The Seahawks head into the 2011 regular season with some questions, like every team. What makes this year one of the toughest to project, however, is the fact that for the first time in a decade, Matt Hasselbeck won’t be the starting QB. Tarvaris Jackson has been named the starter and though he has had some opportunities in Minnesota, we don’t really know what to expect from him and the other new acquisitions Pete Carroll and John Schneider have brought in.
I’m sure Zach Miller will be a huge help in the short to moderate passing game. He’s an above average run blocker as well. Sidney Rice is a bit of a wild card as he is coming off of an injury and has really only had one great season thus far. Robert Gallery is possibly the safest bet to contribute. The run game, with Marshawn Lynch leading the pack should be better than what it was last season. The defense has lost it’s leader, but I wrote in an earlier post that David Hawthorne should fill his shoes fairly well. Possibly one of the biggest concerns is the teams age. Currently the team is the second youngest in the league and they are bound to make some mental errors. Hopefully none of those errors end up costing the Seahawks a game.
Now, lets take a look at the Seahawks 2011 season schedule and what we should expect from each game.
Week 1 @ 49ers
Week one is always one of the more difficult weeks to project due to the fact that it’s the first actual game. Determining how ready a team actually is to compete is not really possible. That said, I think the Seahawks won’t really have a problem beating the 49ers on their field. Alex Smith is back as the starter and I’ll take Tarvaris Jackson and our offense against an Alex Smith led team any day. The defense will have to put a stop to Frank Gore but aside from that, Braylon Edwards shouldn’t really present a problem because of who is throwing him the ball.
Seahawks win 27-10 (1-0)
Week 2 @ Steelers
I hate to say it but the Steelers are one of those teams that can not practice for an entire offseason and still be ready to play with just a few weeks practice. Pittsburgh is tough, especially at home. Their defense will most likely take advantage of the cohesion issues the Seahawks offense is bound to experience. The Steelers lost three games at home last season, the teams that beat them? The Jets, Ravens and Patriots. Defensively it will be a battle and I see the Steelers winning it in the fourth quarter.
Seahawks lose 17-10 (1-1)
Week 3 vs. Cardinals
Kevin Kolb will be the deciding factor in this one. If he plays up to the standard that his contract suggests he should, then the Seahawks will have some trouble. Ultimately, Qwest Field….. er….. Century Link Field will be a huge advantage and I expect Kolb to not handle the noise very well. 2010 saw the Seahawks dominate defensively at home against their NFC West rivals. The Cardinals will also be without Adrian Wilson at safety (apparently he’ll try to play with his injury), or DRC, who was traded to the Eagles in the Kolb deal. This will open up the Seahawks for plenty of deep ball opportunities and I expect Sidney Rice to have a huge game in his home filed debut.
Seahawks win 32-20 (2-1)
Week 4 vs. Falcons
Matt Ryan has plenty of weapons there in Atlanta. Not only does he have the leagues best TE in Tony Gonzalez , who, despite his age hasn’t slowed down a bit. He also has Roddy White. White put up ridiculous numbers (1,389 10 TD) last season. Add to that Julio Jones, who the Falcons traded up to get. Don’t forget about Michael Turner (1,371 rushing yards 12 TD), one of the best running backs in the NFL. I just don’t think the Seahawks have the personnel on defense to be able to keep up with all of Atlanta’s stars.
Seahawks lose 28-21 (2-2)
Week 5 @ Giants
The Giants were a bit of a disappointment last season and they do still have some question marks. Tight end is an uncertainty after Kevin Boss signed with Oakland. Osi Umenyiora may not play in New York either so the defense may not be as intimidating as it once was. Eli Manning was one of only five QB’s to surpass 4,000 yards passing, although he did throw 25 passes that ended up in his opponents hands. If this game was played in Seattle I would give a slight edge to the Seahawks but with the Giants playing at home, I have to give the win to them in what should be a great football game.
Seahawks lose 25-22 (2-3)
Week 6 Bye
Much needed rest after the first 5 games of the season.
Week 7 @ Browns
2007 was the last time these two teams met in the regular season. The game went into OT and the Browns ended up winning 33-30. Derek Anderson exploded for 364 yards passing. Colt McCoy is now the QB and may not last long as the starter. Peyton Hillis will be the main focus of the Seahawks defense in this one. Other than that, Seattle should dominate on both sides of the ball. The Browns only have one CB that is over 6′ tall and that will be a huge problem. Joe Haden, the Browns best cornerback is 5′ 11” and may not be able to defend Seattle’s giant WR’s.
Seahawks win 42-17 (3-3)
Week 8 vs. Bengals
Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco, no, Johnson, hell I don’t know what his last name is anymore. Point is, neither one of them will be playing for the Bengals in this one. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green are two exciting rookies for Cincy but hype won’t help them. The Seahawks, like with their opponent the previous week will have to focus on stopping their running game with Cedric Benson. With Seattle’s bulked up D-line and solid line backers corps, that won’t be a problem. Pete Carroll may be planning more of a reunion than planning how to beat the Bengals on this trip. Bengals line backers Ray Maualuga and Keith Rivers both played for Carroll at USC.
Seahawks win 28-7 (4-3)
Week 9 @ Cowboys
Wade Phillips is no longer the head coach in Dallas. His replacement is the offensive “genius”, Jason Garrett. What does that mean for the Cowboys? Bob Ryan, brother of Jets head coach Rex Ryan better be a damn good defensive coach if he’s going to help the Cowboys turn things around. Last season the Cowboys ranked 26th in pass defense. After failing to sign the prized free agent in this offseason (Asomugha), they won’t be much improved. If the Seahawks offensive line, which includes two rookies that are likely to start (Carpenter and Moffit) can contain DeMarcus Ware, the offense will be able to put up points. Tony Romo will have his targets, namely Jason Witten. Miles Austin and Dez Bryant may be trouble for the Seahawks secondary as well. It’s not far fetched to say this is going to be an offense battle.
Seahawks win 35-32 (5-3)
Week 10 vs. Ravens
The Ravens are going to come into Century Link and they are going to quiet the crowd early. The defense is scary and the offense is getting better every year. Even though the Seahawks offense is expected to be somewhat potent, I don’t think this first season will produce the unity and cohesion necessary to defeat the elite defenses of the NFL just yet. The Ravens have a window that is closing on them when it comes to Ray Lewis and Ed Reed remaining top level defensive stoppers, but they do have the pieces to replace them and help the rebuild occur faster. Ray Rice and newly acquired Ricky Williams will be a solid duo and Anquan Boldin and Joe Flacco are completely capable of forming a passing game to complement the run game.
Seahawks lose 24-13 (5-4)
Week 11 @ Rams
The Rams and Seahawks will eventually turn into one of the best rivalries in the NFL. The Rams are a young team on the rise. Sam Bradford showed huge potential and is likely to develop into one of the premier QB’s in the league. The biggest need the Rams had was adding a target, they succeeded by adding Mike Sims-Walker. Walker has caught 7 TD’s in each of the last two seasons and if he can stay healthy for all 16 games, will get near 1,000 yard receiving. Steven Jackson has 6 straight seasons in which he has rushed for 1,000+ yards. The offense will put up points. The defense however will allow just as many, if not more. I’ll play this one conservatively and say that the Rams pull this one out at home, barely.
Seahawks lose 28-24 (5-5)
Week 12 vs. Redskins
The Redskins went 6-10 last season and had one of the worst defenses in the NFL. They traded their starting QB, Donovan McNabb to the Vikings and will turn to Rex Grossman to lead the team. The Redskins have also added Tim Hightower and still have Santana Moss at wide receiver. The offense will likely be mediocre at best. The team traded away what they thought was going to be a great piece on defense in Albert Haynsworth to the Patriots. Seattle should use and abuse the Redskins and come away with an easy win.
Seahawks win 35-20 (6-5)
Week 13 vs. Eagles
The Eagles are a great team and have so many weapons on offense and defense. Mike Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin on offense. Trent Cole, Cullen Jenkins, Asante Samuel, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha on defense. The Eagles are one of the few teams that can come into the Seahawks nest and win without losing a step. Unfortunately I see this as one of the guaranteed losses of the season for the Seahawks.
Seahawks lose 27-10 (6-6)
Week 14 vs Rams
The Seahawks will split the season series with each team winning at home. If either team actually takes both games, they would consider it a bonus. Last season the Rams came into Qwest in week 17 and the winner was guaranteed to advance to the playoffs. The Rams only managed 6 points and we know the rest.
Seahawks win 27-20 (7-6)
Week 15 @ Bears
Not sure why but the Seahawks travel to Chicago for the second season in a row to face the Bears at Soldier Field. Last seasons game turned out very well with the Seahawks pulling out a somewhat stunning victory 23-20. Mike Williams had a huge game with 10 rec for 123 yards while Justin Forsett had some very big runs gaining 67 yards on 10 carries and scoring a TD. With the Hawks improved offense, the Seahawks may pull off another big win in the Windy City. I’m going to say that things even out and the Bears pull out the victory at home this year.
Seahawks lose 21-17 (7-7)
Week 16 vs. 49ers
A rematch of week 1, but this time it’s at Century Link. I had the Seahawks scoring 27 in the first game of the season when there will be some issues in terms of playbook knowledge and cohesion. I full expect this to be a huge blowout with the Seahawks possibly approaching 40 points, barring any major injuries to the offensive stars. Alex Smith may not be the starter and the 49ers may actually be in contention for the 1st pick of the 2012 NFL Draft at this point.
Seahawks win 38-20 (8-7)
Week 17 @ Cardinals
I really do enjoy that the NFL has made the last two weeks of the regular season a mandatory divisional playoff game. Not only will it somewhat force teams with 10+ wins to play their starters and avoid “resting”, it will also make the divisional races such as last years, a hell of a lot more dramatic. Both the Cardinals and Rams could contend for the NFC West and it wouldn’t surprise me if the winner is decided in the final week of the regular season. I really wish this game was played in Seattle but with both teams fighting for a playoff spot I have to give it to the Cardinals at home.
Seahawks lose 21-20 (8-8)
2011 Seahawks PPG – 25.0 ( Would equal 7th best in 2010)
2011 Opponents PPG – 21.0 (Would equal 15th best in 2010)
Now of course, an 8-8 record could net a division title. 7-9 won it last year. The NFC West has changed so much from the end of last season. The Seahawks offense is completely different, in a good way. However, not knowing what to expect from Tarvaris Jackson is worrisome. The Cardinals could be much improved with Kevin Kolb at the helm and the Rams should also be better. The 49ers underperformed last season and a turn around isn’t totally out of the question for them.
What do you think of the projected Seahawks 2011 season? Leave your comment below.