The Seattle Seahawks’ season is about to begin, so it means it’s time for some non-predictions.
No, I may no longer be covering the Seattle Seahawks on a full-time basis, as the switch of my primary duties to community sports has kept me away from the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Being away from the daily hustle and bustle makes me less-than-ideally qualified to predict how the Seahawks will fare this season.
But we’re in luck! I don’t do predictions, I do non-predictions. Instead of predicting what will happen, I predict what won’t happen. That’s much better suited to a non-beat writer.
So with that in mind, here’s my third annual Seahawks non-predictions column:
— I predict Seahawks fans will not stop fretting about the offensive line. It’s been the primary source of consternation for fans since I began covering the team in 2015, and it will be again this year. Just look at the amount of angst expressed over the season-ending injury suffered by George Fant. George Fant! Not a veteran Pro Bowler, but a guy who was an undrafted rookie last year who played basketball in college. If fans are going to get worked up over the loss of a player with Fant’s meager credentials, they no doubt will find other reasons to fuss over the offensive line.
— I predict Earl Thomas will not have any lingering effects from his injury. Seattle’s star free safety suffered a season-ending broken tibia in his left leg during the Seahawks’ 40-7 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 4, an injury that left Thomas contemplating retirement on Twitter. However, Thomas looked like his old self during preseason games, moving like lightning and hitting like thunder. All indications are Thomas should be back to his All-Pro ways.
— I predict Russell Wilson will not miss a start. Seattle’s quarterback is entering his sixth season in the league and he’s been behind center for the Seahawks’ first snap of every single game over that time. This despite suffering two grisly-looking injuries early last season that would have left other quarterbacks on the treatment table for a month. Having seen Wilson play through those, I can’t comprehend what it would take to sideline him.
— I predict Jon Ryan will not take off running with the ball this season. Two seasons ago Seattle’s punter took off after a low snap in a playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings, got himself upended, fell flat on his face, and ended up with a broken nose. Last season Ryan raced 33 yards on a fake punt against the Los Angeles Rams, only to suffer a concussion when he bobbled the ball and was laid out by a hit at the end of the run. Surely he’s learned his lesson by now.
— I predict Michael Bennett will not remain alone in his national anthem protests. Seattle’s outspoken standout defensive end was the center of attention during the preseason for sitting during the playing of the national anthem, citing racial inequality in the country as the reason for his protest. So far Bennett has been the only member of the team to sit. But in light of Bennett’s recent run-in with the Las Vegas Police Department, I would not be surprised if some of his teammates decided to join Bennett in a show of support.
— I predict Seattle will not be denied another division title. The Seahawks won three of the previous four NFC West titles, including finishing a full three games out front last year. Given the strength of Seattle’s roster, combined with what’s expected to be a lack of resistance from the rest of the division — the Rams, Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers — make it hard to imagine anyone other than the Seahawks finishing on top.
— I predict the Seahawks will not make it to the Super Bowl. Many think they will. This week Seattle was installed by bettors as the co-favorite to win the NFC, tied at 8-1 with Sunday’s opponent the Green Bay Packers, and Seattle has a star-studded roster capable of making it to football’s biggest game. However, Seattle’s defense is aging, with the seven biggest names on defense all being at least 27 years old and having at least five seasons of wear and tear on their bodies. We saw last year how different Seattle’s defense was without Thomas. Yes, the late addition of defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson via trade will help. But if any of those stars (Thomas, Bennett, defensive end Cliff Avril, linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, cornerback Richard Sherman, strong safety Kam Chancellor) are lost, Seattle likely faces too steep a climb to reach the pinnacle.
— However, if the regenokine blood treatments many of Seattle’s key players underwent during the preseason end up doing the trick, I predict that last non-prediction will not be correct.
Wishy washy? Sure. But such is the case when dealing with someone who makes non-predictions.
Follow Nick Patterson on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.