2014 Record: 12-4, Super Bowl runners-up, NFC West Champions, 5-0 in last five
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1st: 5th in DVOA* overall offense (10th pass, 1st rush) | 1st in DVOA* overall defense (3rd pass, 2nd run)
2nd: Effective at stopping all receiver types: fourth against WR1s (6.2 pass attempts per game, 41.2 receiving yards per game) and slot/bench receivers (5 pass attempts, 33.1 yards) and sixth against WR2s (5.9 pass attempts, 45.3 yards), according to Football Outsiders’ defense vs. receiver types chart.
3rd: Key loss: CB Byron Maxwell | Key addition: TE Jimmy Graham
4th: The Seahawks already had the 10th-most effective passing offense in the NFL last season. The addition of All-Universe TE Jimmy Graham will only make them — and super-rich QB Russell Wilson — better in that regard. To get Graham, Seattle dealt C Max Unger and a first-round pick to the Saints. Unger was a stabilizing force for the O-line, but has missed 13 games in the last two years, including 10 last season. His departure shouldn’t hurt Marshawn Lynch’s production. Lynch is at an age where RBs typically show a significant decline in production, but as the workhorse running back in the most-effective running attack in the NFL he’ll still be worth the price you pay on draft/auction day. CB Byron Maxwell was sixth on the team in tackles last season and is a homegrown member of the Legion of Boom. He signed with Philadelphia, but Boom added Eagles’ CB Cary Williams in the offseason. Williams was part of a squad that allowed the most passing yards in 2013 and second-most in 2014. He also got into fights with Patriots WR Aaron Dobson in the preseason and teammate WR Riley Cooper in practice last year. Still, Williams impressed for the Ravens during their Super Bowl championship season and he’s 6-2, 198 pounds, so he fits the Legion of Boom mold. Even though the Seahawks have the second-toughest schedule of 2015, according to DVOA, I expect more of the same from Seattle this season.
*Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, a Football Outsiders’ advanced NFL metric, measures a team’s performance on a per-play basis. The metric attempts to limit variance and provides a more realistic measurement of how good a team is regardless of matchup or situation, making it a strong indicator of future success. Read more about DVOA.