By Anthony Licciardi
The Seattle Seahawks have never played a normal football game. It’s a trend that’s sure to continue into the post-Russell Wilson era thanks to a unique marriage between the front office, the coaching staff, and destiny itself. This franchise embodies chaos like no other.
Surely, the team knows who their starting quarterback will be, right? Of course not.
Who is QB1 in Seattle?
Smith was the initial front runner for the job, given his knowledge of the playbook and higher floor than Lock. The Seahawks aren’t interested in bottoming out, and Smith gives them the best chance at being “competitive,” even if that means six wins and a bunch of close losses.
Lock, on the other hand, offers more upside, more lip-synching on the sideline, and a lot more risk. If they want to see if the pipe dream of Lock being a franchise guy is viable, so be it.
Lock gained some momentum during camp and was expected to start the team’s second preseason game before testing positive for COVID-19. Smith was fine in his absence, but didn’t exactly move the needle.
Still, there’s a chance Smith is just better than we have presumed him to be. He’s in control of the offense and with an improved offensive line and strong receivers, the offense could work, despite its limited upside.
For that reason, I’d still give the edge to Smith. He gives them a better shot at surpassing their 5.5-win total from DraftKings (+105 on the under, -125 on the over). It doesn’t feel overly likely that Smith starts all 17 games, but any sort of stability under center can keep the over viable.
Whoever is under center for Seattle will lean on the run game, but that too is not without questions.
Who will start at running back for the Seahawks?
Another important training camp battle features Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Walker III. Penny had struggled to string much together for most of his rookie contract, but ended the season on incredibly strong terms.
With rushing totals of 137, 39, 135, 170, and 190 in the season’s last five weeks, he cemented himself as the front runner for the starting running back job, now open after Chris Carson retired.
Yet, Walker was drafted in the second round of the 2022 NFL draft. He’s projected to be a complementary back, but if the NFL has taught us anything, it’s that draft capital earns you opportunities. Chances will be aplenty for Walker to shine as he did at Michigan State last year. It feels inevitable that the rookie will take on a larger role as the season rolls on.
The winner of this competition may not move the needle for the Seahawks win-loss record, but can still impact our bankroll. I’d shy away from Walker’s Offensive Rookie of the Year odds (+1600) for a safer bet like Breece Hall (+850).
The uncertainty in the backfield has made rushing props difficult to find for this backfield, but I’d lean towards the under on anything over around 850 yards for Penny.