A brand new NFL season is finally here! The Kansas City Chiefs begin their quest for a Super Bowl repeat with tonight’s traditional Thursday kickoff against the Detroit Lions, who will then open up their home schedule against the Seattle Seahawks. In the meantime, the Seahawks’ season opener will be versus the Los Angeles Rams, as they look to return to the postseason and build upon their unexpected playoff berth from 2022.
The Field Gulls writing staff has come together to make predictions for this year’s team. Check them out below! Pay close attention to Frank T. Raines’ picks because he had Seattle going 9-8 in 2022 (but with no playoffs). What does he have in store for this year? One thing for sure is we all exceed the DraftKings Sportsbook projected win total of 8.5.
Mookie Alexander: I think it’s very possible the Seahawks look better and perform better statistically than last season and still end up with an identical or worse record. The schedule looks tougher on paper than last year, which looked tough and then turned out to be mostly overhyped. I’ve banged on about this all offseason, but if the Seahawks have any chance to really contend, the offense has to be more consistent and more dynamic. Geno Smith basically can’t regress or else they have no shot. I am very skeptical that this defense will be anything better than average, and the lack of depth along the defensive line and linebacker could crater this team.
Floor of 6-11 when factoring injuries, close game variance, and possibly Geno regression/lack of rookie development/lack of improvement from second-year standouts. The ceiling is 12-5 with an NFC title game appearance. I’ll go with 10-7, lose out to the 49ers on a tiebreaker, win a road playoff game against whichever team wins the NFC South, and get bounced in the Divisional Round. In the Russell Wilson years post-XLIX, this would be considered a disappointment. For a roster with Geno at QB having a career revival and the average age of the team at a tick under 26 years old, this would be a success.
Tyler Alsin: Geno Smith was a top-10, and often even top-3 Quarterback, in numerous 2022 categories (early-down success rate, efficiency, deep accuracy, etc). I believe the powerful offense we witnessed last season has legitimate chance to even improve on last season’s 9th-best 23.9 points per game.
Defensively...I mean it’s hard to get worse, and I don’t believe they did. I’m extremely confident both there will still be chunk run plays given up, and that the pass rush will be significant this season. They will not be a backbreaking liability. The San Francisco 49ers have not given the offseason impression that they’ve fully dialed in for this season, and nobody else in the division matters. 11-6, first place in the West, and they should meet either Philadelphia or Dallas in the NFC Championship game, where anything can happen.
Ted Zahn: Last year’s Seahawks team exceeded expectations from nearly everyone outside of the VMAC by finishing with a 9-8 record and making the playoffs in a supposed “rebuild” year. The fantastic 2022 draft class was a huge part of their success and looks to be an extremely solid foundation to build upon. This year’s rookies have a lot of potential, but have been bitten by the injury bug thus far.
The Seahawks offense should, in theory, improve with another year of experience under Shane Waldron and the multitude of weapons at their disposal. If Seattle’s defense can be even league average, the Seahawks should finish near the top of a weakened NFC. To me, the only thing standing in the way of Seattle winning the NFC West is Kyle Shanahan. I’m still not a Brock Purdy believer, but Kyle Shanahan can make it work with just about anyone at QB especially when he can lean on that 49ers defense. I think the Seahawks defense will improve enough for them to add a few more wins to end up at 11-6. They’ll split the series with the 49ers and tie them for first place in the NFC West, losing out due to a tiebreaker. Geno Smith will lead the Seahawks to two playoff road wins, but come up short in the NFC Championship game. Still, that’s another great building block and the vibes will be high in Seattle heading into next offseason as they look to find the last missing pieces for a title run.
John Fraley: This isn't an "everything finally goes right" year, but the roster is as deep as it was near the LOB's twilight. I'm gonna gout on a limb and say that the Seahawks are as inoculated against serious injury as they've ever been. The defense is far more dynamic with Dre Jones and Tre Brown, who everyone seems to have forgotten about. Look for Boye Mafe to take a step forward too. The offense is more modern and more stacked with playmakers than *ever.* Division champs at 12-5. The NFC is so thin it would shock me to see the Seahawks win only single-digit games because the conference is so thin. It all ends with an NFCCG loss at the NFCE champ though, because the conference is so top-heavy. Spectacular season that sets up an even deeper run at some point later in the decade. Who cares what the wild-card 49ers do, their time has passed.
Frank T. Raines: Ever the optimist, I’ve got the Seahawks going 13-4 and capturing the NFC’s top seed (via tiebreakers). Given that each of Seattle’s Super Bowl runs has started with a first-round bye, it would be natural to assume an optimist such as myself has the Seahawks reaching the Super Bowl. And you would be right!
John and Pete nailed the draft (again!) and free agency (finally!). Bringing Bobby back; rebuilding the bridge with Jarran Reed; stealing Julian Love; busting open the bank for Dre’Mont Jones; adding Devon Witherspoon, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Zach Charbonnet with three of their first four picks . . . hot damn! An already potent offense is now more explosive, and the defense got the talent infusion it desperately needed. I am a happy 12. Alas, the AFC seems destined to hoist the Lombardi trophy on February 11th, 2024, so reaching the Super Bowl might have to be enough for the 12s. At least this year. Go Hawks!
Devin Csigi: Maybe I am being pessimistic but I think Seattle does not improve much this season. Geno Smith is coming off of a fantastic year but I view him as a regression candidate. In his first 12 games last season he had a completion percentage of 72.7 percent, 22 touchdowns to 6 interceptions and a passer rating of 108.7 In his final five regular season games he had a completion percentage of 63.33 percent, 8 touchdowns to 5 interceptions and a passer rating of 83.9. Yes his numbers were solid in the postseason game, but his play wasn’t overly inspiring.
The defense is improved with the return of Bobby Wagner and additions of Devon Witherspoon and Dre’mont Jones which is a plus. The addition of Jaxon Smith Njigba is also going to help insulate the offense in case of a skill position injury. However, I just cannot get past the likelihood that Geno takes a step back this year. Personally I cannot think of many teams that saw their quarterback regress but their record improved significantly. I think Seattle goes 10-7 and finishes as the 7 seed in the NFC.
Diane Taylor: The Seahawks were a playoff team in 2022... barely. Their success was a surprise to nearly everybody, but they wont be catching anyone off guard this time around. The league has an entire year worth of game film on Geno Smith, and the defense may be relying on some young and untested players at critical positions. However, I think that they can still have a successful season in 2023... IF a few factors go in their favor. The Seahawks can win the NFC West if (1) the secondary ends up being as fearsome as the depth chart currently indicates, (2) Jaxon Smith-Njigba cements himself as the WR3 and stays on the field, and (3) the 49ers dropoff. I think they can still be a playoff team if only the first two factors fall in their favor, but winning the division hinges on that last one. I see the team making some improvements in 2023 and finishing with a solid 10-7 record. This will be good enough for second in the NFC West — behind the Niners — and the team will score its first playoff win since 2019 and the first of the Geno Smith era. but will fall on the road during the divisional round.
John P. Gilbert: The schedule is likely to be a little rougher having to face the Eagles and Cowboys instead of the soft underbelly of the NFC South, but given that the Hawks went winless against the Panthers, Saints, Falcons and Bucs in 2022, a tougher schedule might not be all that relevant. At the end of the day they should have enough easy matchups on the schedule to put together a 9 or 10 win season and make their way into the playoffs as a Wild Card team on the back of career seasons from their biggest playmakers like Geno Smith, DK Metcalf and Cody Thompson. Winning the division isn’t out of the question, but the 49ers stomped them all three times they played in 2022, so until there’s some sort of evidence that the Hawks can stay with San Francisco, they’re second best in the division.
Terrance Robinson aka thadisrad: Another season of professional American-style football lays itself before our feet. Another opportunity to grasp titles and raise banners; or to of course, to do the opposite of that and to often make a lot of people sad once a week. Our Seattle Seahawks have been through a tempest the last couple decades, coughing in its shirt and been polite while asking for galactic glory. After a recent coup of sorts was had, some reshuffling of priorities was agreed upon, and the ‘Hawks chose a new field leader in Geno Smith. Many words were made by many and those many thought we would be not-that-wonderful of a team in 2022. Despite those words, Geno aka King Gene aka MVGeno took control of a somewhat disjointed roster finding its legs and ultimately took it to the playoffs.
This season, I find expectations from those that say words are elevated and somewhat reckless. Much more fleeting in predicting success and not as steadfast as last season’s soothsayers adamant about seeing visions of a crumbling football team. This season, our offense will improve its success rate on 3rd downs, our defense will hold teams to under 4 yards rushing per carry, and they will beat the ‘9ers once. With all that in mind, I will follow my nearly pinpoint prediction last season with another “on-the-mark” moment in my buddy sports journalism career: our Seattle Seahawks will go 11-6 this year, we will make the playoffs, we will win one game in the playoffs, we will lose one game in the playoffs. That’s our ceiling. Our floor: 7 wins.
This season’s stars include career years from DK Metcalf and Uchenna Nwosu, Jason Myers, and Geno Smith, and as expected incredible play from our DBs and Ss. And DeeJay Dallas. I’m very excited. I think you are, too. Let’s enjoy.
Only Frank has the Seahawks going to the Super Bowl, but we all believe the team is heading for the playoffs. The fact that Devin was pessimistic about Seattle and still had them at 10 wins tells you how different the feeling is compared to the beginning of last season.
Don’t forget you can still make your season predictions either here or in the link below!