After five straight playoff appearances, the Seahawks took a step backward last season, going 9-7, and it might get even worse this season. The defense got worse when the team released CBs Richard Sherman and Jeremy Lane and DE Cliff Avril, and later traded DE Michael Bennett to the Eagles. On offense, TE Jimmy Graham and WR Paul Richardson left in free agency, signing contracts with the Packers and Redskins, respectively. Their biggest addition on offense was selecting RB Rashaad Penny in the first round of the draft. They also signed WRs Jaron Brown and Brandon Marshall and changed backup quarterbacks, trading a draft pick to the Packers for QB Brett Hundley.
The Seahawks were 15th in the NFL with 5,286 yards and 11th with 366 points last season. QB Russell Wilson threw for 3,983 yards and 34 touchdowns — which tied his career high — with 11 interceptions; he also ran for team-highs with 586 yards and three touchdowns. WR Doug Baldwin had 75 receptions for 991 yards and eight touchdowns. WR Tyler Lockett caught 45 catches for 555 yards and two touchdowns. Brown had 31 catches for 477 yards and four touchdowns with the Cardinals, and Marshall had 18 receptions for 154 yards in five games with the Giants. Rookie RB Chris Carson had 49 carries last season for 208 yards. The defense was in the top half of the league in both yards and points allowed.
The Seahawks begin on the road for Weeks 1 and 2, playing the Broncos and Bears, respectively. The Cowboys come to Seattle for Week 3, then the Seahawks hit the road again to take on the Cardinals. They host the Rams in Week 5, then head overseas to take on the Raiders as the visiting team in London in Week 6. After a Week 7 bye, the Seahawks visit the Lions, then host the Chargers in Week 9. The Seahawks visit the Rams in Week 10 and host the Packers in Week 11. After a Week 12 road game against the Panthers, the Seahawks return home for games against the 49ers and the Vikings. The Seahawks then visit the 49ers in Week 15, and they finish the season with consecutive home games against the Chiefs and Cardinals.
The Seahawks are set for significant regression this season, especially on the defensive side of the ball with Sherman, Lane, Avril and Bennett all gone entering this season. Graham is also a significant loss on offense, leaving third-year TE Nick Vannett, who has 15 career receptions in his first two seasons, as the No. 1 tight end on the depth chart; they also used their fourth-round draft pick on TE Will Dissly. Brown could be a decent addition in the receiving corps, but Marshall is entering his 13th season in the league and, at 34 years old, is past his prime and shouldn’t be expected to be a big part of the offense. Baldwin and Lockett will be big parts of the offense. One part of the team that should be improved this season is the running game, which was virtually nonexistent last season. Carson will begin the season as the starter but Penny will get his share of playing time, especially has it gets deeper into the season. Overall, though, the team isn’t going to be good this season and may not win more than six or seven games.
And that concludes this year’s look at all 32 NFL teams. Tomorrow, we’ll have a preview of the Falcons-Eagles season opener, with our Week 1 picks and season and playoff predictions coming up this the weekend.