NFL

Why The Seahawks Won’t Win The Super Bowl

on

Prior to being eliminated by the Carolina Panthers in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks represented the NFC in the Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons. Winning one and coming a couple yards short of repeating against the New England Patriots.

After trailing 31-0 at halftime, Seattle stormed back, only losing by a score of 31-24, but as the old saying goes, close, but no cigar.

As the Seahawks look to get back to the Super Bowl, they’ll have to overcome a major factor teams rely on come playoff time and that’s offensive line play.

Offensive line play was Seattle’s weakest link a season ago and it may be even worse this upcoming season.

Why?

Well, Seattle lost their best offensive lineman from 2015, offensive tackle Russell Okung. Sure, the former Pro Bowler is on the downside of his career, but it’s not like Seattle has someone waiting in the wings ready to replace his production.

With Okung in the fold, Seattle gave up 46 sacks last season, which placed them tied for sixth with the Kansas City Chiefs for the most sacks allowed.

Not only did Okung leave, Alvin Bailey and J.R. Sweezy departed as well.

Now, Seattle did sign two offensive linemen in free agency, while drafting an additional three prospects upfront, but it’s yet to be seen if they’ve actually made improvement.

Despite their struggles upfront, the Seahawks still managed to put up points with the best of them, averaging 26.4 points per game, which ranked them fourth in the league.

For as great as Russell Wilson was, the run game opened up things for them through the air.

As an unit, Seattle finished third in total rushing, while averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

Thomas Rawls deserves most of the credit, as he led the team in rushing attempts (147), rushing yards (830), yards per carry (5.6) and rushing touchdowns (4).

According to Pro Football Focus, Rawls had the 10th-highest elusive rating of all running backs with at least 85 carries in 2015, forcing 26 missed tackles as a runner and averaging 3.12 yards after contact per carry.

However, with Marshawn Lynch retiring, it’s difficult to see Seattle’s ground game getting better. In fact, it may be worse.

Although Lynch only carried the ball 111 times last season, the five-time Pro Bowler still managed to reach the end zone three times via the ground, which was good enough for second on the team.

Also, you can’t replace the veteran leadership Lynch provided on a daily basis.

When looking at the skill positions, Seattle measures up fairly well, even though tight end Jimmy Graham is a pretty big question mark.

Nonetheless, this team isn’t even the best team in their own division.

Not to mention, teams like Carolina and Green Bay look to be the early favorites in the NFC.

The Panthers offense should only get better with top receiver Kelvin Benjamin back and the same goes for Green Bay with Jordy Nelson., who also missed the entire 2015 campaign.

As expected, Seattle’s defense should be top tier yet again, but at the same time, their offensive line will be their kryptonite.

The ‘Hawks vaunted defense is another year older, and perhaps their best player, defensive lineman Michael Bennett is again upset with his contract situation.  Will the contract squabbles catch up with them, or will age?

We know that Seattle will be a good team, but they have a lot of questions and a lot to prove before anyone again pencils them in for a trip to Houston for Super Bowl LI.


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.