The Seattle Seahawks finished 2018 with a 10-6 record and followed that up by raising their win total and winning a playoff game in 2019. Heading into Week 14, they were even the No. 1 seed in the NFC. The San Francisco 49ers ultimately won the division and top overall seed in the NFL. Seattle entered the playoffs as the No. 5 seed and subsequently beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round. Let's look at the contributing factors leading to Seattle's 11-5 regular season that concluded with a narrow loss to the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Offensively, when you have a franchise quarterback it covers a multitude of sins. If you're Seattle, you enjoy the luxury of having the best quarterback in a division that’s one of the most competitive in the NFL. As a result, you go into every game knowing you have a chance to win. With that said, there’s still room for improvement on the offensive side of the football.
Russell Wilson is still seeing more pressure, particularly A-gap pressure, than they would like. This was exacerbated with injuries to Mike Iupati and the loss of center Justin Britt. They also lost top running backs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny to injury, along with tight end Will Dissly, who was enjoying a breakout year. However, the bright spot was the development of wide receiver DK Metcalf, who proved to be more than just a deep ball threat. He capped off his sensational season by setting a rookie record with 160 yards receiving in the Wild Card game against the Eagles.
Defensively, this unit is seemingly light-years away from the dominant era of the Legion of Boom. They’ve tried to rebuild the defense through the draft and free agency with moderate success.
The development of cornerback Shaquill Griffin was encouraging, concluding his year with a Pro Bowl nod. Bobby Wagner continues to be consistent and has maintained his all-pro level of play. However, the most significant addition may have been Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney led Seattle’s defense in quarterback hits (13) and forced fumbles (4). He was also second in tackles for loss (7) while scoring two defensive touchdowns (on an interception and a fumble recovery). He did all that despite missing three games. Clowney remains unsigned.
Pete Carroll has enjoyed consistent success during his tenure in Seattle. As I stated earlier, when you have the best quarterback in the division and winning the division is the most effective route to host a playoff game, you always have a shot at the tournament. Having Wilson has even covered up some of their past misfires in the draft—the 2017 draft, for example, with the only starter from that class being Griffin. Furthermore, with an underwhelming 2020 draft and the potential loss of Clowney, Seattle again will be leaning heavily on Wilson. If they can shore up the protection up front for their quarterback, they’ll be able to challenge for an NFC West crown once again.