COVID-19 may have ground many aspects of the sports world to a halt, but there’s one thing it can’t stop. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor coronavirus pandemic stays this writer from making Seahawks non-predictions.
That’s right, welcome to my sixth annual Seahawks non-predictions column! To recap, I am awful at making predictions. Have a presidential candidate you want to win the election in November? Then ask me to predict victory for the other one.
Therefore, instead of predicting what will happen, I predict what won’t happen, as I figure that gives me a better shot at being right.
So here we go:
— The Seahawks will not draw as many false-start penalties this year as they have in the past. The fans at CenturyLink Field are renown for making so much noise that they play havoc with the opposition’s snap counts, thus creating a regular stream of false-start penalties. But crowds are prohibited from attending games at CenturyLink for at least three home dates and maybe more, and piped-in crowd noise just isn’t the same as the real thing. However …
— … That will not have a negative impact on Seattle’s chances this season. The home crowd is often cited as a reason why Seattle has one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL: From 2012-16 the Seahawks were 34-6 at home versus 22-17-1 on the road. But last year Seattle was just 4-4 at home, and over the past three seasons Seattle actually has a better record on the road (16-8) than at home (14-10). So the absence of the 12s isn’t as big a deal as it may seem.
— Quarterback Russell Wilson will not be starting a hydroplane racing team. That’s not what his new nickname, “Mr. Unlimited,” means. However …
— … Wilson will not be shut out of MVP voting this season. Somehow, despite eight years of stellar play, despite ranking second among NFL quarterbacks all-time in career passer rating, despite annually leading the Seahawks to the playoffs and being a Super Bowl winner, and despite last season having a 31-5 touchdown-interception ratio while being sacked a league-high 48 times, he’s never received a single MVP vote. At least last season he was finally part of the conversation, though Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson ended up being a unanimous selection. Wilson won’t win the award this year, either, because that’s just how the voters have decided to be. But it doesn’t mean he won’t have deserved it.
— Jamal Adams will not be the reincarnation of Kam Chancellor or Earl Thomas. But he’ll provide Seattle the best safety play its had since Chancellor and Thomas were in their heydays together.The Legion of Boom was unique, and although Adams, an offseason trade acquisition from the New York Jets, was a 2019 first-team All-Pro selection, it won’t be the same. That doesn’t mean it won’t be good for the Seahawks, and Adams will actually provide something neither Chancellor nor Thomas could offer in his ability as a pass rusher — Adams had 6.5 sacks last season, which is more than Chancellor and Thomas have in their careers combined. That will be crucial for a Seattle team that finished second-to-last in the league with just 28 sacks last season. However …
— … Adams will not be the solution to the Seahawks’ pass-rush problems. The lack of a pass rush was Seattle’s Achilles heel last year, then the Seahawks lost their most-disruptive pass rusher when defensive end Jadeveon Clowney finally brought his decision-making saga to an end and signed with the Tennessee Titans last Sunday. Seattle tried to address the position by signing former Seahawks Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa as free agents and drafting Darrell Taylor in the second round. But Irvin and Mayowa have been in the league long enough to know they aren’t the same kind of impact players as Clowney, and Taylor remains on injured reserve as he continues to work his way back from a stress fracture in his leg. Seattle needs fifth-round pick Alton Robinson to be even better than the hype around him during camp for the Seahawks’ pass rush to take a significant step forward.
— The Seahawks will not have to play second fiddle to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West again this year. Yes, the 49ers played in the Super Bowl last season, and yes Seattle finished two games behind San Francisco. However, the Seahawks were literally inches away from beating the 49ers in their season finale, thus creating a two-game swing in the standings and giving Seattle the division title and a playoff bye. And if there’s a player in the NFL capable of dragging his team those few extra inches, it’s Wilson. However …
— … The Seahawks will not reach the Super Bowl. The pass rush issue is just too big to overcome. When including the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory in the 2013 season, just two of the past 14 Super Bowl participants were in the bottom half in the league in sacks: Seattle in 2014 and New England in 2018. A competent pass rush seems to be a requirement to compete for a NFL title these days, and there’s scant evidence the Seahawks have that.
Anyway, there’s everything that won’t happen for the Seahawks in 2020. And if any of that proves to be incorrect, distancing requirements mean you’ll have to let me know about it from at least six feet away.
Follow Nick Patterson on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.