The playoff push is a long way off, but the NFL’s playoff odds could be the best thing since sliced bread.
With two teams locked in to finish at the top of the conference, it’s worth taking a closer look at who might be the favorite to win the NFC West.
Positives: The NFC West is loaded with quality talent.
NFC West teams are in great shape heading into the season, and the league’s most prolific offense is back, as is a dominant defense that could be in for a rough start.
All of that could make for a compelling year.
The Seahawks could be a wild card in the division race.
The NFC West isn’t just a powerhouse of talent; it’s also loaded with top-tier talent.
That includes one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and a superstar wide receiver in Russell Wilson.
The Seahawks were a mess last year.
They finished with the sixth-worst record in the NFL, but were just a game behind the Chiefs in the NFC’s wild card chase.
Russell Wilson was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league code of conduct, but Seattle was able to win out despite the suspension.
They went on to make the playoffs.
The team is loaded offensively.
The pass rush is elite.
The run game is elite, too.
The secondary could be among the best in football, too, and it could be one of those teams that could sneak into the playoffs despite the suspensions.
The offense will be a work in progress.
Marshawn Lynch and Christine Michael are both gone for the season with injury, and Percy Harvin could be on the shelf for the whole season with an Achilles injury.
It’s going to be tough to run a balanced offense that relies on the run.
The defense is good enough to make it into the postseason, but it’s still early in the season.
Seattle’s defense could be as good as any in the AFC, but they’re still far from elite.
The playoff push could be fun, tooIf there’s one team in the conference that can hang with the division’s elite, it might be Seattle.
The Seattle Seahawks have been a juggernaut for years, and they have the potential to be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs, with a team that is loaded in the passing game and an elite defense.
The Seattle Seahawks are loaded in every area.
Russell, Lynch, and Michael are the NFLs best wide receivers, with Harvin and Brandon Browner each leading the NFL in targets.
The secondary, led by Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman, is also loaded, with two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman leading the league in interceptions.
And the running game is a legitimate threat.
The pass rush, led in part by the addition of Michael and Harvin, has been one of Seattle’s most effective units since the start of the 2015 season.
The line is loaded, and their interior pass rush could be even better.
The running game should be better.
This is a team with a lot of talent.
Seattle has a solid running back in Christine Michael and a solid receiving corps led by Percy Harvins back.
The front seven is led by the Pro Bowl linebacker Bobby Wagner, who was a third-round pick last year, and has a veteran presence at linebacker that could lead to a run defense that’s capable of shutting down the pass.
The receivers could be elite, but a bit of regression could be expected.
Russell will have his best season yet after having his best campaign as a pro last year in 2015.
Harvin will also be a factor.
Both of these guys should be a dominant force in Seattle’s offense.
The best case scenario for the Seahawks is to be among one of three teams in the playoff race.
The other two teams in this scenario would be the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos.
The Broncos, led primarily by Peyton Manning, could be an easy path to the playoffs thanks to the emergence of their star quarterback.
Manning and the Denver Broncos should have a very strong run defense, but that could change depending on whether the Broncos can keep the pass rush from the other two quarterbacks.
The Packers should be the biggest threat to the Seahawks this season.
Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback in the game, and he should be unstoppable against the Seahawks.
Rodgers should have his finest season of his career this year, thanks to an elite offense that should be able to keep him in the top four of MVP voting.
The Patriots have a strong run game and a dominant secondary.
The team has one of that side’s best quarterbacks, and its defense could make the Seahawks look foolish by default.
New England could be able at times to beat Seattle in the trenches, especially if they can take advantage of the Seahawks’ lack of elite defensive players.
New England could take advantage by throwing the ball a lot more often.
The Patriots could also take advantage with a strong secondary that will make it difficult for Seattle to get into its own territory.
The last two teams on the