Feb 032013
 

NFL AwardsSuddenly our picks for the post-season awards aren’t looking so far off of the mark.

The NFL announced it’s post-season award winners last night, and we have a recap of the award winners, along with the Gridiron Rats recipient.Um… yeah… we might have pretty well.

Here’s a summary of the award winners.

PetersonMOST VALUABLE PLAYER –  ADRIAN PETERSON, MINNESOTA VIKINGS

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – ADRIAN PETERSON, MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Adrian Peterson was elected the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, gaining 30.5 of the 50 votes cast by an Associated Press group of NFL writers. Coming off an ACL tear in December 2011, Peterson fell just nine yards short of the single-season rushing record, gaining 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns. Peterson also captured honors for offensive player of the year, capturing 36 of the 50 first place votes. Peterson is only the third player to win both the MVP and the player of the year honors in a single season, joining Alan Page and Fran Tarkenton.

For the MVP voting, Peyton Manning received 19.5 first place votes. For the Offensive Player of the Year, Peterson finished ahead of Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Calvin Johnson.

Gridiron Rats also gave both awards to Peterson.

JJ WattDEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – JJ WATT, HOUSTON TEXANS

JJ Watt won the Defensive Player of the Year award Saturday night, with a near unanimous 49 out of 50 first place votes (Von Miller got the lone dissenting vote). Watt had a monster season with 20.5 sacks and 16 pass deflections, to go along with 81 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and four forced fumbles. There is little question that “JJ Swatt” was the league’s most disruptive defensive player in 2012.

Not surprisingly, the Gridiron Rats award went to Watt as well. (That’s 3 for 3 if you’re keeping score at home)

Robert-Griffin-IIIOFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – ROBERT GRIFFIN III, WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Perhaps our most controversial pick, Griffin earned the AP’s recognition with an impressive rookie campaign as he helped transform the Washington Redskins into a playoff team for the first time since 2006. Griffin landed 29 of the 50 first place votes, followed by Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. Griffin finished the season with 3,200 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, only five interceptions, and he ran for another 815 yards and seven touchdowns.

We are now four for four, as the Gridiron Rats award went to Griffin as well.

Luke KuechlyDEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – LUKE KUECHLY, CAROLINA PANTHERS

Luke Kuechly picked up 28 of 50 first place votes to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. Kuechly tallied 164 tackles as a rookie, to go along with one sack, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries, and eight passes defensed. Kuechly received the NFC Defensive Rookie of the Month award in December, recording a league-high 59 tackles over the final five games of the season. Bobby Wagner of Seattle finished second with 11 first place votes, followed by Casey Heyward, Janoris Jenkins, and Lavonte David.

Kuechly also got the nod from Gridiron Rats, meaning we are five for five. Sensing a trend yet?

ManningCOMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR – PEYTON MANNING, DENVER BRONCOS

Anyone who thought Peyton Manning’s best days were behind him proved to be very wrong in 2012, as Manning returned from four neck surgeries and a missed 2011 campaign to lead the Broncos to a 13-3 record and first seed in the AFC playoffs. Manning threw for 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and finished with a passer rating of 105.8. Manning beat out Adrian Peterson for this award. Sadly for Manning, his brilliant regular season was once again tarnished by a post-season meltdown.

Not surprisingly, Manning also captured the Gridiron Rats award, placing us one award away from a perfect record. (Can you tell we are a little pleased with ourselves?)

Bruce AriansCOACH OF THE YEAR – BRUCE ARIANS, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

It’s quite a story when an offensive coordinator wins the Coach of the Year Award, but there is no coach more deserving of this award than Bruce Arians. Arians took over when Head Coach Cuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia, and he guided the team to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth just one year removed from finishing with the league’s worst record, allowing the Colts to draft Andrew Luck with the first pick in the NFL Draft. Chuck Pagano finished second in the voting, followed by Pete Carroll and Leslie Frasier.

Arian was our first award winner at Gridiron Rats, meaning we were a perfect seven for seven in foreshadowing the AP winners. Mind you, that wasn’t our goal; we were simply recognizing the players and coaches that we thought were most deserving of these honors. But apparently the AP voters felt much the same way about each award, and if we are to be criticized for our selections (and there is plenty of debate to be had for some of these awards), then at least we have the satisfaction of being supported by the “official” awards.

Jan 142013
 

Atlanta FalconsWe had one more great game on Sunday, as the Atlanta Falcons beat the Seattle Seahawks 30-28 after surging out to a 20-0 lead, then squandered the lead in the final minute, only to come back with a late field goal and emerge victorious. The later game was not nearly as dramatic, as the New England Patriots overpowered the Houston Texans 41-28 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score would indicate.

Atlanta Falcons 30 Seattle Seahawks 28
Pete Carroll’s attempts to freeze the kicker backfired as Matt Bryant’s first attempt was wide right, but then he connected on his second try as the Falcons came back in the game’s final seconds to beat the Seahawks.

The Atlanta Falcons wasted no time taking control of the game, racing out to an early 10-0 lead en route to a 20-0 halftime advantage. The Seahawks missed an opportunity to score at the end of the first half when Russell Wilson was sacked and the Seahawks, with no timeouts remaining, failed to get another play off. The teams then traded touchdowns in the third quarter before Seattle scored three straight touchdowns in twelve and a half minutes to take a 28-27 lead.

But starting on their own 28 yard line, the Falcons needed just two plays to cover 41 yards in 18 seconds, setting up Matt Bryant for the game winning 49 yard field goal. The ensuing kickoff was botched and the Seahawks recovered the ball at their own 46 yard line, but were unable to get in field goal range. A desperation pass by Wilson was intercepted in the end zone by Jacoby Jones to end the game.

Matt Ryan had a mixed day at quarterback, but was successful in getting the playoff monkey off of his back. Ryan was 24/35 for 250 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Michael Turner rushed for 98 yards as the Falcons were able to effectively pound the ball on the Seahawks, and Jacquizz Rodgers added 64 yards.

For the Seahawks, Wilson ended his rookie season with a 24/36 performance for 385 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, as well as 60 rushing yards on seven carries, including a touchdown. The Seahawks were never able to get Marshawn Lynch integrated into the game, and Lynch was limited to just 46 yards on 16 carries. Zach Miller had a big receiving day for the Seahawks, catching eight passes for 142 yards and a score, while Golden Tate added six catches for 103 yards and one touchdown.

Atlanta will host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship on Sunday.

New England Patriots 41 Houston Texans 28
Tom Brady threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns as the Patriots once again overwhelmed the Texans at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots lost Rob Gronkowski and Danny Woodhead to injuries, but didn’t miss a beat as Shane Vereen ran for once score and caught two more playing out of Woodhead’s spot. Stevan Ridley rushed for 82 yards on 15 carries, while Vereen added 41 yards. Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez teamed up for fourteen receptions for a combined 216 yards.

With the victory, Tom Brady became the winningest starting quarterback in NFL playoff history, passing Joe Montana with his 17th post-season win. Brady currently has a 17-6 post-season record.

Arian Foster led the Texans’ offense with 90 yards and a score on 22 carries, but Matt Schaub suffered through an inconsistent and inaccurate day as the Patriots’ secondary was once again up to the task of playing tight man to man coverage on the Texans’ receivers and tight ends. Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels caught eight and nine passes respectively for 95 and 81 yards, but were limited in yards after the catch and were unable to produce big plays. The most effective receiver was Foster himself, as he caught seven passes for 63 yards and a score.

Rob Ninkovich once again came up big for the Patriots on defense. The linebacker had four tackles, two passes defended, one quarterback hit, an interception, an onside kick recovery and a tackle for a loss. Aqib Talib and Steve Gregory both had active days with ten tackles each, and Devin McCourty had another solid day at safety and in special teams, where he prevented the game’s opening kickoff from being returned for a touchdown. Danieal Manning had a fantastic day returning kickoffs, averaging 54 yards on four returns, including the 90 yard return to open the game.

The Patriots, who held a 17-13 halftime advantage, scored the first 21 points of the second half to take a 38-13 lead. The Texans were able to add 15 points in the fourth quarter to close the gap, but the context was never seriously in doubt after Vereen scored his third touchdown with 13:07 remaining.

The Patriots will host the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday in the AFC Championship.

Jan 042013
 

Rat's Awards ImageToday we begin rolling out our first Gridiron Rats post-season awards, as determined by our contributing members. We are voting on the seven major awards given out by the NFL and by media entities. They include:

Most Valuable Player
Offensive Player of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Comeback Player of the Year
Head Coach of the Year

We will give these awards out two per day until Monday, when we will give out our Most Valuable Player Award. So without further introduction, let’s give out our first award (drum roll please…).

HEAD COACH OF THE YEAR

We had ten nominees for this award. In some cases we looked at head coaches who engineered big seasons after the team did poorly last season, while in other cases we considered coaches who either exceeded expectations or maintained a successful team despite all of the challenges of running a professional football team.

3rd Place – Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

Yes, the Patriots dropped from 14-2 last season to 12-4 this season, plagued by early season losses to Arizona, Seattle and Baltimore. But then the team went 9-1 over the final ten games of the season, including victories over the Colts and Texans while going 6-0 in the AFC East this season. Since 2001, the Patriots are the winningest team in the NFL by a fair margin, and despite annual predictions of the Patriots’ dominance over their division coming to an end, the Patriots just keep winning. This season they did so despite injuries to Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and a host of defensive players, while the defense improved steadily over the course of the season and is clearly better than last year’s group that finished one play away from a fourth Lombardi Trophy. Love him or hate him, Bill Belichick simply knows how to teach and motivate his players to win.

2nd Place – Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks

Bill Belichick’s predecessor in New England has made the Seahawks arguably the biggest surprise of the year, overshadowed perhaps only by the Indianapolis Colts. Russell Wilson has emerged out of nowhere to emerge as a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate. Carroll and Wilson not only led the Seahawks to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth, but registered wins over the Packers (thanks, replacement refs), Patriots, Vikings, Bears, and 49ers. In Weeks 14 and 15, Seattle outscored Arizona and Buffalo by a combined 108-17. The Seahawks feature the fourth best defense in the NFL, complemented by a brutal running attack led by Marshawn Lynch, in addition to the talents of Wilson. Say what you will about Carroll’s relaxed coaching style; he seems to know how to get the most out of his players.

Bruce AriansWINNER – Bruce Arians, Indianapolis Colts

Speaking of Indianapolis, we’re not sure that there is a better story in the 2012 season than that of the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts went 2-14 last season, and few people expected the Colts to win more than four or five games this season with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck. Even worse, Head Coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with a treatable form of leukemia in September, taking a leave of absence and turning the team over to Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians. All Arians did was lead the Colts to a 9-3 record during Pagano’s absence, and the Colts finished with an 11-5 record and the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs. Arians returned to his offensive coordinator role last week in the Colts’ win over the Houston Texans. No matter what happens to the Colts in the post-season, this year will be remembered not only for Pagano’s recovery and return to the sidelines, but for Arians’ managing of a team in emotional turmoil over the loss of their coach. Arians handled the situation with grace and humility, and is to be commended for leading the Colts to a remarkable turnaround.

Oct 092012
 

It will be a battle of the irresistible force versus the immovable object when the New England Patriots square off against the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday in Seattle.  The Patriots boast the top offense in the league in both yards per game and points, while the Seahawks offer up the league’s best defense in yards per game and second in points allowed per game.

The game will also feature the Patriots future Hall of Fame Head Coach Bill Belichick against the Patriots’ once upon a time coach of three seasons in the years that bridged the departure of Bill Parcells and the return of Belichick. Pete Carroll’s “rah rah” approach to coaching was a relative failure in New England, but Carroll seems to have honed his approach in the intervening years at USC and is inspiring a confident group of players in the 2012 Seahawks.

The Patriots rely on an opportunistic defense that surrenders yards but also forces turnovers, and the Patriots are tied for the league lead with a +10 turnover differential. The Seahawks use an active and energetic defense that also prides itself in forcing turnovers, but their offense is more charitable in giving the ball up, and the Seahawks are 17th in the league with a -1 turnover differential through the first five games.

On offense the Patriots are the class of the NFL, and this year are executing on the ground (3rd in NFL) as well as through the air (9th). The running back tandem of Stevan Ridley, Brandon Bolden, and Danny Woodhead (and occasionally Shane Vereen) have gashed opposing defenses for big yards over the past two weeks, and I would expect the Patriots to adopt a slower paced game this Sunday in order to try to take the air out of an aggressive Seattle defense, as well as to take the air out of the 12th Man, the rowdy Seattle crowd that offers the Seahawks a discernable home field advantage eight times a year. Expect the Patriots to look to run off the right side, taking advantage of Seattle’s weaker defensive players. Chris Clemons, Brandon Mebane, KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner patrol the middle and defensive right side for the Seahawks, and are the bulk of the unit’s production in sacks and forced fumbles. As always, the Patriots will complement the runs with short passes to Gronkowski, Welker, and Hernandez (who is looking ready to play this week), and they have the capability to stretch the field with Brandon Lloyd.

The Patriots will seek to keep the Seattle defensive unit off balance, but will likely do it through play selection, rather than with the hurry-up offense that we have seen over the past two games. Seattle only runs three basic defensive sets; this negates the advantage that the Patriots get from defensive mis-matches, but gives Brady the opportunity to pick apart those packages over the course of four quarters. The two starting corners for the Seahawks are dangerous (Browner and Sherman) but the safeties can be exploited by the Patriots’ offense and their play-action mechanics. Marcus Trufant will be given the tall order of defending against Welker. Kam Chancellor has the frame (6’3″, 232) to try and cover Gronkowski, but Gronk appears to have a decided advantage in both size and athleticism. As long as the Patriots hold on to the ball, they should be able to affect long scoring drives and wear the Seattle defense down. The Patriots are fourth in the league in converting third down opportunities, while the Seahawks rank 19th in giving up third down conversions. I expect the Patriots to look to create third and short opportunities all day to exploit with their cast of running backs.

On the other side, the offense centers around Marshawn Lynch, who has rushed for 508 yards (4.5 ypc) and two touchdowns, and the Seahawks are 7th in the league in rushing. That leaves rookie quarterback Russell Wilson the role of being an effective game manager, a role he has so far excelled in despite his 5 TD/6 INT ratio and overall lackluster 75.2 quarterback rating. The Seahawks will try to pound Lynch early and often on the Patriots, who rank eighth against the run. The Patriots know how to take away the strength of the opponent, and I would expect Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones to work hard to contain the edge in order to force Lynch back into the arms of Wilfork, Love, Mayo, and Spikes. Where the Seahawks would normally like to utilize the run to set up opportunities to go downfield to Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, and Zach Miller, they may need to do just the opposite against the Patriots to free up running room for Lynch. And it is Bill Belichick’s goal to put the game into the hands of Russell Wilson, knowing that he will be able to bring pressure to bear on the rookie quarterback and be able to confuse his reads and force key turnovers.

Three Keys for the Patriots:

1. Control the ball

Even though Russell Wilson does not strike fear into the Patriots’ faithful, it’s still best to keep the opposing quarterback (and more importantly Marshawn Lynch) off of the field whenever possible. The Patriots will seek to duplicate the success they have had in directed 10+ play drives that consume five or six minutes off of the clock; the key is to duplicate this success in one of the more hostile road environments in the NFL. Balance is the new keyword in the Patriots’ offense, and I expect the Patriots to utilize situational runs, mostly to the right, to create short yardage situations as well as to keep the Seahawks honest.

2. Protect Brady

Hey, at least it dropped to #2 this week… But it remains true. The Seahawks can get after the passer. Chris Clemons is a beast, and Mebane and Wright are no slouches. Nate Solder and Logan Mankins will need to be on their game, and might even need running back or tight end help to keep Brady standing in the pocket. The Patriots are generally effective at protecting their franchise player, but suffered a lapse in the second half against the Broncos, with Sebastian Vollmer getting beat soundly on a couple of occasions. The Seahawks made target practice out of Aaron Rodgers a couple of weeks ago, but the Packers made good adjustments in the second half. Look for the Patriots to come up with some creative protection options out of the gate.

3. Make Russell Wilson win the game

The Patriots’ defense will be primarily focused on slowing down or shutting down Marshawn Lynch. Forcing Wilson to pass is inviting him to make mistakes against a defense that will be disguising its coverages in an attempt to create confusion. Devin McCourty is still struggling with technique, but his coverage skills are sufficient, and Kyle Arrington is a physical corner who can make big plays. The introduction of Alfonzo Dennard into the mix last week against the Broncos could be a sign of things to come, as Dennard was very effective in limited play. he could soon become a regular part of the rotation. More importantly, the Patriots have improved dramatically in bringing pressure to bear on the quarterback. While the Saints have generally been stubborn about giving up sacks (10 so far), it’s more about affecting the throw, forcing bad decisions, and providing opportunities for deflections and other big plays. Wilson is an effective scrambler, but doesn’t make his living running the ball downfield.

Three Keys for the Seahawks:

1. Run the ball

This is always Seattle’s key to offensive success, but it will be even more important against a team that has excelled in stopping the run. Lynch must be successful (more than 100 yards) for the Seahawks to have a realistic chance to win the game. Creating holes against a solid front seven is a tough challenge awaiting the Seahawks.

2. Stop Gronk, Hernandez, and Welker

Hernandez may or may not be ready to play on Sunday, but Gronk will be, despite the fact that is playing through heavy pain. Gronk looked healthy enough against the Broncos, but it was Welker who stole the show with 13 receptions. Pass rush really isn’t the answer to this particular riddle, as Brady doesn’t need much time in order to connect on short routes. Instead, the pressure is on the Seahawks’ secondary to step up and press the Patriots’ receiver, trying to alter them from their routes and otherwise give them little room to work in. The Seahawks are 5th against the pass at 192 yards per game, so it is entirely conceivable that they could make the Patriots work for every catch that they get. The trouble is, 192 passing yards is more than enough for Brady if the Patriots are also rushing effectively. Match-ups are key, and you can expect the Patriots to create mismatches all days against a talented but inexperienced group of linebackers. The Seahawks’ defense will have its hands full on Sunday.

3. Create big plays

The Seahawks are at home, where they historically thrive; they are clearly a better home team than road team. If statistics are not to decide this game, it will be because their opportunistic defense forces the Patriots to turn the ball over three or more times, while their offense cannot return the favor. If this happens, the Seahawks will get to control the tempo of the game, force the Patriots to deviate from their game plan, and make a Seahawks upset much more likely. On offense, occasional shots down the field to Rice or Tate may net big yards and/or penalties, as McCourty is having difficulty getting beat deep. One or two of those plays could have a dramatic impact on the outcome.

Prediction:

Because this game is in Seattle, I will expect that the Patriots’ offense may be thrown off its rhythm from time to time, and will even expect one big turnover the will lead to Seattle points. But it is simply hard for me to imagine the Seahawks being able to be able to run for big yards against the Patriots, and they don’t seem to have the weapons to compete through the air, where the Seahawks rank 31st in the league. Conversely, the Seahawks defense may be able to slow the Patriots’ attack, but not stop it. The Patriots have too many weapons to contend with, know how to effectively attack an opponent’s weakness, and have players they can exploit on the defensive side.

The game will likely unfold slowly, with both teams seeking to gain the advantage on field position, but I don’t think it will be long before the Patriots are able to establish some momentum and take the lead by halftime. I envision the third quarter being more of what we saw against the Broncos last week, with the Patriots sustaining long drives for scores, forcing the Seahawks to spend the fourth quarter trying to come back through the air. But Russell Wilson isn’t Peyton Manning, and the Patriots’ offense is far deadlier than anything the Seahawks have seen to date this season. Patriots 27 Seahawks 17.

Jun 052012
 

Last week Jim Harbaugh made some comments in regard to the courtship, or evaluation, or whatever you want to call it, of Peyton Manning by his San Francisco 49ers. The comments that Harbaugh made struck me as very un-Harbaugh like. I am as big of a fan of Jim Harbaugh’s coaching as anybody. Harbaugh and his team(s) are, and will continue to be, a force in the NFL. Maybe not in 2012, though?

Harbaugh’s recent comments to me signal that for Harbaugh and his Niners the 2011 season was quite possibly too much, too soon? I do expect the Niners to be formidable this season. However, they are not going to be formidable enough to win the NFC West. This distinction will go to the Seattle Seahawks.

Ironically, I expect the 2012 Seahawks’ season to progress very similarly to that of the 2011 Niners. The Seahawks, like the Niners did in ’11, will secure home field advantage, and this is significant when we are talking CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks playoff opponents will succumb to the CenturyLink environment, and the Seahawks and its fan base will ultimately find themselves celebrating on Bourbon Street in early February 2013.

Pete Carroll’s teams have shown flashes of brilliance in both the 2010 and 2011 seasons. However, the teams have also been inconsistent at times. I expect Carroll’s team to put it all together in 2012. The catalyst for this transformation will be Matt Flynn.

Matt Flynn, in my opinion, has the potential to become one of the top quarterbacks in the League, and I expect him to thrive in Darrell Bevell’s offense. I will go so far as to say that the Seahawk offense will resemble the offense that you saw from the 2009 Minnesota Vikings. I am not trying to compare Matt Flynn to Brett Favre. However, my point is that like he had with the ’09 Vikings, Bevell will have a more than capable quarterback to lead his offense.

Similarly, although Bevell will not have Adrian Peterson in the backfield, and Flynn will not have targets such as Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe, Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawk receiving corps will serve as an adequate supporting cast for budding superstar Matt Flynn. In fact, I like the consistent and balanced attack that receivers Ben Obamanu, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin will provide, in addition to tight ends Zach Miller and Kellen Winslow. Consequently, I will maintain that it is not far-fetched to compare the personnel at the skill positions that Bevell had to work with in 2009 to what he has today in Seattle. I am not as keen on the offensive line, but under the tutelage of Tom Cable I expect the unit to improve consistently as the year progresses.

The Seahawks defense is, in my opinion, capable, but it is not going to be recognized as one of the top defenses in the NFC. Be that as it may, we are still talking about a Pete Carroll coached team. Consequently, I do not see this Seahawks defensive unit being a liability to the overall success of the team. Further, I am one of those in the minority who liked the First Round pick of Bruce Irvin to the extent that I can see Irvin being an immediate factor. I expect Irvin to provide with his speed and athleticism some much needed pass rush for the nickel defense this fall. Irvin will be a difference maker as early as this season.

Irrespective of my opinions, I recognize there are many out there who on paper do not, and will not, recognize the Seattle Seahawks as a legitimate threat to win the Halas and Lombardi trophies. How many of you foresaw at this point last year the San Francisco 49ers as coming up a few plays short of winning those trophies? I raise this point because I see this year’s Seahawk team as being in a similar position to last year’s 49er team. The Seahawks have the advantage of being the “hunter” this season and the schedule sets up well for them in this regard.

The Seahawks open the season with a road game against divisional foe Arizona. A win in Glendale to start the season would be monumental for this team, especially given that Dallas and Green Bay come into CenturyLink on consecutive weeks including a big Monday night showdown against the Packers. If the Seahawks can pick up that crucial win in Glendale, do not be surprised if Seattle finishes the month of September with a 4-0 record given that the Seahawks wrap up the month on the road in St. Louis.

A 4-0 start is just what this team may need given that the October schedule is treacherous with Carolina on the road, New England at home, followed by road games against San Francisco and Detroit. Achieving a .500 record for the month of October would be a major accomplishment. Fortunately, the schedule in November and December is much more favorable. The Seahawks travel to Chicago in early December, a venue they have fared reasonably well as of late. Other non-divisional foes in November and December are home games against the Vikings and Jets, and road games at Miami and Buffalo.

The key for this team will be wins in the NFC West. I think it is realistic for this Seattle team to sweep the Rams and Cardinals, and split with the 49ers. If the Seahawks can accomplish these tasks within the division it will not be out of the realm of possibilities for this team to win 12 or 13 games in the regular season. That number of wins will go a long way toward securing the home field for a portion or all of the Playoffs, and we all know that CenturyLink is one of the toughest places to play in the NFL.

I have had a good feeling about this Seattle Seahawk team since their acquisition of Matt Flynn. Harbaugh’s comments last week led me to further conclude that San Francisco is not going to be the same team it was last year, and this is all the better for the 2012 Seahawks. Pete Carroll, Matt Flynn, and a 49er decline could mean some good things will be coming out of Seattle this fall. It seems like there is always a team that rises up out of nowhere every year exceeding all expectations. The Seattle Seahawks will be that team in 2012.

May 222012
 

 

Seattle Seahawks

Head Coach: Pete Carroll

Projected Starting Quarterback: Matt Flynn

2011 Record:  7 wins, 9 losses (3rd in NFC West)

No postseason appearance

28th in Total Offense, 9th in Total Defense

2002-2011 10 year record: 81 wins, 79 losses (15th in NFL)

5 win, 6 losses in postseason

0-1 in Super Bowl appearances

0-1 All-time in Super Bowl