NFL expert John Clayton has projected that the Seattle Seahawks will go 9-7 in the 2012 NFL season. This would serve as an improvement for the franchise, especially because the team hasn't finished above .500 since going 10-6 in the 2007 regular season.
Part of me gets excited that someone at ESPN feels that the Seahawks are going to become a better football team in the coming season, but another part of me still hopes that they are underestimating the team. I think that in order to make the 2013 NFL Playoffs the Seahawks will have to post at least a 10-6 record and that anything less than that could leave the team hoping for better things next year.
Those projections from Clayton put the Seahawks in second place within the NFC West, just behind the San Francisco 49ers at 10-6. That would be a huge step back for San Francisco though, as the 49ers just went 13-3 and finally made it back to the postseason. If you ask 49ers fans, that team is primed to do even better in the 2012 season, so they are probably quite miffed at a simple 10-6 projection.
I think that the Seahawks have a good enough roster to go 10-6, but it could all come down to how they open up the 2012 season. The team has a road game against the Arizona Cardinals to start things in Week 1 and then two tough home games against the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field. It would be amazing if the team could start off the season 3-0 and pick up two impact wins along the way. That would certainly give the team a great shot at getting back to the postseason.
As for how Clayton views the rest of the NFC West in 2012, he has Arizona slipping to 7-9 after going 8-8 in 2011. He also has the St. Louis Rams continuing to struggle and posting a 4-12 record on the year. In other words, it's another football expert that is looking down on the teams in the West, projecting that there will be no real surprises when it comes to the records in the division. Hopefully this is the year that the NFC West becomes a division to be reckoned with again, beginning with an improved presence by Pete Carroll and his team.
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*Ryan Christopher DeVault is a lifelong fan of the Seattle Seahawks that continues to hold out hope that the team is heading in the right direction with Pete Carroll and that the team will play in the 2013 Super Bowl.