Tuesday, August 19, 2014

2014 NFL PREVIEW - Seattle Seahawks

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS                                      

2013 Record: 13-3-0

Key Additions: QB Terrelle Pryor; TE Travis Beckum; CB Phillip Adams; CB A.J. Jefferson; OL Stephen Schilling.

Key Losses: WR Golden Tate; DL Chris Clemons; CB Brandon Browner; CB Walter Thurmond; DL Red Bryant; DL Clinton McDonald; RB Michael Robinson; OL Breno Giacomini; OL Paul McQuistan.

HEAD COACH: Pete Carroll

Offense: Quarterback Russell Wilson followed up a strong rookie season with a Super Bowl title in his second season and will be back again in 2014 after passing for 3,357 yards with 26 touchdowns and only nine interceptions last year. Wilson also rushed for 539 yards (5.6 ypc average) and scored one touchdown. Backing him up will be either Tarvaris Jackson or Terrelle Pryor, who came over from the Oakland Raiders in a trade.
Marshawn Lynch powers the Seahawks running game, going for 1,257 yards last season with a 4.2 ypc average and 12 touchdowns. Robert Turbin (264 rushing yards) and Christine Michael will back up Lynch.
Seattle lost leading receiver Golden Tate to free agency following the Super Bowl victory, but they expect to have Percy Harvin for the entire season in 2014 after the six-year veteran missed nearly the entire season before returning in time to help make an impact in the team's title run.
Along with Harvin at wideout is Doug Baldwin (50 receptions, 778 yards with a 15.6 ypc average and five touchdowns), Jermaine Kearse (22, 346, four TD) and possibly two rookies in Paul Richardson (Colorado) and Kevin Norwood (Alabama). The tight end is Zach Miller, who made 33 receptions for 387 yards and five scores.
The line has center Max Unger, guards J.R. Sweezy and James Carpenter and tackles Russell Okung and Michael Bowie.

STATS - The Seahawks used a balanced attack to gain 339 yards per game (18th in NFL) as they rushed for 137 yards per game (4th) and 202 passing yards, which was 26th overall. They averaged 26 points per game (8th) while WIlson was sacked 44 times. Seattle turned the ball over just 19 times last season.

Defense: Cliff Avril (eight QB sacks) and Michael Bennett (8.5 sacks) are the ends in the 4-3 scheme for the Seahawks. The tackles are Tony McDaniel and Brandon Mebane. Outside linebackers Bruce Irvin and Malcolm Smith team with middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (five sacks) to round out the front seven of last season's top defense in the NFL.
Others in the mix to play up front are linebackers K.J. Wright, Kevin Pierre-Louis (rookie from Boston College) and Korey Toomer. On the line, Jordan Hill, Jesse Williams, Gregg Scruggs and rookie Cassius Marsh (UCLA) add depth.
The most popular members of the Seattle defense is the "Legion of Boom" secondary featuring All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, who led the NFL with eight interceptions last season. Along with Sherman is corner man Byron Maxwell, who picked off four passes. The safeties are Earl Thomas (five INT) and Kam Chancellor, who intercepted three passes. Also contributing in the secondary are Eric Pinkins, Jeron Johnson, Jeremy Lane and Phillip Adams.

STATS - The Seahawks led the league in defense, allowing only 274 yards per game last year. They gave up a paltry 102 yards on the ground, which ranked them seventh overall. The pass defense was outstanding, intercepting 28 passes (which contributed to a league best plus-20 in the turnover category) while allowing just 172 yards per game. The scoring defense was also stingy, allowing a league low 231 points (14.4 average) while getting 44 QB sacks, which was eighth in the league.

OUTLOOK: After steam rolling over the mighty Denver Broncos, 43-8 in the Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks know they have a huge target on their backs this season as the defending champions.
They are not fazed and it shows in the swagger they possess on the playing field, particularly on defense, and especially in the secondary. This defense is loaded and should be as good as ever in the 2014 season, despite losing some starters from last year to free agency.
Head Coach Pete Carroll is well revered by his players and the chemistry is all good, especially after running back Marshawn Lynch ended his brief holdout during training camp and is gearing up to get back in "Beast Mode."
Lynch and QB Russell Wilson lead the offense and having Percy Harvin around for the entire season only adds to the weapons the Seahawks have. Barring injuries to any key players, Seattle should be just as good, if not better, on offense this year.
Repeating as Super Bowl champions is always tough and the Seahawks face stiff competition in the NFC West with San Francisco, Arizona and St. Louis all looking to take them down. The schedule is loaded as well, especially in the first three weeks.
Look for a 12-4 season, which should be enough to re-claim the division title again. How far this team goes in the post-season in 2014 will depend on the offense, in particular Wilson, and of course, the "Legion of Boom" defense continuing their winning ways.
It could be another Super Bowl title season in the Great Northwest ... stay tuned.

Week 1- vs. Green Bay
Week 2- at San Diego
Week 3- vs. Denver
Week 4- BYE WEEK
Week 5- at Washington
Week 6- vs. Dallas
Week 7- at St. Louis
Week 8- at Carolina
Week 9- vs. Oakland
Week 10- vs. NY Giants
Week 11- at Kansas City
Week 12- vs. Arizona
Week 13- at San Francisco
Week 14- at Philadelphia
Week 15- vs. San Francisco
Week 16- at Arizona
Week 17- vs. St. Louis


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