It’s never too early to start working on NFL content as we lead up to the beginning of the season, and I’m ramping up the Futures Friday pieces as we build up to opening day. In this article, I’ll break down why I believe the Seattle Seahawks offer value in the NFC West and could be a sleeper Super Bowl candidate. Let’s get to work.
2023 NFC West Best Bets: Value on the Seahawks at +275
Heading into the 2023-24 NFL season, the NFC West presents a ton of intrigue. While the 49ers remain the favorite, don’t sleep on the Seahawks as a candidate to win the division. Read on for more information on how to bet the NFC West heading into the 2023-24 season, along with some insight into why there is value on the Seattle Seahawks to win the division at +275 odds.
2022 Seattle Seahawks Season Recap
The Seahawks were completely written off after they traded away Russell Wilson last offseason. Had they gone under their projected win total of 5.5 games, they would have had their worst season finish since 2009. Instead, they went 9-8, made the playoffs, and lost to the 49ers in the Wild Card round.
Seattle’s offense didn’t miss a beat as they transitioned from Wilson to Geno Smith under center – they finished ninth with 23.9 points per game and specifically eighth in passing DVOA. Smith was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time as he set a career high with 4,282 passing yards and 30 touchdowns.
2023 Seattle Seahawks Offseason Moves
The Seahawks’ offense didn’t need an overhaul by any means, but they added some solid talent. Jaxon Smith-Njigba immediately steps in and gives Seattle one of the best wide receiver trios in football along with D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Smith will have plenty of pass-catching talent behind an ascending offensive line featuring two second-year offensive tackles, Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas.
Geno Smith on #Seahawks rookie WR Jaxon Smith-Njiba:
“He’s so impressive. Very smooth route runner. Natural hands. Also, the game is not too big for him. You can see he’s got that self-confidence that you look for.” https://t.co/AeXFZpUfLg pic.twitter.com/QzUZ0SvfKM
— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) May 23, 2023
Seattle also spent a second-round pick on running back Zach Charbonnet out of UCLA. That will be much to the chagrin of dynasty managers of Kenneth Walker, but Charbonnet offers a ton of stability to a running back room that needed depth. Walker’s boom-or-bust nature is an awesome complement to Charbonnet’s consistency and power.
The defense needed a larger remake this offseason, and Seattle accomplished that. Starting in the secondary, fifth overall pick Devon Witherspoon should step in and immediately form a formidable cornerback tandem with second-year pro Tariq Woolen, a Pro Bowler in 2022.
Along with second-year pro Boye Mafe, the Seahawks added Derick Hall and Mike Morris in the draft this year. They also signed Dre’Mont Jones, who had 6.5 sacks in 2022 and offers legitimate pass rush from the interior of the defensive line. Finally, the Seahawks brought back Bobby Wagner, a future Hall of Famer who was PFF’s highest-graded linebacker in 2022.
Why the 49ers are Overvalued Heading into 2023
The 49ers are available at around -150 odds to win the NFC West, which makes sense when you consider that the Rams and Cardinals have minimal chance to win the division – both teams have a ton of personnel issues that will impede their ability to win the 10+ games that will be necessary to sit atop the division.
However, that price is still highly generous to this team. Kyle Shanahan remains one of the best head coaches in the NFL, but the San Francisco roster has some significant holes. The offensive line returns four of five starters, but lost right tackle Mike McGlinchey in free agency. Daniel Brunskill, who played over 500 snaps last year, mostly at guard, also departed.
On defense, the 49ers lost DeMeco Ryans, their up-and-coming coordinator who led the best defense in the NFL by DVOA. Ryans’ superb ability to scheme pressure masked a secondary that ranked 24th in DVOA against the deep ball. While Javon Hargrave strengthens what was already one of the best front sevens in football, the secondary lost Swiss Army knife Jimmie Ward.
The biggest issue for the 49ers is we have no idea who their starting quarterback is. Brock Purdy is reportedly progressing well from his elbow injury, but his Week 1 status is very much in question. Trey Lance is behind the eight ball as a result of a minimal amount of football played in his first two seasons while veteran Sam Darnold leaves a lot to be desired.
"Only God knows."
-Kyle Shanahan on Brock Purdy's timeline pic.twitter.com/uHPwJTJfJV
— John Chapman (@JL_Chapman) May 23, 2023
Perhaps none of that matters for the Niners. Maybe their offensive line remains steady, their elite defensive line continues to mask a deficient secondary despite the loss of Ryans, and they figure out the answer at the quarterback position. However, those red flags all create downside and potential value with the Seahawks in the division.
Summary – the Case for the Seahawks
The Seahawks’ front office has had a masterful couple of drafts, especially with the draft capital they added from their trade of Russell Wilson. When you see a team stacking strong offseasons and specifically drafts, you should get excited, particularly when that team has a Super Bowl-winning head coach in Pete Carroll.
You can argue Geno Smith might be due for some regression after his 31 turnover-worthy plays (TWPs) translated to just 12 interceptions, but those TWPs skyrocketed over the last five weeks of the season. That stretch coincided with the team’s rookie tackles hitting a bit of a wall and the receiving corps suffering from injuries.
Those TWPs were also concentrated in the 10-20 yard range. JSN will dominate in that area of the field as a short-area route-running savant who will be a machine over the middle. Smith was sixth in adjusted completion percentage and first in completion percentage over expectation – that accuracy should carry over.
Geno Smith continues to play lights out this season. What a throw.
His stats today: 15/24, 259 yards, 3 TDs, 138.7 passer rating
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) October 9, 2022
If the Seahawks can marry a top ten offense with a jump from a defense with a ton of young talent, this team could become a Super Bowl contender in a weak NFC. At the very least, they should give the 49ers a real run for their money in the NFC West, and I believe there’s plenty of value in betting them to win the division.
I bet them at +275 back on May 5, and while that number has moved to as short as +200 on DraftKings as of June 1. I’d still be fine betting Seattle at that number as I believe there’s a chance they could become the odds-on favorite early in the season depending on how things go for the 49ers.
Running NFL Futures Log
I’ll update this every week with futures picks hyper-linked to my past articles for your convenience. If there isn’t a link, it’s because I haven’t written an article for it yet. Here’s the running list:
|Bijan Robinson to win Offensive Rookie of the Year||+450||DraftKings||1||4/27/2023|
|Philadelphia Eagles over 10.5 wins||-150||DraftKings||1||5/3/2023|
|Atlanta Falcons to win the NFC South||+300||FanDuel||1||5/5/2023|
|Chicago Bears to win the NFC North||+350||Caesars||1||5/5/2023|
|Miami Dolphins to win the AFC East||+350||Caesars||1||5/5/2023|
|Seattle Seahawks to win the NFC West||+275||DraftKings||1||5/5/2023|
|Calvin Ridley to lead the NFL in receiving yards||+4500||DraftKings||0.25||5/26/2023|
|Arizona Cardinals under 5 wins||-110||Caesars||1.1||5/26/2023|
|Tennessee Titans to Win the AFC South||+400||DraftKings||1||6/7/2023|
|New York Jets under 9.5 wins||+120||Caesars||1||6/15/2023|