SPOKANE, Wash. - The Seattle Seahawks are set to kickoff the 2016 season on Sunday, September 11, against the Miami Dolphins.
Much like many fans around the NFL, there is optimism abound for their favorite teams' chances in the postseason. Thinking big picture, what does Seattle have to do to make it back to the big game that they have been apart of two of the last three seasons?
KREM 2's Evan Closky and Tony Black came up with five must-happens if the Seahawks want to make it to Houston for Super Bowl 51.
5. Stay Healthy
The injury bug caught up with the Hawks last season when both Jimmy Graham and Thomas Rawls went down with season-ending injuries. Seattle will have to be careful with how they ease those two back in, and at the same time deal with the injury to their first draft pick, OL Germain Ifedi.
4. Fast Start
The Seahawks need to get off to a fast start in 2016. You can argue that if the team would not have struggled out of the gates in 2015 they might have earned that coveted bye -- maybe home field advantage. However, Seattle dug themselves in a hole at 2-4 last season, and puttered out of the gates to a 3-3 record in 2014. Look, this team is not getting any younger, whatever help they can get towards the end of the year should help them in the playoffs.
3. MVP Russ
Now with no Marshawn Lynch this year (at least for now?) Russell Wilson may have to do a bit more, and it is not out of the realm of thinking that Russ could put together an MVP type season in his fifth year under center.
They call it the MVP award, but if the Seahawks want to make it back to the big game, it is going to have to be called the "M-V-3" award. Russ will need to build off how he ended last season -- throwing 24 of his 34 touchdowns in the final six games -- and he will likely need to be in the 40 touchdown range this season. Of course, he is always a threat with his legs.
2. King of The Clink
We are not saying people are not afraid of CenturyLink Field anymore, but teams are starting to sneak away with some wins. We mentioned before about a bye in the playoffs, well that is important because the Hawks are so good at home.
Last season though, the team lost three games at home -- two to divisional opponents. That is not the worst thing in the world, but when compared to the previous three years, Seattle only suffered two losses at The Clink in a total of 24 games.
Finally, we got number one on the list, and when you think Seahawks, you think defense.
Creating turnovers is a must for the Hawks. In 2013, Seattle had a +20 turnover differential. You know what that gets you? A Super Bowl championship. Last season though, Seattle only managed a +7 -- and while still good, we have come to expect more.
For Seattle to make it back to the big game their defense is going to have to step up big and it begins with their d-line. They will need to rely on some unsung hereos -- like Frank Clark -- and d-line staples Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett.