2017-18 NFL Season Thread

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Which team do you think will win Super Bowl LII?

Poll ended at Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:11 pm

New England Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles
Total votes: 3
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Your observations about the Seahawks are right on the mark, Robbie. Things could get even worse if either Thomas (in particular) or Chancellor don't return. They've also lost Sheldon Richardson, who was a beast inside on the D-line last reason. So the defense is, at the moment, completely depleted, and so far, the guys they've picked up have been mediocre. Unless things change, It's hard to see the Seahawks being competitive next season. Their defense was their strength, and now it appears to be average at best. This could change, of course, in the next months.

On offense, they've lost Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson and currently look weak at RB. Mike Davis will be back, and evidently Chris Carson is completely healed from his leg injury. The O-line will have Duane Brown back at LT, so that's a positive, but the rest of the O-line (except for Justin Britt at C) looks mediocre. If they can't establish a running game (which is Pete Carroll's top priority), then it will all fall on Russell Wilson and a depleted receiving corps (at the moment), and that just isn't a reliable strategy to win consistently in the NFL. So the Seahawks need to upgrade the offense. Finding a true feature running back will be a high priority, and we might see them pick one in the draft. As always (it seems), the O-line will need help. Second-year man and 2017 2nd-round draft pick Ethan Pocic is projected to be a possible starter at LG, where he played a little last season. The right side of the line looks weak, though, at this point.

There's still a lot of time, of course, for things to happen before the 2018 season begins, and Pete Carroll and John Schneider are among the very best at their jobs in the NFL. There's also the almost complete turnover in the coaching ranks to consider, with changes at the coordinator positions: O--Brian Schottenheimer (replacing Darrell Bevell), and D--Ken Norton Jr. back and replacing Kris Richard. One change that looks like an upgrade is new O-line coach Mike Solari replacing the frequently-praised, but generally-unsuccessful Tom Cable. Solari will replace Cable's largely-ineffective zone-blocking schemes with more traditional man-up drive-blocking schemes. If Thomas and Chancellor return to the 'Hawks, and they can find a good shut-down corner to play opposite Shaquill Griffin, the secondary could be fine, and they continue to be strong at LB, with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. If they can pick up a couple of competent pass rushers, their defense could still be strong. One big question mark for the Seahawks will be the health status of former top 2017 draft pick (picked 3rd in Rnd. 2) Malik McDowell. There has been no news about his recovery from his pre-2017-season accident. If he were to be back to 100%, this would be very good news for the 'Hawks, as he had been projected to be a D-line starter before he was injured.

Unfortunately, all things considered, I fear that the Seahawks are on the decline (possibly a pretty steep decline). With what's happening now with the Rams and 49ers, it seems at this point that the 'Hawks will be lucky to end up third in the NFC-W unless Carroll and Schneider have some yet-unseen magic up their sleeves. They are close to cap hell, with much less cap space than most other teams, and trading and drafting back to strength will be a very tall order.

The NFC-W team that has done the best so far in the off-season is the LA Rams (who had ended the 2017 season already looking very strong). They've just added Ndamukong Suh to an already scary-good defense, so their D-line, with Suh lined up alongside Aaron Donald (who many regard as the best D-lineman in the NFL), will just terrorize O-lines around the league. They've also added two top-end corners in Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. They have a good young QB and elite RB, along with solid receivers and a good O-line. Word is that they may be in the running for Odell Beckham Jr., although I think that remains a long-shot at this point.

The 49ers ended the 2017 season on a high note and now appear to have their franchise QB, Jimmy Garoppolo, signed to a long-term contract. They've also made some good acquisitions in the off-season, with the signing of Richard Sherman perhaps being the most obvious.

In the NFC-W, only the Arizona Cardinals seem to be in the same state of disrepair as the Seahawks. As a result many football writers are seeing the NFC-W as essentially a contest between the Rams and 49ers. Of those two, the Rams look stronger, and may turn out to be one of two or three truly elite NFC teams in 2018--along with the Eagles and Vikings, although the Packers and Falcons could end up on that list as well.

The 2018 power structure in the NFC--at this (very early) point--looks like (a) West: Rams, 49ers; (b) North: Vikings, Packers; (c) East: Eagles, Cowboys(?); (d) South: Falcons, Panthers.

More on the AFC at some later time.

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While most Eagles players wouldn't have planned on going to the White House anyways, Trump has cancelled the Philadelphia Eagles visit to the White House as well.

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