TweetMy 2010 predictions were far from perfect, but hey- I did correctly predict an NFC West title, and a home playoff win before elimination in the divisional playoffs... That's gotta count for something, right? There's a lot of pessimism and negativity about the Seahawks floating around out there- Shit tons of publications are picking us to finish dead-last in the division, and even "respectable" opinion among Seahawks fans is that 2011 is to be a forlorn, doomed season.
Guess what? They're ALL fucking wrong. THIS is what is going to go down. Here we go with my 2011 predictions for the Seattle Seahawks...
The Lead: The Seahawks finish 8-8, and win the NFC West based on holding the tiebreaker over the 8-8 Cardinals (5-1 v 3-3 divisional record). They host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Wild Card game, and once again the Seahawks are given NO chance against a "better" 11-5 NFC South team- They win (details below), and finally fall in the divisional playoffs at New Orleans, who exact some revenge for the Beastquake.
Postseason awards/Pro Bowlers: None. This will once again fuel blasts of disbelieving rage from all corners of the media- Once again, the nondescript, "uninteresting" Seahawks will sneak into the playoffs over teams that attracted more media "buzz," and then beat an up-and-coming squad in the playoffs. Man, the nattering nabobs of negativity are going to be PISSED. Despite all that, the Seahawks will continue improving, and steal another division crown along the way.
Team MVP: Russell Okung. The Seahawks offense ends up being mediocre rather than horrendously unwatchable, and does JUST ENOUGH to keep an quickly-improving defense fresh, rested, and effective. The biggest reason for this unexpected triumph will be the play of Russell Okung, who will keep Tarvaris Jackson "clean" enough to meet my "be as good as 1999 Jon Kitna" goal- With decent protection, T-Jack finds he has numerous (and dangerous) targets. While no Seahawks WR or TE has a 1000-yard season, Rice, BMW and Miller all come close. Jackson's stats for 2011: 283/479 for 3150 yards, with 22 TDs/15 INTs (Rating: 80.9)
Okung's play will not just allow Jackson to exceed expectations, it will also help the running game control the tempo and grind down opponents. No Seahawks RB will gain 1000 yards, but Lynch, Washington and Forsett will create an effective overall ground game. Without a healthy Russell Okung, playing at an (unrecognized) All-Pro level, none of this could happen.
MVP honorable mentions: Earl Thomas, Brandon Mebane, Leon Washington, Red Bryant, Sidney Rice
Week 1- Seahawks 24, 49ers 10
For the second year in a row, it's a kickoff weekend win over the 49ers that sets the tone for a successful season. The defense forces 5 turnovers, including a scoop-and-score TD from Aaron Curry. Seahawks fans are also tantalized by a 65-yard T-Jack-to-Rice TD bomb, and the Niners' annual death spiral starts early on- Again.
Week 3- Seahawks 27, Cardinals 17
In the home opener, the Seattle defense sacks Kevin Kolb 6 times, and intercepts him twice. Zach Miller finds the end zone twice, and Leon Washington seals the win with a punt return TD midway through the 4th.
Week 11- Seahawks 20, Rams 19
The Seahawks arrive in St. Louis at 4-5, but in better shape than the surprisingly 3-6 Rams. STL comes out strong in what is pretty much a Death Match for them, building a 16-7 lead in the 3rd. Down 19-14 late, Tarvaris Jackson has his finest Seahawks moment so far: A 12-play, 80-yard drive for the winning TD, which is hauled in by BMW with only 18 seconds left to play. The subsequent 2-point try fails, but the Seahawks keep their playoff dreams alive (and effectively smother STL's).
Week 16- Seahawks 31, 49ers 14
The NFC West gets another round of crap thrown at it by the national press on Xmas Eve: If the 7-7 Seahawks defeat the 3-11 49ers, they will clinch the division with a week left to play. In front of 66,000 Twelves ready to watch them fill SF's stockings with coal, Seattle doesn't disappoint. Colin Kaepernick has a nightmare afternoon- He throws three interceptions, absorbs five sacks and is eating chopped rubber all day long. With a big early lead, Carroll decides to grind it out- Lynch, Leon and J-Force combine for over 200 yards on the ground and Seattle wins its 5th NFC West crown in 7 years.
NFC Wild Card Game: Seahawks 23, Buccaneers 17 (OT)
The underdog Seahawks are (again) given no chance against a seemingly superior opponent. While the Buccaneers may be bound for glory, it won't happen in front of a rowdy Seahawks Stadium crowd, 3130 miles from home. Jackson avoids turnovers and manages to connect on a couple of deep strikes to Rice and BMW. Tampa won't go quietly, and with a gutty final drive capped by a clutch 50-yarder by Connor Barth, they tie the game and force OT.
Michael Koenen is the Bucs' new Punter/Kickoff specialist, a native Washingtonian and a WWU alum like me- His homecoming will be spoiled when he fails to blast the opening OT kickoff out of the end zone, however. Leon Washington returns it 101 yards for a touchdown, and the quickest overtime win in NFL playoff history.
There you have it- The future, inevitable and infallible. What do you think, sirs?