Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Seattle Seahawks fans (LtoR) Jason Jacobsen - Joshua Kelly - Jeffery Ketcherside in gorilla costumes along Bourbon Street following Super Bowl XLVII between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pre-Preseason Seahawks Predictions 2013-14

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Jun 12, 2013; Renton, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshan Lynch (24) participates in minicamp practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

One of my first rituals when getting ready to watch a season of Seahawks football is to make a rough prediction of how I think the season will play out. Usually I just make the predictions in my mind while looking at a printed schedule either in a newspaper or on the wall of a bar. This season, however, I will share my process.

First off, I assign each game one of four labels based on time and location the of game, and strength of opponent. The four labels are: should win, could win, might lose, and should lose. “Should win” means that it’s a big upset if the Seahawks lose, think Arizona Cardinals at home. “Could win” means a game that will be tough but not impossible, like the Green Bay Packers at home. “Might lose” is a game that is slightly less hopeful, usually any game played in the morning slot on the East Coast. “Should lose” is a game that would be seen as an upset if the Seahawks won, like a game in New England on a Thursday night following a Sunday night game.

To be blunt, the 2013 Seahawks look good, but this season’s schedule looks tough. Regardless of the Seahawks’ strength of schedule percentage, the Seahawks play five of their games at 10 AM PST. These are road games in the Eastern time zone.

Historically, the Seahawks have struggled in such games.
To counter the five games in the Eastern time zone, the Seahawks are scheduled for four prime time games. Each of those games are winnable: home against San Francisco, at Arizona, at St. Louis, and home against New Orleans.

In a worst-case-sceneario, if the Seahawks lose all east coast games, and win all prime time games, they have a record of 4-5 in games where time of day and atmosphere act as intangible effects on the game.

Here goes for 2013-1014. (All times are in PST.)

Week 1: 10 AM @ Carolina
Best Result: Should win based on the Seahawks being more confident, experienced, talented, and consistent than the Panthers.
Worst Result: Could lose if the Seahawks beat themselves with mistakes or bad play calling.
Time Factor: The time shouldn’t factor in to it much because it is the first game of the season. Verdict: Should win.

Dec 23, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin (89) makes a 43-yard reception in the first quarter as San Francisco 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers (22) defends at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 42-13. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

WEEK 2: 5:30 PM vs. San Francisco
Best Result: 42-17!!!
Worst Result: San Francisco wins a close one.
Time Factor: The 12th Man has been feasting upon the positive direction headed into this season. The players have to feel the same way, and it would take quite an effort by San Francisco to win this one. If anybody can upset this opening day party, however, it’s the 49ers.
Verdict: Could win.

WEEK 3: 1:25 PM vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Worst Result: Cannot imagine a loss. Any loss for any reason would be embarrassing.
Best Result: Early lead that Seattle never relinquishes – no injuries.
Verdict: Should win.

Week 4: 10am @ Houston Texans
Worst result: Houston beats us soundly.
Best Result: Grind out a win.
Verdict: Might lose.
Time factor: Good team at 10 AM – could be bad.

Week 5: 10 AM @ Indianapolis Colts
Time Factor: 10 AM, but it’s the Colts.
Worst Result: Andrew Luck outperforms Russell Wilson on way to Colt’s win.
Best Result: Andrew Luck who?
Verdict: Should win.

Week 6: 1:05 PM vs. Tennessee Titans
Worst result: Last time I saw the Titans play in Seattle, Chris Johnson broke the 2,000 yard mark for season rushing yards and Matt Hasselbeck ended the last drive of the last game of the season with a loss clinching interception.
Best Result: Well executed Seahawks victory that lacks drama.
Verdict: Should win.

Dec 9, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) scores on a 19-yard interception return in the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Week 7: 5:25 PM @ Arizona Cardinals
Worst Result: See Week 1 2012.
Best Result: See Week 14 2012.
Result: Should win.

Week 8: 5:40 PM @ St. Louis Rams
Time Factor: Prime time against the Rams. Both teams will be pumped.
Worst Result: We lose to the kicker.
Best Result: Scoring touchdowns, and kicking 20-30 yard field goals with consistency.
Result: Should win.

Week 9: 1:05 PM vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Worst Result: The Buccaneers are a good team this year and give the Seahawks a solid fight.
Best Result: The Buccaneers are the Buccaneers.
Verdict: Should win.

Week 10: 10 AM @ Atlanta Falcons
Time factor: Good team, tough venue, at 10 AM.
Worst Result: The Falcons with a comfortable win.
Best Result: The Seahawks win by ten or more points.
Verdict: Might lose.

Week 11: 1:25 PM vs. Minnesota Vikings
Worst Result: All the players that decided to stay in Minnesota show up.
Best Result: Winfield and Harvin dominate.
Verdict: Should win.

Week 12: Bye Week

Week 13: 5:40 PM vs. New Orleans Saints
Time Facter: Prime time to end the bye.
Worst Result: The Saints dominate the Seahawks.
Best Result: The exact opposite of above.
Verdict: Could win.

Week 14: 1:25 PM @ San Francisco 49ers
Worst Result: The 49ers beat the Seahawks in Candlestick.
Best Result: The Seahawks defeat the 49ers and clench first place in the NFC West.
Verdict: Could win.

Week 15: 10 AM @ New York Giants
Time Factor: Eli Manning could catch a sleepy secondary.
Worst Result: The Seahawks blow a big lead, and we have to see some unnecessary salsa dancing.
Best Result: Richard Sherman picks Manning off twice, once for a game winning touchdown.
Verdict: Should win.

Week 16: 1:05 PM vs. Arizona Cardinals
Worst Result: The Cardinals make it a game.
Best Result: The Seahawks win and secure a bye week in the playoffs.
Verdict: Should win.

Dec 30, 2012, Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate (81) runs for yards after a catch in front of St. Louis Rams safety Craig Dahl (43) during the third quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Week 17: 1:25 PM vs St. Louis
Worst Result: St. Louis wins a meaningless game at the end of the season and pats themselves on the back for a season of not sucking, but not being very good. At the same time, the Rams could be the surprise team of the NFL this year, and be in the thick of the playoff hunt.
Best Result: Seahawks dominate, and clench the first seed in the NFC.
Verdict: Should win.

Totals:
Should win: 11
Could win: 3
Might Lose: 2
Should Lose: 0

With this total, I will say that the Seahawks are looking at a minimum of 11 wins, a strong shot at 11-14 wins, and an outside shot at going undefeated in the regular season. While they might not win every ‘should win’ game, they could win some of the other five.

Of course, if the season were this predictable, it wouldn’t be worth playing. Hopefully the Seahawks will incorporate their new players successfully, hit the ground running, and not stop until they win the Super Bowl.  It looks like there’s a legitimate chance for hope this season.

Season Rating Guide:
Fail to meet expectations: 0-10 wins
Meet Expectations: 11 wins
Exceed Expectations: 12-16 wins

Final prediction: Call me naïve, but I just don’t see Seattle “Couging” this season. They have an additional year’s experience and some key new additions. Mental mistakes shouldn’t be the problem they have been in the past. Seahawks: 14-2 in the regular season with the top seed in the NFC playoffs.

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