The Seattle Seahawks have made the playoffs during every year of the Russell Wilson era. They’ve been to two Super Bowls, winning their first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history in 2013. They should’ve won a second championship, but decided to pass on that opportunity. Since then, Seattle hasn’t been able to make it back to the big game. They’ve been hampered by injuries, inconsistent play, and an offensive line that resembles a pee wee football team in talent. But they still have enough talent in key positions to compete for a championship. Here are five factors that could contribute to the Seahawks winning another Super Bowl.
A Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Victory is Possible
1. Key players stay healthy
Every Super Bowl team needs to get lucky. Injuries can derail any Super Bowl run, no matter how talented the team may be. The Seahawks are one of the most talented teams in the NFL. They had the most players selected on NFL Network’s Top 100 players of 2017, which reveals the top 100 players in the NFL selected by NFL players.
Russell Wilson didn’t miss a game last year, but he struggled at times with nagging injuries. Earl Thomas suffered his first serious injury of his career. Kam Chancellor gets injured every year because of his physical play style. The Seahawks have Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, and C.J. Prosise looking to take the lead running back role, but all three suffered injuries last season. If the Seahawks are able to avoid major injuries to star players during key moments of the season, they should be one of the favorites in the NFC to make a Super Bowl run.
2. Offensive line improves
The Seahawks offensive line is terrible. Tom Cable may be a great offensive line coach, but he’s no wizard. Pro Football Focus ranks the Seahawks offensive line as the 32nd best in the NFL. Unfortunately for Seattle, there are 32 teams in the NFL. Anyone who has watched the Seahawks during the last three seasons has noticed the weak link is their offensive line. They weren’t able to help Rawls and Prosise run the ball effectively or consistently last year. As bad as they were at run blocking, they were ten times worse in pass protection. It’s a miracle that Russell Wilson is even alive, let alone still playing football.
The Seahawks decided to start an undrafted free agent basketball player as their starting left tackle, which is arguably the second most important position in the NFL. For some reason, not only are the Seahawks not shocked that it backfired, but they are unable to admit that it backfired. They signed former number two overall pick Luke Joeckel in free agency to be their left tackle or left guard. He’s played like a number two his entire career, not like a second overall pick. 2016 first round pick Germain Ifedi struggled at right guard last season, but is moving to his more natural position as a right tackle. If Tom Cable miraculously turns into a wizard and fixes this pitiful offensive line, the Seahawks will probably win the Super Bowl.
3. Russell Wilson has a bounce back year
Wilson struggled at times in 2016. A lot of his struggles can be attributed to his offensive line, but he has room for improvement too. The Seahawks have struggled integrating talented weapons into their offense. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell deserves criticism for his unimaginative offense, but Wilson needs to do a better job of executing. Both Percy Harvin and Jimmy Graham had their issues integrating into the Seahawks offense, and a lot of that can be pinned on Wilson. His historic close to the 2015 season didn’t carry over into 2016. Wilson got banged up in week one, which should give him a bit of a pass.
On tape, Wilson shows the ability to throw receivers open with anticipation. But unlike the elite quarterbacks in the NFL, Wilson doesn’t consistently see open receivers. This could be due to his miniature stature compared to other quarterbacks, but that’s not something that he can change. Jimmy Graham is a freak. He’s a great athlete and is extremely tall. Drew Brees did a great job of throwing jump balls to Graham and letting him make plays. Wilson seems to be afraid to throw the ball to receivers that aren’t wide open. He needs to ignore his Alex Smith tendencies and throw risky passes to Graham. More often than not, Graham will come down with the ball. If Wilson can stay healthy and trust Graham to win jump balls, the Seahawks will be a threat to all NFC playoff teams.
4. Seahawks have greater defensive depth
The Seahawks have one of the best defenses in the NFL. They didn’t lead the NFL in scoring defense last year for the first time since 2011. Their defense was still elite and could’ve led the league if Thomas didn’t suffer a season ending injury, but there were signs all season that they aren’t as deep as they’ve been in years past. Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright both made the Pro Bowl last year, but they were overplayed. The Seahawks didn’t have enough linebacker depth to give them a rest. The Legion of Boom doesn’t have a backup safety or second corner that scares teams.
Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, and Kam Chancellor have always been the most important members of the LOB, but they used to have depth behind them that could give them a breather. The Seahawks drafted multiple defensive backs in this year’s draft. This draft was deemed as a deep draft for secondary players, which likely pushed many talented corners and safeties down the board. It seemed like a wise decision to draft secondary players this year, but it’s too early to make a determination about the outcome of Seattle’s draft. If the Seahawks backup defenders can give their starters more rest during the regular season, Seattle’s star defenders will be more rested and effective during the playoffs.
5. Running game gets going
During the early years of the Russell Wilson era, the Seahawks were led by their defense and running game. The Seahawks had Marshawn Lynch in his prime, so they made a smart decision to rely on his skills (until the end of Super Bowl XLIX). After losing Lynch to an injury in 2015, undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls stepped in and dominated. He led the NFL in yards per carry before suffering a season ending injury. Rawls returned last season as the starter, but dealt with injuries and an inconsistent offensive line. The Seahawks added Eddie Lacy as a free agent. Lacy started his career with two consecutive 1,000 yard seasons before falling out of favor in Green Bay due to injuries and weight issues.
Lacy and Rawls are a similar type of running back. They use their physicality and bruising style to wear down defenses. This running style is similar to Lynch, but neither is quite as talented as the former Seahawk. Prosise was effective in limited time as a rookie. He’s a talented runner that will play on third downs as a receiving back. He’s equally effective as a runner and receiver, which could make him a three down back if Lacy and Rawls get injured again. If the Seahawks want to return to the Super Bowl, they’ll need their three-headed monster at running back to help lead the way.