NFC West: The Big Question NFC 31610

2014 Predictions: Seattle Seahawks

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
video 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 But they aren't strong enough overall to beat Seattle, even at home in their out-of-date dome.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

NFC Big Question: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Do the Cardinals still have the best one, two receiving punch in the NFC West after trading Anquan Boldin?

Of course they do. For now. I think.

[+] EnlargeLarry Fitzgerald
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesFitzgerald had 13 touchdown receptions and averaged 12.4 yards per catch last season.
Larry Fitzgerald and just about any good No. 2 receiver will rank among the best in the league. And there's no denying Steve Breaston's status as a solid No. 2. He has 132 catches over the past two seasons while playing about 70 percent of the offensive snaps. Breaston should only play more with Boldin catching passes for Baltimore, even if the Cardinals lean harder on the running game.

Fitzgerald and Breaston should reign supreme among NFC West receiving tandems, but the 49ers' Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree could make them work for the honor. They have a chance to overtake them, particularly if Kurt Warner's retirement costs the Cardinals a few octane rating points.

Davis matched Fitzgerald in touchdown receptions with 13 last season. His yards-per-catch average was superior (12.4 to 11.3) because he finished the season with more long receptions. Davis was more of a big-play threat.

Even if we give Fitzgerald the edge over Davis, which is reasonable, it's fair to think Crabtree could make significant gains. Crabtree already averaged more receptions and yards per game than Breaston last season despite missing minicamps, training camp and the first five games. The in-season assimilation he made was remarkable for a rookie. Eleven games and a full offseason should benefit Crabtree substantially in 2010.

"I would give it to Arizona just because of Larry," Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. said. "Maybe I am a little biased on this one and Arizona does get nothing from the tight end, but Fitz is just such a special player. He tips the scales. My view might change by midseason, though."

It's something to think about.