The Seattle Seahawks are not the dominant team they were last season, as they steamrollered through most of the regular season and the playoffs, capped off by a 43-8 pasting of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Nor are the Seahawks on the verge of a total collapse, as has been suggested by some. Through Week 8, Seattle sits tied for second in the NFC West with a 4-3 record after a 13-9 road victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
In the NFL, it's hard to repeat as champions. No team has done it in over a decade and none have won a single playoff game the following season since 2005, when the Patriots did so.
So what is exactly wrong with the Seahawks? SI's Greg Bishop explores that question in this week's Sports Illustrated (subscribe here). Is it the locker room dynamics? Has Marshawn Lynch worn out his welcome the way that Percy Harvin did, leading to his trade to the Jets? Is it about quarterback Russell Wilson not being “black enough?” as a Bleacher Report story put it?
Wilson and his teammates offer some interesting perspectives in Bishop's story, including the quarterback's contention that, “With all the people trying to distract us, we’re probably the closest we’ve even been.”
For more on the Seahawks, check out Bishop's story in this week's Sports Illustrated (subscribe here).
Also featured in this issue, a story on the World Series, a profile on the youngest Gronkowski, Kansas State’s Glenn, a look at Toronto Raptors rookie forward Bruno Caboclo and a book excerpt (written with SI’s L. Jon Wertheim) from broadcaster Al Michaels.
The print edition of this week's regional cover will go out to Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Not in the area to buy the regional issue? Buy single issues here.