Tonight the Dallas Cowboys will travel to New York to take on the defending super bowl champion Giants to kickoff the 2012 NFL season. Every NFL fan has high hopes for their team this season and its finally time to see if their teams offseason paid dividends. There is certainly quite the buzz surrounding the St. Louis Rams following an incredibly busy offseason where big hires, trades and free agent acquisitions have the Rams at the very least in reconfiguration mode if not rebuilding mode. While there is plenty to be excited about for Rams fans the reality is that this team probably isn’t going to be competing for a playoff spot this season.
Here in the inland northwest Seahawks fans are definitely thinking playoffs following back to back 7-9 seasons under Pete Carroll and what appears to be an upgrade at the quarterback position. The Seahawks had a solid defense last season that ranked them in the top 10 in both yards and points per game. The Seahawks also added a few players to their already stout defense, most notably beating out the Rams for the services of defensive tackle Jason Jones. The Seahawks can also rely heavily on a strong rushing attack while their rookie quarterback adjusts to life in the NFL. While I personally believe Marshawn Lynch is one of the more overrated players in the NFL he certainly is adequate as a power back. The Seahawks also drafted a little insurance policy in the fourth round out of Utah State, a 5’10″ 222 lb power back out of Utah State Robert Turbin. Given Lynch’s string of off the field issues, drafting another power back was a very smart move by the Seattle Seahawks. It is only a matter of time before Lynch finds himself serving suspensions for his off the field antics. Even when Lynch isn’t jeopardizing his playing time by his decision making off the field, he has had back spasms that have kept him out of games this preseason as well as a regular season game in 2011. While I don’t believe the Seahawks are going to want to rely on a rookie as a long term replacement he should be able to fill in for Lynch a game here or a game there without the Seahawks needing to adjust their gameplan.
So Seahawks fans are dreaming big after watching Russell Wilson’s spectacular preseason performances, but what is a realistic record for the Seattle Seahawks this season? The Seahawks do get the benefit of facing some of their toughest non division opponents at home, but still I see this as a 7-9 or 8-8 team this season barring any injuries and if Russell Wilson can play well enough not to cost them any games. Wilson will probably not be put into a position to win them any games during his rookie season and I don’t think it would be smart of the Seahawks to expect that from him. A lot of the experts are saying that the Seahawks will push the 49ers for the NFC West title this year, but I really don’t see them as being ready to challenge them just yet, not with their receivers and a rookie quarterback.