WELP.

Last Year: 11-5

Acquisitions: Percy Harvin, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Christine Michael, Tarvaris Jackson :(

Departures: Matt Flynn, Alan Branch, Jason Jones, Leroy Hill, Leon Washington

Acquisitions who were subsequently cut: Antoine Winfield, Brady Quinn :)

Vegas win total over/under: 10.5

Verdict: OVER?

wilsongf_medium

Five people/objects taller than Russell Wilson:

– Brandon Weeden lol

– some fire hydrants

– stupid toddlers with little weak baby arms

– Doug Flutie in drag

– his CONFIDENCE and LEADERSHIP and KNOWS HOW TO WIN HE’S A BORN WINNER JUST AN IMPRESSIVE YOUNG MAN

Blogger forecast:

russell-wilson-ufford

Just three years removed from crowning a 7-9 Seahawks team the Division Champion, the NFC West is the toughest division in football. The molten core of this unforgiving new football galaxy is the ongoing [CHOOSE ONE: hatred/rivalry/chess match/arms race] between Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh, two men who dislike each other so much that they’ve each built razor-spitting destruction machines to grind their nemesis into dust. And for the 14 weeks a season the Seahawks and Niners DON’T play each other, the rest of the NFL bears the brunt of their hate-fueled engineering.

If this sounds more like a Seahawks/49ers preview more than a Seahawks preview, it’s because neither team’s narrative exists without the other’s. They are too geographically close, too similarly constructed: the successful Pac-12 coach who jumped to the NFL but stayed on the West Coast; the dynamic young quarterback selected after the first round; the run-first offense with a read-option threat; the fearsome defensive unit stocked with Pro Bowlers. Like the Ravens and Steelers teams of a few years back, they are teams built to defeat the other, and along the way put a hurt on most other comers, too.

At least, that’s the expected narrative from what we saw in 2012: two division rivals who were the class of the NFC yet still ascendant thanks to young signal-callers and smart off-season moves. Those moves, in typical Carroll-Harbaugh fashion, mirrored each other: “Oh, you got Percy Harvin for a first-rounder? Very well, I will now flip a 4th-rounder for Anquan Boldin.” Both teams drafted excellent running backs (Christine Michael/Marcus Lattimore) to bolster an already-strong running game. Even the injuries come in pairs: wide receivers Michael Crabtree (Achilles) and Percy Harvin (hip) had offseason surgery and hope to be back on the field in the season’s final weeks.

What all this means for NFL fans: you will have to hear about this rivalry repeatedly, and about the improved Rams and Cardinals, and the way “the fans are REALLY loud here in Seattle.” Annoying? Sure. But a small price to pay for competent teams playing during the late Sunday games.

As for Seahawks fans, let’s pump the brakes on the “SUPER BOWL OR BUST” dreams. Do not give the Seahawks a choice that involves “bust” unless you like betting the “don’t pass” line (and mixing gambling metaphors). Defensive end Chris Clemons still isn’t fully recovered from the torn ACL he suffered on the Redskins’ shitty field in January. Pass-rushing additions Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett aren’t fully healthy, either. Bruce Irvin is suspended the first four games of the season. Sidney Rice’s knee needed medical treatment that isn’t legal in America. Harvin conveniently needed hip surgery AFTER the ‘Hawks traded a first-round draft pick for him; he’ll return in… November? December?

Throw in some early-season speed bumps — a season-opening visit to Carolina (where a humid 90-degree day could spell disaster for a team that conducts training camp in 75-degree weather with a breeze off the lake), versus the Niners in Week 2, and at Houston in Week 4 — and this team could stumble to an 0-2 or 1-3 start that would require another late-season surge to get into the playoffs. The rest of the schedule doesn’t look much friendlier, with five kick-offs at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time after going 1-3 in such games last year. The Seahawks also visit Indianapolis, the New York Giants, and Atlanta, where their season ended last year and I’d rather not talk about it. But at least I didn’t get the news second-hand after slicing my hand open while at sea.

Now for the good news: the team is deep enough and talented enough to weather some hiccups (hello, Week 12 loss at Miami after the bye last year). The highly touted secondary is so deep that Antoine Winfield didn’t make the team. Backup RBs Robert Turbin and Christine Michael could be Week 1 starters on probably a dozen NFL teams. The offensive line has bruisers who are now veterans of the zone-blocking scheme Tom Cable implemented in 2011: Max Unger is an All-Pro center, Russell Okung made the Pro Bowl after his first healthy a season, 2011 first-rounder James Carpenter shows signs of finally being healthy, J.R. Sweezy has the best name of a white guy in the NFL, and Paul McQuistan and Breno Giacomini offer the team much-needed early-20th-century immigrant slurs.

breno

AY! I MAKE-A THE 12TH MAN A PIZZA PIE!

The only TRULY irreplaceable component is Russell Wilson, but he seems more prone to run out of bounds and slide than his speedy counterparts in San Francisco and Washington, which is EXACTLY why he’ll get the Tom Brady Special from Bernard Pollard when the Titans come to town in Week 6. And when that happens, it’s Tarvaris Jackson 2.0! For those who don’t remember the last year pre-RW3, Jackson started (and sucked) for the team in 2011, got traded to the Bills, and then was re-acquired because the Bills are all set at quarterba-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Oddly, T-Jack has looked better than he ever has in the preseason this year, which is the sort of thing you say to yourself against the dark possibility of Tarvaris Jackson getting significant playing time for the team of your choice.

socrates

YO SOCRATES GOT THAT FITTED AND SOME HEMLOCK CUZ T-JACK STARTIN’

So, yeah: the 2013 Seahawks, a very good team with a high ceiling, a tough schedule, and the depth to withstand some injuries. Expect some stupid road losses and at least one unapologetic immolation of a foe at the CLink, because Pete Carroll is a sociopath incapable of pity. If they can clinch home field advantage through the playoffs, they’ll go to the Super Bowl. But they won’t, and they won’t: these are the Seahawks we’re talking about, and I’ll continue to assume the worst until they prove me wrong.