Seahawks expect to be contenders again in loaded NFC West

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (12-5)

New faces: G Gabe Jackson, DE Kerry Hyder Jr., WR D’Wayne Eskridge, DT Al Woods, CB Tre Brown, TE Gerald Everett, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, CB Sidney Jones IV, offensive coordinator Shane Waldron.

Key losses: CB Shaquill Griffin, WR David Moore, RB Carlos Hyde, TE Greg Olsen, LB K.J. Wright, DT Jarran Reed, CB Quinton Dunbar, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

Strengths: Seattle’s starting lineup could rival anyone in the league. Led by Russell Wilson, Chris Carson and DK Metcalf, the offense under new coordinator Shane Waldron has the potential to build on the explosive flashes it showed a year ago. Defensively, the Seahawks still have one of the top linebackers in the game with Bobby Wagner, along with second-year LB Jordyn Brooks and a deep line rotation. Topping it off, safeties Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs may be the best tandem at the position in the NFL.

Weaknesses: Aside from the defensive line, depth appears a major concern. This does not seem to be a Seattle roster with starters siting on the bench. Cornerback is unsettled, with a combination of injuries and inconsistent play leaving the starters uncertain. The wide receiver group is unproven beyond Metcalf and Lockett, and there is the unknown of whether left tackle Duane Brown will continue his “hold-in” seeking a new contract into the regular season.

Camp Development: Rookie Dee Eskridge missed time early in camp due to a toe injury but flashed the potential in the final preseason game that made him a second-round pick. His development into a true No. 3 option will be important for the success of Seattle’s passing game.

Fantasy Player To Watch: Metcalf seems on the cusp of becoming a superstar. He followed a good rookie season by erupting with 83 receptions for 1,303 yards and 10 touchdowns in the 2020 regular season. Those numbers would have been higher if not for an offensive regression the second half of last season. With Seattle’s new offense emphasizing a quicker pass game, Metcalf may have more catches and more of a chance to use his athleticism in the open field.

FanDuel Says: Win Super Bowl: 20-1. Over/under wins: 10.

Expectations: Time is running out for this group of Seahawks to contend and win another title. Seattle hasn’t advanced past the second weekend of the playoffs since 2014. They’ve become a perennial playoff team that can’t get it done in the postseason. It’s a tipping point season when a stumble could lead to massive changes. But the talent assessed seems good enough for another playoff berth even in the loaded NFC West.

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