Welcome back, Twelves! I don't know about y'all, but I've never been more ready for a Seahawks' season to start than I am right now. For me, it goes beyond a desire to move past the traumatic ending of Super Bowl XLIX and bear witness as our Hawks re-establish the dominion of the Emerald Empire. After that game, I collapsed in sobs into the arms of my partner. She was also there for Super Bowl XLVIII, and it made me ecstatically happy to share that triumph with her. I loved that she was there for my highest peak and my lowest valley- But she's gone now, ending our relationship this July. Two months later, I still feel like someone dug my heart out of my chest piece-by-piece with a melon baller. The color and the meaning have felt drained out of my life, and that's made it hard to write very much of anything that is worth a shit.
That changes this Sunday. The world will change from black and white to College Navy, Wolf Grey, and Action Green (yes, Nike gave our team colors insipid names). Meaning will return. Is it fucked up that I need a football team to take the field to inject some sense of meaning and purpose to my life? Yeah. Has my mind made this an absolutely tangible thing that I NEED? Hell yeah.
I don't just need the Seahawks now. I need all you guys. The Twelve Army is the ONLY place I've ever felt any sense of true belonging, and I want to experience this transcendent season alongside all of you. I don't really feel like writing. But I know that a lot of people out there look forward to reading what I have to say about the team, particularly during the season. So this is for you, because I am with you. We speak in a single booming roar, and I'll be damned if I'm going to let myself be left out of that chorus this year. So I'm back. Let's go...
Now, the usual preamble:
All preseason predictions are, to a greater or lesser degree, bullshit. The beauty of this game is its unpredictability. Anyone who tells you they KNOW who will make the playoffs, who will win the Super Bowl, etc, is trying to sell you something. Folks with deeper, more detailed knowledge of the game might be able to give you slightly more accurate predictions, but at the end of the day it's still at best educated guessing.
I've always had particularly deep contempt for implausible preseason predictions. In particular I'm talking about when some lazy sportswriter predicts the records for all 32 teams and comes up with an impossible aggregate record. That's why every year I go through the ENTIRE regular season and predict the winner of EVERY game, so all the pieces fit together. What follows is my own particular flavor of bullshit, which you can dissect in the comments at your leisure.
Onto my predictions for the 2015 season:
REGULAR SEASON AWARDS:
NFL MVP: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Robert Quinn, St. Louis
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Amari Cooper, Oakland
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Frank Clark, Seattle
COACH OF THE YEAR: Mike Zimmer, Minnesota
Seattle 12-4 (#1 seed)
Arizona 11-5 (#5 seed)
St. Louis 7-9
Santa Clara 5-11
Green Bay 11-5 (#3 seed)
Minnesota 10-6 (#6 seed)
New Orleans 9-7 (#4 seed)
Tampa Bay 5-11
Dallas 11-5 (#2 seed)
New York 9-7
District of Columbia 6-10
Wild Card: Green Bay 38, Minnesota 20; Arizona 27, New Orleans 20
Divisional: Seattle 31, Arizona 16; Dallas 28, Green Bay 26
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Seattle 26, Dallas 23 (OT)
Denver 10-6 (#4 seed)
San Diego 9-7
Kansas City 8-8
Pittsburgh 11-5 (#3 seed)
Baltimore 10-6 (#5 seed)
Cincinnati 9-7 (#6 seed)
Indianapolis 12-4 (#1 seed)
New England 12-4 (#2 seed)
New York 4-12
Wild Card: Pittsburgh 35, Cincinnati 24; Baltimore 27, Denver 17
Divisional: New England 30, Pittsburgh 25; Baltimore 31, Indianapolis 30
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Baltimore 33, New England 23
SUPER BOWL 50 (Santa Clara, California)
SUPER BOWL 50 MVP: MARSHAWN LYNCH, SEATTLE
Sadly, we won't get revenge on the dastardly, loathsome New Englanders in Super Bowl 50, but the Hawks will roll over the surprising Ravens in what will be more or less Seahawks Stadium South in Santa Clara. Let's take a closer look at this Seahawks season...
-After gutting out a 17-13 win at St. Louis Kickoff Weekend without Kam Chancellor, the stellar-but-steamed safety returns to the starting line-up for the massive SNF tilt at Lambeau Field. Bam-bam Kam's key 4th-quarter interception seals a hard-fought 27-22 Seattle victory.
-On Monday Night Football in Week 4, Russell Wilson's brace of TD strikes to Jimmy Graham paces Seattle to a 31-19 win over Detroit.
-In front of your favorite blogger in Week 5 at Paul Brown Stadium, the Seahawks triumph 24-23 on a 53-yard Hauschka boot as time expires. I scream until I faint.
-At home against Carolina in Week 6, Frank Clark's pair of sacks and a forced fumble helps Seattle cruise to yet another victory over the Panthers.
-On Thursday Night Football, Marshawn Lynch rambles for 145 yards and three touchdowns. Seattle stakes a permanent claim to Levi's Stadium with a 38-14 blowout win over the Niners.
-Chatter of an undefeated season is silenced by a 23-16 loss at Dallas. Russell Wilson's trio of interceptions inspires a tsunami of "hot takes" about how the big money has dulled his edge.
-Sunday Night Football. The 7-1 Seahawks host the 6-2 Cardinals. Wilson throws 2 touchdown passes and runs for another, shutting everyone up. Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas each intercept Carson Palmer and order is restored in the NFC West with a 28-19 win.
-After another blowout of Santa Clara, the Seahawks crap away a double-digit 4th-quarter lead and lose at home to Pittsburgh 31-27. Talk radio in Seattle BLOWS THE FUCK UP. Never has the fanbase of a 9-2 team been so incensed.
-Seattle finds themselves underdogs in frigid Minneapolis against the playoff-bound Vikings. In a snowglobe worthy of John Facenda narration, Bobby Wagner's late stop of Adrian Peterson on 4th and Goal from the Seattle 1-yard-line preserves a 16-12 Seahawks triumph.
-Another date on national TV, this time in Baltimore. A late Seahawks comeback effort falls short after a Marshawn Lynch fumble. Seattle loses 20-16.
-Seattle seems hung over against Cleveland, coming off three straight games that were decided on the final possession. The Browns run out to a 17-0 lead, but a Tyler Lockett Punt return TD jump-starts the team and a drowsy Seahawks Stadium crowd. The Hawks pull away for a 35-20 win.
-After a win over St. Louis, the 12-3 Seahawks clinch the #1 NFC seed. They drop the season finale in Glendale, and are declared "vulnerable" by the nattering nabobs of negativity in the press.
-Two weeks later, in a rubber match with Arizona that actually, you know.. matters? Doug Baldwin scores twice and Carson Palmer is knocked out of the game after a getting sandwiched by Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. Seattle wins 31-16.
-The 3rd straight NFC Championship Game in Seattle, and Dallas is the trendy pick. The game goes to overtime deadlocked at 20, and Dallas takes the opening possession and kicks a field goal. The Seahawks must score on their possession to survive. Tyler Lockett takes the short kickoff 97 yards for the winning touchdown. Bedlam. Yawn. Another trip to the Super Bowl.
-Super Bowl 50. In front of a rabidly pro-Seattle crowd, the outcome is never really in doubt. The Hawks run to a 21-3 halftime lead and feed the Beast in the 2nd half. Marshawn Lynch runs for 139 yards and takes home the MVP award. People will still bitch about him not getting the ball at the end of XLIX, though.
TEAM MVP: Earl Thomas
ALL-PROS: Lynch, Graham, Wagner, Thomas, Chancellor, Sherman
PRO BOWLERS: All-Pros plus Wilson, Hauschka, Avril, Bennett
There you have it. Tell me what I got wrong in the comments. GO HAWKS!