RUSSELL WILSON is difficult to analyze. He doesn't always play on time in the pocket, which leads to missed opportunities and plays that break down. But when those breakdowns occur, Wilson can produce results that most quarterbacks couldn't. He's a great touch thrower, particularly on the move, including when he's going left. That said, it's hard to be a consistent team with a sandlot-style QB, and indeed the Seahawks have always been a week-to-week offense. To gain more consistency in the last couple seasons they've emphasized spread formations that demand Wilson get the ball out almost immediately. Wilson, to his immense credit, has responded well. He'll never be a classic drop-back passer, but he's become a much-improved quick-pocket passer.
• Seattle's offensive line is as putrid as everyone says it is. Last season the front five struggled mightily against athletic D-lines—a real problem for a team that shares a division with the Rams and the Cardinals. Expect musical chairs up front again this season. The only sure thing is on-the-rise center JUSTIN BRITT.
• This defense has changed in the last two seasons under coordinator KRIS RICHARD. It is no longer just a straight Cover 3 zone unit. Richard is a big believer in man-to-man. He'll have RICHARD SHERMAN travel with top receivers, and he plays free safety EARL THOMAS all over, not just in centerfield. It's a fundamentally different D from the ones under Dan Quinn and Gus Bradley.
• There isn't a better safety duo than Thomas and KAM CHANCELLOR. They played only seven games together last season because of injury, and in those games the Seahawks allowed an average of 14.3 points and 202.3 passing yards. In the other games Seattle gave up 21.3 points and 244.0 passing yards. The Cover 3, which remains this defense's foundation even if it's used less frequently, works because of those two.
• Defensive lineman FRANK CLARK will be a superstar by season's end. The third-year player's initial quickness, change-of-direction agility and closing burst are just too dynamic to ignore.
"WILSON IS A GREAT TOUCH THROWER. THAT SAID, IT'S HARD TO BE CONSISTENT WITH A SANDLOT-STYLE QB."
SI'S 2017 PREDICTION
2016 RECORD 10-5-1
ANDY BENOIT'S 400 MMQB ON.SI.COM/400
12 EARL THOMAS FS
17 MICHAEL BENNETT DE
19 BOBBY WAGNER LB
31 K.J. WRIGHT LB
43 KAM CHANCELLOR SS
46 CLIFF AVRIL DE
72 JIMMY GRAHAM TE
130 RICHARD SHERMAN CB
139 RUSSELL WILSON QB
151 FRANK CLARK DE
170 DOUG BALDWIN WR
364 JUSTIN BRITT C