip to Chicago is sandwiched between games against all three of the Seahawks’ NFC West rivals in the final four weeks of the season.
The verdict The long-term outlook for the Seahawks is bright but they over-achieved last season and will pay for it in 2011. The extra challenges on the schedule, their reward for winning the NFC West, will prove particularly daunting. The order of games won’t suit Seattle much either. It looks almost inevitable that they will be in a big hole early in the season. A 7-9 finish isn’t unthinkable, albeit rather difficult, but it won’t be enough to win this division in 2011. The Rams are rising and the 49ers should be better under Jim Harbaugh. That makes the task all that tougher. The Seahawks will probably slide back into the 5-11 or 6-10 range before reloading for 2012.