Wow, check out that awesome alliteration in that title! Woo hoo, I'm pretty pumped about that. All right, now let's talk about some football. Eh, I know, not as exciting as talking about the alliteration in the title, but we have to get through it.
As the regular season gets closer and closer, everybody is making their Super Bowl picks and it's pretty much the same old same old.
Some say the Patriots winning, you have the Steelers winning, the Giants repeating, yada, yada, yada. That's a bit boring. Let's talk about a sleeper team who may rock the boat and shake up the NFL season.
I'll let you in on a little secret, I was going to do five sleeper teams, but then I thought, eh, that might water it down a bit. Then I thought, maybe two? But, I decided against that, too. So, I'm just going to go with one team who I think will make a real run in the season.
Drum roll please, and that team is....the Seattle Seahawks. Yes, the Seahawks from the Great Northwest really do have fantastic value right now.
Head coach, Pete Carroll has put together a nice, young, group of talented players that are big, physical and can fly around the field for 60 minutes. From 2010 to 2011, Pete Carroll has done a fabulous job in turning around the Seahawks' defense.
In 2010, Pete Carroll's first year, the Seahawks were ranked No. 25 in points per game, No. 27 in passing yards, No. 15 in rushing yards, and No. 26 in turnovers.
In 2011, just last year, the Seahawks grew leaps and bounds ranking No. 7 in points per game, No. 11 in passing yards, No. 4 in rushing yards, and No. 5 in turnovers. You can expect this year's defense to be in the same ballpark, and maybe a little better.
The Seahawks addressed some needs in their defense. In particular the linebacking core and rushing the passer. First round pick Bruce Irvin was drafted to fill in this big hole. Bruce Irvin is a bit raw. He's a bit raw when it comes to, well, just being a linebacker, but he's very talented.
Bruce Irvin has a lot of potential, but what he brings to the table, right now, is a huge burst off the line and a nose for the quarterback. He is a pass rushing specialist, something the Seahawks lacked last year only getting to the quarterback 33 times last year.
The offense, though, was really the thing that held the Seahawks back last year from a winning record. Early on in the year, the Seahawks weren't able to impose their will on their opponents and struggled in the running game. And with Tarvaris Jackson as the starting quarterback, the offense couldn't do much in the air as well.
Things turned around, though, as Seattle traveled to Dallas. They lost that game 23-13 last year, but they were finally able to move the ball on the ground. Marshawn Lynch finally had a 100-yard game, rushing for 135 yards versus Dallas, and from there, that turned around the Seahawks' season.
This year, things should be a lot different. The Seahawks massively upgraded their quarterback position. They signed Matt Flynn in the offseason and drafted Russell Wilson, who I'm personally very high on. I think he's going to be a quality quarterback when he does get his chance to start everyday.
Mostly though, they finally have a quarterback to get the ball to their pretty good wide receiving core, that got a boost in the offseason with signings of Terrell Owens and Braylon Edwards. Plus, they traded for Kellen Winslow who should be yet another dynamic playmaker in the passing game. Look for the Seahawks' offensive numbers to improve substantially this year. There's a lot of talent on this team.
So, we talked about the players, offense, defense, but how about the schedule? The schedule has a lot to do with how successful a team will be and the schedule looks pretty favorable for the Seahawks. Not to say that it's easy, but it's set up really nicely. All of their really, really tough games will be at home. They get the Green Bay Packers, the New England Patriots, and the New York Jets all at home.
On the road, more than likely, those are losses, but with these three teams coming to "The 12th Man" these games really tip close to a toss up and are very winnable games for the Seahawks. On the road, the Seahawks play the Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, and Buffalo Bills. Those are very favorable games on the road.
Overall, the Seahawks have the players in place to make a run. They are still in a development phase, they are a young team, and they might be a year off, but it isn't out of the question for the Seahawks to have a good season, and maybe make a run in the playoffs. You never know, anything can happen in the NFL. The odds on the Seahawks are really great, though. They are about 5/1 to win their division, about 25/1 to win the NFC Conference, and at around 66/1 to win the Super Bowl. Those are just some fantastic odds that you can't help but make a little bet on them.