10 Over/Under Seahawks Predictions for 2020 Season
The calendar has officially turned to July and training camp is scheduled to begin in less than four weeks across the NFL landscape.
The elephant in the room, of course, is the possibility that there will be no football season no thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the league remains set to kick things off later this month with the Seahawks and all 31 other teams slated to open camps on July 28.
Season predictions are often silly and misguided but entertaining nonetheless. Let's take a crack at 10 scenarios for the upcoming 2020 season and figure out if it's too much or too little.
Over/Under: 10.5 wins
The Seahawks have won 11 or more games in four of Pete Carroll's 10 years as head coach and haven't posted a losing season since 2011.
For Seattle to get the over here, they need only to equal or surpass last season's success. Multiple metrics indicate that the Seahawks were fairly lucky to win 11 games last season, with their "expected" win-loss record at 7.2-7.8 via Pro Football Reference.
A regression toward the mean is not completely out of the question.
Is Seattle better than last year? Certainly, any team can't expect to be better without Jadeveon Clowney. However, Seattle has opted more for quantity over top-tier quality this offseason to offset the loss of Clowney.
With a strong draft as well as adding the likes of Greg Olsen, Phillip Dorsett, and Carlos Hyde on offense and Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa on defense along with having a full season of Quandre Diggs at safety suggest that Seattle could very well improve in 2020.
Although it's nearly impossible to predict the difficulty of a 16-game schedule, it seems on paper, Seattle has a favorable slate, with their opponents at a combined .509 winning percentage for the 2019 season. For comparison, the Patriots have the toughest at .537. In regards to opponents' 2019 winning percentage, Seattle has the easiest schedule among the NFC West teams.
Plus, whenever you have Russell Wilson quarterbacking your squad, you are bound to win games you otherwise wouldn't.
Over/Under: 38.5 sacks on defense
The most beaten of the dead horses this offseason is the fact that Seattle had only 28 sacks last year, ranking near the bottom of the barrel in the NFL.
So why so high?
The Seahawks' average sack total of the last four seasons is 38 sacks, including 43 in 2018.
With how poorly the Seahawks performed rushing the passer last year, one might suggest things couldn't get any worse. Losing Jadeveon Clowney hurts but he only racked up 3.0 sacks, tied for third on the team.
Bad luck and injuries contributed to the poor sack total. Odds are that the defense will not experience such tough luck this go-around.
Irvin and Mayowa combined for 15.5 sacks last year for their respective teams. Seattle used a second round pick on one of the SEC's best pass rushers in Darrell Taylor and also selected Alton Robinson in the fifth round, who amassed 10.0 sacks in 2018 for Syracuse.
Jarran Reed hopes to have a full season after suffering from subpar play after a suspension last year. In his last full campaign, the Alabama product racked up 10.5 sacks in 2018.
Odds are the Seahawks increase their sack total from 2019, but reaching their four-year average of 38 seems like quite a jump.
Over/Under: 4,100 passing yards for Russell Wilson
Wilson is only getting better and that should scare everyone who doesn't back the 12s. The 31 year-old fell just 100 yards short of a career high with 4,110 passing yards last season, his first year without Doug Baldwin.
This season, at his disposal are Tyler Lockett, fresh off a 1,000-yard season, DK Metcalf, one of the best rookies of 2019 and Olsen, a three-time Pro Bowler. Dorsett, David Moore, Will Dissly, and others will certainly contribute as well.
Plus, there are whispers that Brian Schottenheimer may open up the playbook more this season and do what many on social media are clamoring for and "let Russ cook."
His career high is 4,219 yards, set in 2016. Certainly, amassing a total north of 4,100 is doable, since it's already been done. The game is evolving and Wilson is at the top of his game.
With some new weapons, a third season in Schottenheimer's evolving offense, this mark should be attainable.
Over/Under: 1,100 rushing yards for Chris Carson
Carson has established himself as one of the NFL's most productive running backs over the last two seasons, amassing 2,381 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns since 2018, including 1,230 last year, fifth-best in the NFL. The run-heavy attack Seattle boasts aids in his production.
This goal is attainable given the fact that Carson has turned in two consecutive campaigns north of 1,100 yards.
The growing concern is his durability, as he has finished the year on injured reserve in two of his first three years in the league.
The Oklahoma State product is projected to be healthy enough for Week 1, however it will be on the heels of an offseason of rehab, not of preparation. Plus, he will likely share carries with veteran free agent signing Carlos Hyde, who is fresh off of a 1,000-yard season himself.
The depth at running back doesn't stop there. Rashaad Penny will eventually work his way back sometime during the season. Second-year back Travis Homer looks to earn more carries and will contend with former Miami teammate DeeJay Dallas for the third-down back role.
Carson may fall victim to more depth on the roster as well as a slight shift in philosophy in the offense, which may prove it difficult for him to exceed 1,100 yards rushing. However, health willing, a third consecutive 1,000-yard season is well within reach.
Over/Under: 2,000 combined receiving yards between Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf
Lockett established himself as Wilson's primary target last season, accumulating 1,057 yards and eight touchdowns. There is little reason to think the 27-year old can't at least repeat his performance in 2020, if not exceed it. His connection with Wilson is one of the most special in the NFL.
The Kansas State product has improved steadily over the last three seasons and is hitting his stride ahead of year six in the league.
Metcalf took the league by storm during the NFL Scouting Combine with his freakish physique and raw athletic talent. He put it all on display during his rookie campaign, becoming one of the brightest starts of the 2019 draft class with 900 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
Those stats came with a team-high seven drops, suggesting that he left much more production on the field that, with some coaching and improvement in his sophomore season, he can exceed 1,000 yards with a similar amount of targets.
The Ole Miss alum is clearly the number two wide receiver behind Lockett but may have to battle Olsen for status as Wilson's second favorite target in 2020.
With only Olsen standing in their way of once again being the one-two punch for Wilson, Lockett and Metcalf have a shot to each eclipse 1,000 yards. One, if not both of these pass catchers are capable of putting together Pro Bowl worthy seasons.
The last time a Seahawks duo combined for over 2,000 yards was Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham in 2016. This season's combo has a chance to achieve it.
Over/Under: 4.5 touchdowns for Greg Olsen
Seattle added Olsen to appease their quarterbacks pleas for another playmaker. Olsen comes with an impressive resume featuring three Pro Bowls and two Second-Team All-Pro selections, along with three 1,000-yard seasons.
The former Miami product boasts eight seasons of at least five touchdowns. However, he has not collected five touchdowns in a season since 2015, hauling in just two scores in 14 games last year. Much of that can be attributed to poor quarterback play in Carolina in 2019.
When Olsen had the MVP version of Cam Newton in Carolina in 2015, he set a career high with 1,104 receiving yards and finished with seven touchdowns. With Wilson and hopefully a healthy season ahead, Olsen should get back to putting up solid numbers again.
Dissly had four touchdowns in just six games for Seattle in 2019. If Olsen takes the role of the number one tight end in 2020, there's no reason to think he can't match or exceed that given a full season.
Over/Under: 8 sacks combined by rookies
Seattle went into the 2020 NFL Draft with a clear need to bolster the pass rush. They used their second round pick on Taylor, who as mentioned previously, was one of the best pass rushers in the SEC for two seasons. He will likely compete with Mayowa for playing time off the edge at the LEO spot.
Fifth round pick Alton Robinson will be behind the eight-ball to carve out significant playing time given the odd offseason and lack of reps.
If Taylor and Robinson were coming into camp with a full offseason workload and less competition, they likely would exceed this number. However, given the unprecedented circumstances, lack of reps and stiff competition with veterans along the edges, this number seems high.
Over/Under: 140.5 tackles for Bobby Wagner
The tackle machine that is Wagner is coming off of one of the best seasons of his career with an NFL-leading 159 tackles - the second-most in his career - and 4.5 sacks. He made his sixth Pro Bowl and fifth First-Team All-Pro team.
The Seahawks captain has turned in two seasons of more than 140 tackles in his eight-year career. Now at 30 years old, many wonder when Father Time will come knocking at his door. His production suggests he stayed the decline for at least one more year.
We all know it will come sooner than later but that doesn't mean Wagner can't have another Pro Bowl caliber season as the best linebacker in the NFL. However, that also doesn't mean he is a lock to reach 140 tackles again. In four of his Pro Bowl seasons, he didn't even reach that plateau.
The Seahawks defense may make slight adjustments to their philosophies this year, playing less base defense. This shouldn't impact Wagner's snap count much as he is the heartbeat of the defensive unit.
However, as a whole, the defensive line looks to be much better this season than it was a year ago. Reed will hopefully play a full season for the first time since 2018. Poona Ford looks to make a jump in year three. Plus, Seattle added a heap of pass rushing opens - all of which are not named Jadeveon Clowney - but quality nonetheless. This will offer less opportunities for Wagner to clean up messes that leak behind the defensive line.
If the line improves like most expect, Wagner won't have to do all of the dirty work. He can have a fine season even without reaching this number, which he has only exceeded twice.
Over/Under: 1.5 interceptions for Shaquill Griffin
Griffin is fresh off of his first Pro Bowl season in 2019, his third year in the league. Now the UCF product looks to build off of that strong season and take the next step in his development.
That step would be to create more turnovers. The biggest knock on Griffin's game is the lack of interceptions. In three seasons, he has reeled in just three picks in 45 career games.
That certainly does not mean Griffin is not a quality corner, because he is. The other numbers bear that out clearly. However, every truly great corner has the ability to make a play on the ball and create turnovers.
The 24-year old collected two interceptions in 2018, both coming in the same game against the Bears. In reality, he has only hauled in an interception in two games in his whole career.
The NFL is steadily shifting more to towards the passing game each season and 2020 will be no exception. Griffin should not be without opportunities to reel in interceptions.
Confidence seems to be growing within the fourth-year corner and this coming season may finally be the one where he takes that next step in becoming one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL by picking off several passes.
Over/Under: 3.5 Pro Bowlers
Seattle has had three Pro Bowlers in each of the last two seasons. In 2017, they boasted seven. Will they exceed three for the first time in three years this upcoming season?
Certainly, Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner are virtually locks. Only two more need to emerge for this number to be exceeded.
At least one of the combo of Lockett and Metcalf should be in the running for a Pro Bowl season given their success in 2019, plus the fact that they are catching passes from one of the best quarterbacks in football.
Griffin looks primed for an encore performance entering a contract year. K.J. Wright was a Pro Bowler in 2016 and is coming off of a career year. Punter Michael Dickson was a Pro Bowler and All-Pro in his rookie season of 2018 before taking a slight step back last year.
If Dickson recaptures his rookie season wizardry punting the football, he could be the one that brings the Seahawks to four Pro Bowlers.
Perhaps a surprise player will emerge as well. Reed was snubbed of a bid in 2018 when he racked up 10.5 sacks as a defensive tackle. If he somehow repeats that performance, he likely will get a nod.
Olsen is no stranger to being named to the Pro Bowl, with three nods of his own. Carson is coming off of a 1,230-yard season and is establishing himself as an upper-class running back.
If the Seahawks stay relatively healthy, four Pro Bowlers seems very attainable.