Eric Parks, Staff Writer
After a 1-2 start, many analysts throughout the NFL began to write off the Seahawks as a top team. After winning the next three games, it became clear that the hiccups Seattle was facing over the first three weeks were normal growing pains en route to another dominating season. For the 2017 hawks, the recipe for success has not changed significantly from previous seasons. The defense has been playing lights out, and while the offense has been frustrating to watch at times, Russell Wilson has been able to create just enough magic to make up for a horrendous offensive line and average run game.
Seattle is home to the top scoring defense through the first seven weeks, averaging 15.7 points per game. Last year, they fell to number three after being the top scoring defense the previous four seasons. At the beginning of the year, Seattle boasted eight defensive starters that had made the Pro Bowl at some point in their career. Even after losing Cliff Avril for the season and possibly retirement, the defense has been incredible in nearly every category. If any group on this defense could stand to improve, it would be the pass rushers. Seattle is averaging only two sacks per game, and their season total is tied for 27th in the league.
The offense is starting to find their identity as well. The Seahawks have utilized a five-person running back committee of Eddie Lacy, C.J. Prosise, Thomas Rawls, Chris Carson and J.D. McKissic that has been able to produce the NFL’s 18th ranked rushing attack. Injuries hit this group early, but the week six bye has helped the backs recover. Wilson has had a handful of terrible plays but has been able to make up for them with magic only he can conjure, including an incredible touchdown pass to Paul Richardson after escaping several San Francisco defensive linemen in week two to win the game.
The weak link of this Seahawks team is the offensive line. Many fans were upset when Seattle largely neglected the position group in the offseason. The biggest move they made was adding LT Luke Joeckel, a first round draft bust from Jacksonville. Many fans were hoping that offensive line coach Tom Cable was going to help the group exceed expectations, but that has not yet been the case. Luckily, Wilson is widely considered to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL while under pressure, but the current trend in football is that the offensive line is the key to success. Oakland, Dallas, Pittsburgh and Kansas City are four examples of how having a strong line can significantly bolster offensive production, leaving many Seattle fans to dream how effective Wilson could be if he had a decent line.
Looking ahead, the Seahawks control their own destiny to the playoffs. At present, they are neck and neck with a surprising Los Angeles Rams team for the division and not far behind Philadelphia for control of the NFC. Following the injury to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Seahawks are now the undisputed best proven team in the conference. At this point, the NFC is wide open for anyone to take, but no other team has the combination of an experienced quarterback and defense that Seattle does.