Dec 18, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas (29) returns an interception during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Seattle Seahawks Preview: The First Eight Games

With many surprising events taking place during training camp and the preseason, I thought it would be a good idea to update the predictions that I made back in May.  I also have some more insight into what the Seahawks will look like in the regular season and how tough their opponents are in the first half of their schedule.  Without any more delay, let’s get started.

Week 1 September 9, 2012 Seahawks @ Cardinals
This is a game the Seahawks can’t afford to lose. With Arizona’s offensive line in disarray and inexperience at quarterback, the Seahawks defense needs to make a big statement. While the Seahawks often struggle in opening games play away, they have a solid chance to win this one.  This game will swing heavily on the two defenses, and if Marshawn Lynch is unable to play due to back spasms, Seattle will be starting rookies at quarterback and running back.  This will be a test for Russell Wilson since he will be playing against a good defense that has actually prepared for him. His arm and speed will be put to the test.  I believe Seattle will win 21-17.

Week 2 September 16, 2012 Seahawks vs. Cowboys
The Seahawks have had bad luck playing in Dallas the last few years, but as everyone remembers, the last time Romo visited the 12th Man, he squashed a hold and got chased down by Babineaux on a play that would have won Big D the game.  Dallas has potential to do big things have struggled to live up to the much publicized potential.  This is another game Seattle should win.  It’s the home opener and Seattle can’t afford to give away close games if it plans to make the playoffs.  I predict the Seahawks secondary making life tough for Romo as the 12th Man’s noise gets inside his head.  That, matched with an inconsistent Dallas running game and Lynch feasting on Skittles, has Seattle starting the season 2-0 in a 28-24 victory.

Week 3 September 24, 2012 Seahawks vs. Packers (Monday Night)
This will be the Seahawks’ first big chance to force some recognition from the rest of the country that they are not to be taken lightly.  There is a friendly rivalry between the two franchises, due to shared front office and key player lineage, and everyone remembers Hasselbeck’s ill-fated OT prediction in 2003.  This game will be a big test for Seattle’s defense.  Whether or not they can keep up with Green Bay’s high-speed, high-efficiency offense will say a lot about how much they’ve developed.  Russell Wilson will also have to play flawlessly if Seattle wants to stay close.  Green Bay’s defense also looks improved since last season and we know Aaron Rodger’s will likely capitalize on the majority of possessions.  Green Bay’s ground game will be the biggest question in this game.  (Seahawks lose 30-24.)

Week 4 September 30, 2012 Seahawks vs. Rams
The Rams have been the NFC West’s red-headed stepchild for the last ten years or so, and there isn’t much to make me think that that will be any different this season.  The Rams have a solid new head coach in Jeff Fisher, and have made some good moves in the offseason so far. However, with Gregg Williams being banned for life, it leaves the Rams in a bit of a bind.  The Seahawks did a terrific job shutting down the Rams offense last season – which was basically Steven Jackson who had 61 combined yards on 11/20, and 123 combined yards and the only Ram TD on 12/13.  That was partially due to a decimated Rams receiving corps, however which should be healthier and improved with the addition of Steve Smith and return of Danny Amendola.  Expect a bit more of a fight from a Rams team that is looking to garner whatever tiny amount of dignity it can, aided by the newly signed Cortland Finnegan, but not being able to overcome a dominant home Seahawks defense.  Seattle wins (32-16) and moves to 3-1 on the season.

Week 5 October 7, 2012 Seahawks @ Carolina
The Seahawks haven’t played in Carolina since 2007 where the Hawks lost a close 13-10 game.  Of course, everyone also remembers the time before that – the 2006 NCF championship game.  Seattle had a top 10 run defense in 2011 and should pose a challenge for Cam Newton.  Steve Smith, if he is healthy, is always a threat, as well as the only remaining Panther from the 2006 team. Greg Olsen, the new tight end, is an underrated target that should be respected by Seattle’s secondary. It will be fun to see Seattle’s new pass rushers and linebackers take on Cam Newton.  In the end, though, I think that the lack of Panther receivers and a stifling run defense gives Seattle the edge in a game that the Seahawks will probably make more difficult than necessary.  Seahawks win 27-24.

Week 6 October 14, 2012 Seahawks vs. Patriots
This is the beginning of the end of Seattle’s very hard first half of the schedule and would be a huge win for morale and momentum if the Seahawks are able to steal this one away from the Hoody.  It will be interesting to see if Brady is able to command his offense in the noise and could be a huge different. If the Seahawks hang tough and the crowd stays energized, I would lean towards the Seahawks winning.  However, gun-to-my head, I have to go with the Patriots.  Seeing what Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski did to teams last year was amazing.  Until the Pats are shown to have reliably exploitable weaknesses, and the refs stop listening to Brady’s whining, they have the edge.  The Seahawks suffer their second loss on the season (and at home) to one of the best teams of the last ten years.  Seahawks lose 21-17.

Week 7 October 18, 2012 Seahawks @ 49ers
Depending on the outcome of the previous game, the Seahawks will have a short week to either lick their wounds from a second home loss of the season or maintain a high level of energy spawned by defeating a storied dynasty.  Either way, going into Candlestick and playing in one of the most underrated current NFL rivalries will have all players on high alert.  The Niners will have just played the visiting Giants, who did not look very intimidating against Dallas, and will be looking to maintain NFC West dominance.

The Seahawks will be out for some revenge and trying not to repeat their “death by a thousand field goals” like they did against the Niners last season – aided in the first meeting by a David Akers flop.  The Niners have added weapons at receiver (Moss and Manningham) and running back (Brandon Jacobs).  What better way to salve a recent wound (if they lose to the Patriots) or keep riding high on momentum (if the Hawks beat the Pats) then by going down to the Bay Area and wishing Harbaugh and company an early Merry Christmas?  In a pick where I will acknowledge bias due to my total hatred of the 49ers, Seattle wins a huge knock-down, drag-out fight 23-18.

Note: I see this game as a total toss-up. Depending on how Seattle has looked in the first games, this will be a big test since they will need to beat San Francisco at least once in order to make the playoffs.  I still don’t know how good Russell Wilson will be and this is one defense that will be looking to welcome him to the NFL.

Week 8 October 28, 2012 Seahawks @ Lions
This is the team that Matt Flynn threw six TDs against to finish the 2011 season.  The only problem is, if all goes according to plan, he won’t be starting.  Detroit is a team that is looking to return to the playoffs after missing them for  forever and a day. If Stafford can stay healthy, they are not a team to take lightly and, if firing on all cylinders, can hang with the best of them.  Seattle’s secondary is going to have to work hard to cover the best receiver in the game, Calvin Johnson.  Detroit has suffered from chronic injuries at running back and quarterback.  A large factor in this game will be who on Detroit is healthy and who isn’t.  I’ve given the Seahawks a win in most of the close games so far (one two which could swing the other way) so I am going to have to say the Seahawks lose to the Lions in Detroit and finish the first half of the season 5-3.

This is a marked improvement over the slow starts from the last two seasons, and if the Seahawks can start out 4-4, they will still be very much in the playoff hunt seeing as the second half of their schedule is much easier with games against Miami, Minnesota and home rematches with the Cardinals and Rams.  This is a season where Seattle needs to win the games it is supposed to win and hopefully steal a couple of upsets along the way.  They also need to split the series with San Francisco in order to hopefully win the division which, I believe, is the only way Seattle makes the playoffs in 2012.  Seattle also has depth issues at receiver and continuity issues on the offensive line.

If Seattle is unable to finish 9-7, then I think the scrutiny will pick up a lot, and deservedly so.  I am feeling good about the Seahawks’ chances and excited to see if Wilson lives up to expectations and leads the Seahawks back to the playoffs.

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Tags: NFC West Predictions Schedule Seattle Seahawks

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