- Russell Wilson is an absolute magician, but not even he can pull a winning season out of his hat in 2018 given the state of the rest of Seattle's roster. Bettors should strongly consider going under 7.5 wins for the Seahawks.
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Seahawks 2018 win total: 7.5 (-135 over, +115 under)
Seahawks 2017 record: 9-7
Key offseason acquisitions: G D.J. Fluker, LB Barkevious Mingo, WR Jaron Brown, TE Ed Dickson, K Sebastian Janikowski
Key offseason losses: CB Richard Sherman, DL Sheldon Richardson, DL Michael Bennett, S Kam Chancellor, CB Jeremy Lane, CB DeShawn Shead, TE Jimmy Graham, WR Paul Richardson, DL Cliff Avril, TE Luke Willson
Five things to keep in mind before betting the Seahawks’ win total
1. It was a nightmarish offseason in Seattle, and an especially devastating one on the defensive side of the ball. Gone are leaders like Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, as well as talented defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson. The lack of depth currently on this unit is jarring, as is the realization that losing pass-rusher Dion Jordan to injury for an extended period of time feels rather important for this unit. Dion Jordan! The Legion of Boom has turned into the Legion of Who, and will need several young players to make the leap, and quickly, to keep the defense afloat.
2. Oh yeah, then there’s the Earl Thomas contract situation. It’s impossible to justify the Seahawks not giving Thomas the contract he wants and deserves, as their pass defense suffers mightily when Thomas isn’t on the field. Before Thomas broke his leg in Week 13 last season, Seattle’s defense was third with a 77.8 opponents’ passer rating and allowed 7.01 YPA. After he went down, opponents’ YPA jumped up to 7.77 (30th in the NFL over that span) and a passer rating of 100.3 (31st). If Thomas’s holdout continues into the season or the safety is traded, the Seahawks are a legitimate threat to finish in last place in the NFC West.
3. There are major question marks on offense too. Russell Wilson loses two key targets who combined for 16 touchdowns in 2017, tight end Jimmy Graham and underrated departure Paul Richardson—who was key for stretching the field, as Wilson’s 8.8 YPA when targeting Richardson was the highest on the team. Top weapon Doug Baldwin has a knee injury that will keep him sidelined for a few weeks, and that’s an issue that could linger throughout the season. Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls exit from a stable of running backs that averaged 3.1 yards per carry in 2017, the second-worst mark in the league. Wilson is an elite QB and accounted for an absurd 37 of the Seahawks’ 38 offensive touchdowns last season (J.D. McKissic’s 30-yard scoring run in Week 4 was the lone exception), but he might need to play even better than his MVP-like campaign in 2017 to give this team a chance, which is a huge ask.
4. What about notable offseason additions? Veteran guard DJ Fluker should help with the protection of Wilson. Yet, it’s still an offensive line that has struggled mightily, as the unit was near the bottom of the league in sacks (43.0) and hits allowed (121) last season. Seattle has also made curious decisions toward addressing its biggest issues. Selecting tailback Rashaad Penny, instead of help in the trenches, was a luxury first-round pick for a team that could ill afford to take one. Now Penny may not even be ready for the start of the regular season after undergoing surgery on a broken finger.
The Seahawks also hired two new coordinators over the offseason: defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and, wait for it, Brian Schottenheimer on offense. Yes, the same Brian Schottenheimer who hasn’t had an offense he’s coordinated finish as a top-20 unit since 2010, the same year as Pete Carroll’s first season in Seattle. He spent the last two years as the QB coach in Indy, and 2015 as the OC and QB coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, a unit that ranked 82nd in YPG and 85th in scoring in the country—and finished behind Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern and Georgia State in both metrics.
5. The schedule won’t do the team any favors either, including an absolutely punishing schedule from Week 9 to Week 16 (vs. Chargers, at Rams, vs. Packers, at Panthers, vs. 49ers, vs. Vikings, at 49ers, vs. Chiefs). The Seahawks go from facing the NFC East and AFC South last season to the NFC North and AFC West, which makes their road to a .500 record much tougher. Within the division, the Rams and 49ers improved this offseason, and it’s very unlikely to see Seattle going 3-1 against them again.
PICK: UNDER 7.5 Wins