Seattle Seahawks 2023 season preview and predictions
This appeared in the original VSiN NFL Betting Guide released on June 29, 2023.
Zachary Cohen: The Seattle Seahawks shocked the world by going 9-8 and making the playoffs last season. Many people left this organization for dead after Seattle traded Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. But the Seahawks turned the keys over to Geno Smith, who threw for 4,282 yards with 30 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. Smith made the Pro Bowl last season, which ultimately allowed the Seahawks to play at a much higher level than expected. Now, Seattle enters the 2023 season with legitimate expectations, and it’s definitely hard to doubt this team.
The Seahawks had a top-10 scoring offense last season, and things should get even better in 2023. Seattle’s passing game was rather explosive in Smith’s first full year under center. The team then added wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the draft. He has all the makings of a superstar, as he’s a speedy wideout with a real feel for running routes. When you add him to a group that already possesses DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, an argument can be made that Seattle has the best wide receivers in football.
Seattle should also be a force on the ground next season. Kenneth Walker III looks like he has an All-Pro future, as he rushed for 1,050 yards with nine touchdowns as a rookie. And Walker did that with a mediocre offensive line. But that group should be a bit better next season, as the team essentially kept the same group intact. That continuity, combined with the addition of Evan Brown, should help Walker.
The productivity of this offense will essentially come down to whether Smith’s 2022 season was a flash in the pan. But I tend to believe the 32-year-old is legit. And he should be even better in 2023, as the Seahawks put a lot of faith in him by giving him a big contract. That should help Smith’s confidence quite a bit.
Seattle’s defense was a nightmare last season, but things are looking up after the offseason. The Seahawks brought in quite a bit of talent on that side of the ball, with Bobby Wagner and Devon Witherspoon being the two biggest additions.
Wagner was the top-graded PFF linebacker in 2022, while Witherspoon was the fifth-overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Many viewed Witherspoon as the top corner in the class, so he should be a big boost to a secondary in desperate need of a shutdown option.
It also shouldn’t surprise anybody if Devin Bush puts things together in Seattle. He hasn’t lived up to expectations since being picked 10th in the 2019 NFL Draft, but the talent is there. Bush is now with an organization with a proven track record of developing players.
Backing Seattle to win over 8.5 games is one of my favorite picks heading into the season, even if you have to lay some juice on this. Pete Carroll has won at least nine games in 10 of his last 11 seasons as the Seahawks head coach. And this year’s team looks very strong on paper. When you combine that with a reasonable schedule and one of the better home-field advantages in football, the Seahawks should finish the year over .500.
This appeared in the Updated VSiN NFL Betting Guide released on August 31, 2023.
Michael Lombardi: We all believe playing the Seahawks in Seattle is a tough venue. Since 2015, the Seahawks are just 17 games above .500 at home — 41-24 and 15-10 since 2020. So can we please stop all the “Seattle is a tough place to play” nonsense? They have been beatable in Seattle in large part because they haven’t been a great defensive team that can rush the passer and take advantage of the home crowd noise. That might be different this year, and Seattle might revert back to their dominating ways at home. From 2012-2014, their best defensive teams under Pete Carroll, the Seahawks had a 22-2 home record.
With new additions on defense and corners that can cover man-to-man, Seattle will be a better defense and still can be an effective offense. Quarterback Geno Smith was great last year, playing behind two rookie offensive tackles. He isn’t going to fall back as the talent around him is excellent, and his accuracy has always been his strength. Of his 572 attempts last year, Smith only threw bad balls 11% of the time, which is outstanding. Seattle had a great offseason and draft, and now if they get those great crowds back into Lumen Field, they will have a great season.
Player to Watch: WR Jake Bobo
Injuries have been a concern for the Seahawks heading into the regular season. Top pick Devon Witherspoon has missed considerable time with a hamstring injury and Jaxon Smith-Njigba is now likely to miss the start of the season with a broken bone in his wrist. On the plus side, undrafted free agent receiver Jake Bobo has had an excellent camp and has made such an impression with coaches and teammates that there’ll be confidence he can fill the void left by Smith-Njigba to start the season. Bobo had seven catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns in three preseason games, showing that he can still make an impact at the pro level despite having a slow 40 time. - Rob Staton, Seahawks Draft Blog (@robstaton)
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