Moore: Seahawks will be 11-5 again in 2020, but they’ll be better than last year
Last year, the Seahawks went 11-5 with a plus-7 point differential, suggesting they should have been 9-7 or 8-8, but they inflated their record by winning most of their close games.
This year, I see them going 11-5 again, but they will be better than last year’s team even if the record’s the same.
After coming within inches of winning the NFC West last year, I think they’ll win the division by the slightest of margins this year, but I’ve got them edging the Cardinals, not the 49ers.
Remember last season? The 49ers went from 4-12 in 2018 to 13-3, an improvement of nine games. This year, I see the Cardinals going from 5-10-1 in 2019 to 10-6. I’ve got the injury-plagued and Super Bowl hangover 49ers going 9-7. The Rams will be the best last-place team in the league at 8-8.
If the Seahawks played in a lesser division, they would go 13-3 or 12-4. But in the NFC West, the NFL’s toughest division, 11-5 will be an accomplishment. In looking at strength of schedule for NFL teams this year, every NFC West team is in the top 13 of toughest schedules. That’s largely because they have to play each other twice.
If a team goes 3-3 in NFC West matchups this year, it will be more than acceptable. If it goes 5-1 or 4-2, that’s outstanding. Let’s agree that 6-0 simply won’t happen, and if it does, 16-0 is a possibility.
Think about last year for a minute – the Seahawks went 11-5 in spite of a defense that allowed the most yards in franchise history. For the second year in a row, it allowed 4.9 yards per rush. We all remember the paltry 28 sacks. And on the other side of the ball, Russell Wilson was sacked 48 times.
The defense should be dramatically improved with the acquisitions of Jamal Adams and Quinton Dunbar. I expect them to go from 26th in total defense to ninth. An upgrade to somewhere in the teens was enough for Kansas City to win a Super Bowl last year. Seattle will make an even bigger jump, allowing for some anticipated offensive hiccups while the O-line incorporates three new starters.
If the Seahawks fall short of returning to the Super Bowl this year, we’ll chalk it up to the following reasons:
• Even though they were only 4-4 at home last year, the Seahawks typically use noise from the 12s to rattle opponents and fire up their defense. But they’ll have to do it with piped-in sound this year, so it just won’t be the same. Maybe this won’t be a factor. We’ll have to see how it plays out, but if I’m guessing – and I am – Pete Carroll’s team will suffer the most from not having fans at CenturyLink Field.
• The Saints, Vikings, Packers or Cowboys will finish with a 13-3 or 12-4 record and will be favored over the Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game.
• Carroll caves to the “Let Russ Cook” crowd, resulting in Russell Wilson having one of his worst seasons, throwing 15 interceptions because he’s putting the ball in the air more than ever before. This will at least have the long-term benefit of silencing “The Cooking People” as they slither back to their basements and hide in shame under their reams of advanced analytics printouts.
• The toll of being sacked nearly 50 times every year catches up to the usually durable Wilson, who suffers a season-ending injury for the first time in his career. (Note: Don’t tell me I’m jinxing him. Sports talk show guys don’t have that kind of power. The football gods think we’re full of it too. Besides, I’m wrong more often than I’m right, so if I think Wilson’s going to get hurt, based on my track record, it won’t happen. I just think as Wilson gets older and as John Schneider continues to piece-meal his O-line, those two things are going to intersect and disrupt Super Bowl hopes at some point.)
You heard it here first – and if you’ve already heard it somewhere else, you heard it here second, maybe even third, but mark my words, the Seahawks will win the NFC West with an 11-5 record, win a first-round playoff game but lose in the NFC Championship Game to the Cowboys.