The 2022 NFL season is finally upon us, starting with the Thursday Night Kickoff between the Buffalo Bills and reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. Wrapping up Week 1 on Monday will be none other than the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, a matchup most heavily anticipated because of Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle after March’s blockbuster trade.
Expectations for the post-Wilson Seahawks are low. Very low. DraftKings Sportsbook has the Seahawks’ over/under win total set at a paltry 5.5. For now, Geno Smith is the man at quarterback to replace Wilson, and that’s the main reason the projected wins is near the bottom of the league. But can this team overachieve through a Smith career revival? Or perhaps a roster more talented than given credit for? Or head coach Pete Carroll works his magic like in 2010 to take a bad team and at least have them near .500? Or is the house of cards about to fall and we’re witness to a team ready to hit rock bottom?
The Field Gulls writing staff has come together to make predictions for this year’s team. Check them out below!
Too many things have to go right for the Seahawks to be a good team. Geno Smith and/or Drew Lock have to perform at a level somewhere better than bottom-ten in the league; the offensive line with two rookie tackles will have to continue its success from the preseason; the rushing attack surge from Rashaad Penny last year will have to sustain itself in 2022; the defense will need to be above-average (DVOA and EPA/play, not just points per game); bad in-game decisions (going for it vs. punting, timeout management, etc.) made by the coaching staff have to be kept to a minimum. Hell, the rest of the NFC West having a big downturn probably has to happen, too.
The only way I see Pete Carroll and/or John Schneider in serious job jeopardy is if they are so terrible without key injuries that they’re picking at or very close to 1st overall. There’s enough talent (Metcalf, Lockett, Diggs, Adams, etc.) and potential (Bryant, Taylor, Cross, Lucas, etc.) to avoid total rock bottom... I think. Seattle doesn’t have the depth to overcome bad injuries, bad coaching decisions, and certainly not bad quarterbacking. 6-11, last in the NFC West.
John P. Gilbert
It’s a Pete Carroll coached group, meaning they’ll show up and play hard on Sundays, and while it’s a group with upside and potential, unfortunately that’s not enough for a team to contend in the modern NFL. Between question marks at the quarterback position, injuries that have kept the experienced cornerbacks off the field during training camp and the high probability for growing pains with an inexperienced offensive line and a secondary playing in a new system. That all comes together to make 2022 highly likely to be a down year relative to the successes of the past decade, and the Hawks finish the season 6-11 and in last place in the NFC West for the second straight year.
I will continue to believe that this defense will drastically outperform the last three years until at which point it becomes foolish to believe, say around Week 11. It’s just such a low bar, and this team has such talented players at each level. The offense is unpredictable, and occasional splash plays will be fun to watch while they largely struggle to maintain momentum, but the defense will keep this team very interesting.
Most fun players to watch this season will be Rashaad Penny, Tyler Lockett, Jamal Adams, Tariq Woolen, Myles Adams, and Darrell Taylor / Boye Mafe. Five wins feels about right, with an unhealthy amount of close losses.
Frank T. Raines
Despite the optimism of my recent articles, I am going to go with what I think is a realistic prediction: 9 up, 8 down, 3rd-place in the NFC West, and ... no playoffs.
The silver lining is that our rookies shine and give the 12s hope for next season. Oh, and 4 of the Seahawks’ 9 wins will come at the expense of our division rivals: 2-0 vs. the Niners, 1-1 against both the Rams and Cardinals. Go Hawks!
I won’t bat an eye if the Seahawks are 2-8 at the bye, with two nail-biting wins, four nail-biting losses, and four losses where they look like an FCS team playing Georgia. The first ten weeks feature six away games, seven games against winning teams from 2021, all with a secondary full of rookies and a pass rush that needs seasoning. Yikes. Not a combination for wins.
But that’s just it, isn’t it — things get better with seasoning. The Boye Mafe-Darrell Taylor combo will awaken in the colder months. The cornerbacks will be practically veterans by Week 12. Probably by then Pete Carroll will have found an off-ball linebacker. Probably. The 2022 Seahawks are going to be terrible to start, then watchable, then competitive, then legitimately fun next year.
It’s tempting to go against the grain and say they win nine games and sneak into the playoffs on the strength of an efficient run-heavy offense and a surprising defense. That’s the path to standing out in a sea of 6-11 predictions. But they just don’t have the depth, QB talent, or defensive track record to pull it off. All that being said, it wouldn’t be a Seahawks season without an impossible result against the Niners, so after a home 22-22 draw in December against Jimmy G, it’s a 5-11-1 campaign with plenty of hope to carry over into 2023. And picking fifth in the draft won’t hurt.
The overarching story of this season will be the development of young players. And there are a lot of young players to be excited about, especially from this 2022 rookie class. Specifically offensive tackles Charles Cross and Abe Lucas as the Seahawks try to shape up its offensive line for the future.
But overall, I think it is going to be very difficult for the Seahawks to win many games this year with how many question marks are on their roster and how much they are relying on rookies to immediately produce. The QB group is the obvious main target that flags major cause for concern, even with two top end wide receivers to aid them, and there is a lot of “what if” in the cornerback room, even with the potential of the two rookies. Truthfully, I see Seattle around 4-13/5-12 and right in the thick of the Bryce Young/C.J. Stroud sweepstakes.
This Seattle team offers a lot of intrigue. They have weapons that just about every single team would love to have in DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Noah Fant, Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Walker lll. They also boast two rookie tackles who have looked sharp thus far and have multiple exciting pieces on defense including Jordyn Brooks, Darrell Taylor and Uchenna Nwosu. However, they also have a below-average cornerback room, a not-so-great interior offensive line, and oh yeah Geno Smith is the team's starting quarterback. Like Lyle said above this season is mainly a develop year for the youth on the roster. Seattle is also going to have to use this year to figure out which players they want to extend to be a part of the next core and which players they want to trade or let walk in free agency.
As good as some of the position rooms are on this roster, I believe the quarterback play is going to hamper this team and put them in the sweepstakes to get one of the big quarterback prospects in next year's class. 5-12. Last place NFC West finish
The Seattle Seahawks have a slate of winnable games during the first couple months of the NFL season; I think it is entirely possible that this team starts out 3-2 if they can sneak in a road win over the Niners in Week 2. This early optimism will be tough to maintain, however, as the combination of quarterback instability and lack of proven veterans at some key positions ultimately paints the picture of a team that will struggle through the latter half of the season. With an “away” game in Germany and a final stretch of the year that will see them play road games against the Rams and the Chiefs, I expect the Seahawks to top out at 7-10, which will be good enough for 4th place in a brutal division.
For the 2022 Seattle Seahawks
Geno looks 89% Fitzmagical
RBs go for over 3000 all-purpose yards
DK + Tyler = 2400 yards and 20+ TDs
O-Line ends up looking above-average
Safeties and CBs play together and impress
D-Line find a way to pressure QBs every week
Hurtt improves his play-calling every week
Jamal Adams shows up and balls out
We are young again
We are fast again
We are not terribly deep/are unproven in key spots
No one knows what Geno lurks
Will our Kicker make FGs or miss FGs, hmm? top to bottom, the team has a lot to prove
Results are TBD
Stand-out performers will include
DK Mercalf (fewer drops/more TDs)
DeeJay Dallas (all-purpose beast)
Abe Lucas/Charles Cross (will both look comfy quickly)
Alton Robinson (consist pressure leads to 8 sacks)
Tariq Woolen/Coby Bryant (see Lucas/Cross)
Jamal Adams (back to his old shenanigans)
All goes well
10 and 7 and in the play-offs
All goes poorly (or mostly poorly)
7 and 10 and not in the play-offs
Super excited to see what gifts this season will bring. Big season, one of the most important in years for our favourite team. How it will all play out really, no one knows for sure. Let’s sit back and enjoy and see what happens.
Thank you for listening
Check back later today or on Friday for your SB Nation Reacts results, and we’ll see whether you believe the Seahawks will go over or under 5.5 wins!