Seattle Seahawks 13-3
Last Season’s Rankings: #1 Overall Defense (273.6 total yards per game allowed) #1 Passing Defense (172 passing yards per game allowed) #7 Rushing Offense (101.6 rushing yards per game allowed)
Last year’s Super Bowl champions with their “Legion of Boom” were able to boast the league’s number one overall and passing defense. With all-pros such as CB Richard Sherman and SS Kam Chancellor, Seattle’s pass defense allowed a starchy 172 passing yards per game last season. With 85 passes defended, 28 interceptions and 20 forced fumbles in 2013 (ranked eight, first and fifth in the NFL last season, respectively), the Seahawks’ defense looked and played like the best defense in the league.
On the passing side of the ball, the Seahawks legion of boom was one of the best secondaries in the league in 2013. For instance, the collection of Sherman, Chancellor, CB Byron Maxwell and FS Earl Thomas combined for 280 total tackles, 43 passes defended, 20 interceptions and eight tackles for loss. Everyone knows that Sherman was arguably the league’s best corner last season, shutting down receivers left and right. However, many don’t focus on the play of other defensive backs such as CB Brandon Browner and CB Walter Thurmond, who happened to play a vital role in the success of the Seattle defense. Browner and Thurmond combined for 52 total tackles and 16 passes defended in 2013. Despite their efforts in 2013 however, the Seahawks let B & T go to free agency. In the end Thurmond was picked up by the New York Giants as Browner ended up going to the New England Patriots. The only reason I would have reservations about this defense is because of the losses of Browner and Thurmond. With those two corners, the Seahawks were given the option of going into different coverages and defensive schemes. They didn’t draft any corners (although they did draft FS Eric Pinkins), and thus are going to have to make due with Sherman and Maxwell. I’m sure Sherman and Maxwell will continue to be stars, however I’m not so sure that Jeremy Lane nor Tharold Simon are that solid of corners to be starters. Only time will tell what happens with this passing defense. For the time being, I believe that Sherman, Chancellor and company can most certainly hold their own in the passing game, but don’t be surprised if another team such as the New Orleans Saints takes over the top spot in the NFL.
As for the rushing side of the Seattle defense, the Seahawks, although very underrated last season, had one of the league’s better rush defenses. With defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett and linebacker Bobby Wagner, the Seahawks ranked seventh in the league last season with 101.6 rushing yards allowed per game. As well, with their solid line backing corps, Seattle ranked eighth in sacks (44 sacks), eighth in yards for loss (298), and fifth in forced fumbles (20). Last season’s line backers Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, and K.J. Wright will be returning next season along with rookie Kevin Pierre-Louis out of Boston College. I expect similar production from the Seahawks’ front seven next season due to the return of key defensive players and rookie additions such as UCLA’s DE Cassius Marsh and Middle Tennessee State’s DT Jimmy Staten who will add depth on the defensive line. In their 2013 seasons, Pierre-Louis added 108 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks, Marsh was able to record 55 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and five sacks, and Staten registered a mere 30 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack. The key next season is for Wagner and Wright to continue their dominance, perhaps adding a little bit more sacks from the second level in order to really help out the Seahawks’ pass rush.
Reason I have the Seahawks as the number one defense is primarily for their secondary with Madden coverman CB Richard Sherman and all of the pieces that made the defense so unstoppable last season. We all know that the passing defense is going to be to perform very well, if the Seahawks’ front seven can get pressure on the quarterback, the sky is the limit for this Seahawks’ defense next season