NFC West: Final Word NFC 2012 Week 5

2014 Predictions: Seattle Seahawks

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
8:00
AM ET
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ESPN.com Seattle Seahawks reporter Terry Blount makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.

Week 1: Green Bay Packers

All the pregame hype will center around the so-called Inaccurate Reception, the controversial Hail Mary catch by Golden Tate two years ago that won the game over the Packers at Seattle on a Monday night. Tate has moved on to Detroit, but the Seahawks now have too many weapons for the Packers to stop, no Hail Mary required. Prediction: Win


Week 2: at San Diego Chargers

The Chargers better hope they play a lot better than they did in the preseason game at Seattle, a 41-14 victory for the Seahawks on Aug. 15. San Diego will play better, but not good enough to beat a much better team. Prediction: Win


Week 3: Denver Broncos

The Broncos and their fans got a tiny bit of meaningless Super Bowl revenge in the preseason opener with a 21-16 victory over the Seahawks in Denver. Enjoy it while it lasts, boys. Repeating that outcome in Seattle is not an option. Prediction: Win


Week 5: at Washington Redskins

Traveling coast to coast to play on the road for a Monday night game is a tough task against any NFL opponent, and even tougher against quarterback Robert Griffin III. But the Seahawks catch a break in this one by coming off a bye week with plenty of time to prepare and be fresh for the journey. Prediction: Win


Week 6: Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gave Seattle a little bulletin-board material last month when he said the Seahawks were to blame for the increase in penalty flags during the preseason. There won't be near enough flags against Seattle for the Cowboys to win this one. Prediction: Win


Week 7: at St. Louis Rams

Any division game in the NFC West is a rugged battle. The Rams have a defensive line that gave the Seahawks problems a year ago. But they aren't strong enough overall to beat Seattle, even at home in their out-of-date dome. Prediction: Win


Week 8: at Carolina Panthers

The Seahawks were fortunate to win the season opener at Charlotte a year ago. That Panthers team was better than this one, but back-to-back road games against very physical defensive teams will end the Seattle winning streak. Prediction: Loss


Week 9: Oakland Raiders

Coming off their first loss of the season and returning home against an outmanned opponent, is there any doubt? Prediction: Win


Week 10: New York Giants

The Seahawks easily defeated the Giants 23-0 last year in New Jersey, a dress rehearsal for their Super Bowl victory at the same location -- MetLife Stadium. The Seahawks won't need a rehearsal to roll past the Giants in this one. Prediction: Win


Week 11: at Kansas City Chiefs

This likely will be a low-scoring game between two strong defensive teams. Odds are against any team that has to try to win by matching its defense against the Seahawks' D. Prediction: Win


Week 12: Arizona Cardinals

The last time the Cardinals played at CenturyLink Field was last December when they handed the Seahawks a 17-10 loss. That won't happen again unless the Seahawks get caught looking ahead to the 49ers game. The Seahawks don't look ahead. Prediction: Win


Week 13: at San Francisco 49ers

It's a Thanksgiving night, national TV game in the 49ers' shiny new stadium against the hated Seahawks. If San Francisco can't win this one, its time as a championship contender is over. Prediction: Loss


Week 14: at Philadelphia Eagles

This is the toughest part of the season for the Seahawks with back-to-back road games against likely playoff contenders. But the 10 days between games will help and be enough of a cushion to keep Seattle from losing two in a row. Prediction: Win


Week 15: San Francisco 49ers

This is a game that could decide which team wins the NFC West. No way the Seahawks lose to the 49ers twice in three weeks, especially not in front of a rabid full house of 12s. Prediction: Win


Week 16: at Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals probably will be fighting for a playoff spot, and the Seahawks already will be in at 12-2. That difference will be just enough for Arizona to win at home in the same stadium where the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl a few weeks later. Prediction: Loss


Week 17: St. Louis Rams

For the second consecutive year, the Rams close the regular season in Seattle. And for the second consecutive year, the Seahawks will beat them without much trouble. Prediction: Win


Predicted Record: 13-3

Final Word: NFC West

October, 5, 2012
10/05/12
1:30
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 5:

Seahawks' rare opportunity: A Seattle Seahawks victory at Carolina would give all four NFC West teams a winning record through Week 5 for the first time since the NFL realigned into eight four-team divisions in 2002. The Arizona Cardinals (4-1) and St. Louis Rams (3-2) have already played. The San Francisco 49ers (3-1) will be above .500 no matter what happens against Buffalo on Sunday. NFC West teams had 10 combined victories through Week 8 last season. They already have 12 this season even before the Seahawks (2-2) and 49ers play their Week 5 games.

[+] EnlargeAlex Smith
Benny Sieu/US PresswireSan Francisco's Alex Smith has proved this season that he can be a capable QB on the road.
Defending Alex Smith: The 49ers' quarterback was generally exceptional at home last season. His Total QBR score at Candlestick Park (76.1 out of 100) was 42.3 points higher than it was on the road (29.3). That was the largest point differential in the NFL. The 49ers play at home Sunday for only the second time in five games this season. Despite the heavy road schedule, Smith enters this game against Buffalo with an overall QBR score 30.1 points higher than it was last season. Only three teams have realized larger gains from last season and only one, Cincinnati, has done so with the same quarterback behind center. Smith is at 66.8 on the road, 79.4 at home and 69.8 overall, which ranks eighth in the NFL. No wonder absolutely no one is asking when Colin Kaepernick might take over.

What a rush: Quarterbacks dominate headlines. Rushing attacks could dominate remaining NFC West games for Week 5. The 49ers rank second (5.4) and the Bills fourth (5.1) in yards per rushing attempt this season. The 49ers are second on first down at 5.1 per carry (the Bills lag at 3.9). The Bills are first (7.0) and the 49ers second (6.2) on second-down rushes. Meanwhile, Seattle's Marshawn Lynch leads the NFL in rushing yards, not only this season but since Week 9 last season. Carolina's Cam Newton ranks second to Robert Griffin III in rushing yards by a quarterback with 167 (5.1 per carry). The Panthers rank fourth in team rushing yardage since the start of last season. Seattle and San Francisco emerged from Week 4 ranked among the NFL's top five in fewest yards per carry allowed.

Going small on defense: The Bills run their offense primarily from personnel groupings featuring three or more wide receivers. They lead the NFL with 591 rushing yards against defenses featuring additional defensive backs. They rank fourth in yards per carry on these attempts (6.3). The 49ers are allowing only 3.4 yards per carry on 45 attempts with their nickel and dime defenses. The rest of the league allows 4.9 yards per carry on these rushes.

Russell Wilson's history: The Seahawks' rookie quarterback had three passes intercepted during a 19-13 defeat at St. Louis last week. It was the first three-pick game of his NFL career and only the third time he's thrown more than two in 50 college games and four in the NFL. Wilson had only seven games with more than one interception during his college career. The multipick games came in bunches. There were three in a five-game span in 2009 and three in a row during the 2010 season. Wilson transferred from North Carolina State to Wisconsin for the 2011 season. He threw only four picks all season, two against Michigan State.

Note: ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this item.

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