The Seahawks are having an historic season so far. Their offense is historically good. Their defense is historically bad. The Seattle Seahawks odds for winning the Super Bowl are as low as -1100, good for fifth best in the league. But questions abound: Is it realistic for a team averaging over 30 points per game, which has not allowed fewer than 23 points in any game, to be a realistic contender? Is there any reason to think their beleaguered defense can improve over the second half of the season? And can Russell Wilson, who is on pace to break Peyton Manning’s all-time record for TD passes keep up his historic pace?
Can Russ cook the books?
Let’s start with Wilson. Peyton Manning set the all-time record for touchdown passes in a season when he threw 55 for the Denver Broncos in 2013. Halfway through the season, Wilson has 28 touchdowns in 8 games, good for a pace of 56 TD passes. Throwing 3.5 TD passes a week is remarkable, but is it sustainable? The only team to hold Wilson under 3 TD in a game was the Miami Dolphins, arguably the best defense Seattle has faced so far this season.
Wilson’s issue might be that he faces the excellent Rams defense twice, including this week. Additionally, the Jets, Giants and Washington games may not be close enough for Wilson to pad his stats. We’ll say here that Russ ends with a cool 50 touchdown passes- an amazing mark, but short of the record.
Let’s do game-by-game predictions the rest of the way to calculate the odds of Seattle winning the NFC West and figure out if they are indeed a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Week 10: @ LA Rams
As we said, this will be the toughest test of the season for Seattle’s offense. Only the Ravens (142 points allowed) have a stingier defense than the Rams (152 points allowed). Seattle’s offensive line has greatly improved from the past few years, but Aaron Donald, arguably the most dominant defensive tackle in NFL history, leads a stout Rams defensive front that should have Wilson running out of the pocket all afternoon. The Seahawks defense will also be looking for some serious improvement after being run out of the building by Josh Allen, who threw for 415 yards while putting up 44 points.
Prediction: Rams 31-28
Week 11: vs. Arizona (Thursday Night Football)
This must be the toughest week of football any team will face this season: two games against playoff-caliber divisional foes in five days. If this week goes well, the road to the NFC West will go through Seattle. If it goes poorly, the Seahawks will be looking behind their shoulder at teams like the Bears for the final playoff spot, and we could be asking questions like “has a team ever given up 130 points in 11 days before?”
Prediction: Seahawks 35-27
Week 12: @Philadelphia (Monday Night Football)
Seattle is currently 6-2 and in an absolute battle for their division title. The Eagles are 3-4-1 and might cruise to the NFC East crown with a losing record. The Eagles defense is a level above Seattle’s D, but Carson Wentz is on the opposite trajectory of Russell Wilson, somehow getting worse by the week. Whereas Wilson has thrown twenty more touchdowns than interceptions this season, Wentz’s ratio is dead-even; he has thrown 12 TD and a ludicrous 12 interceptions in 8 games. This game also functions as a mini-bye for Seattle, as they will have eleven days to prepare the Eagles after the short week against Arizona.
Prediction: Seahawks 41-28
Week 13: vs. NY Giants
This is where the schedule really opens up for the Seahawks. The Seahawks can sit back at home and rout the inept New York teams in consecutive weeks. For what it’s worth, the Giants are the far superior team, having recently given the NFC contending Bucs a run for their money on Monday Night Football. This could be a week where the Seahawks aren’t forced to pass as much, particularly in the second half, which could throw a damper on Wilson’s TD record chase.
Prediction: Seahawks 34-17
Week 14: vs. NY Jets
If Seattle can’t win this game, they may as well cancel their postseason plans. The Jets could very well head to Seattle with an 0-12 record, at which point Seattle might be a 18 or 19 point favorite in this game. In addition to the present, history is not on the Jets side either, their last win in Seattle was way back in Week 1 of 1997, in Bill Parcells debut as Jets head coach. Fun fact: Russell Wilson has four games this season with at least four touchdowns, while Jets QB Sam Darnold is still sitting on three TD passes for the entire season.
Prediction: Seahawks 45-13
Week 15: @Washington
The Washington Football Team is not as bad as you might think, but the Seahawks are just a much higher caliber of football team. Plus, who knows who will be playing quarterback in this game for a Washington team just playing out the stretch? Could it be Alex Smith? Dwayne Haskins? This is the type of game where, if Seattle fancies itself as a serious playoff contender, they need to beat Washington easily. Great teams should blow out 2-7 teams.
Prediction: Seahawks 28-14
Week 16: vs. LA Rams
This would be a revenge game for Seattle if they do indeed lose their Week 10 matchup in Los Angeles. This could also be a game for the division title, if it features an 11-3 Seattle team against the 10-4 Rams. Excluding the NFC East also-rans, only the Bears have scored fewer points than the Rams in the NFC, which should make it difficult for them to sweep the high-flying Seahawks.
Prediction: Seahawks 35-30
Week 17: @ San Francisco
This could end up being what they call in the business a “schedule win.” Midway through the season the 49ers are already so banged up, it’s tough to imagine who will still be available to play in what should be a meaningless Week 17 road game for them. Either way, Seattle already went to San Francisco and came away with a 37-27 win against a healthier 49ers team that was still very much in the playoff race. This game should be much easier, although a 12-3 Seahawks team might be locked into a playoff seed by the time this game kicks off.
Prediction: Seahawks 24-14
A 13-3 record would almost certainly grant the Seahawks the top seed in the NFC playoffs and the lone first round bye. That would mean a matchup against the highest-ranked seed in the Divisional Round, which very well could be whoever the second best NFC West team is, since they would have an eminently winnable round game against a losing Eagles team. For argument’s sake, let’s say that team is the Arizona Cardinals. I’ll say Seattle would struggle with Arizona, again. Kyler Murray might just be too elusive for their struggling defense. Throwing record amounts of touchdowns and hoping you outscore your opponents works in the regular season, but you can’t allow over 30 points per game and succeed in the playoffs. I’ll say Seattle loses 38-31 to Arizona.