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Five NFL playoff teams most likely to collapse in 2017

NFL OTAs Richard Sherman Seattle Seahawks Pete Carroll Russell Wilson Seahawks

Every single year, the NFL features an interesting array of teams that end up unintentionally tanking just one year removed from making the playoffs.

Last year the Carolina Panthers went from a Super Bowl appearance to the NFC South’s basement. The Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals both took serious nose dives as well.

It’s an annual event, and we’re always surprised by at least one terrible team nobody saw coming.

So who’s it going to be in 2017?

Seattle Seahawks

The Legion of Boom is one year older. Earl Thomas is doing everything he can to get back onto the field (watch here), but who knows if he’ll be the same player he was before breaking his leg so horribly that he contemplated retirement? Heck, there are even substantiated rumors that Richard Sherman could be traded if a team offers some serious compensation.

Remember, this is a defense that was absolutely abused in the playoffs without Thomas on the back end. And the defense has long been the team’s strength. Additionally, aside from their top three guys — Sherman, Thomas and Kam Chancellor — the secondary isn’t all that great.

Offensively, the Seahawks still don’t have an offensive line capable of protecting Russell Wilson, who’s endured 128 sacks the past three regular seasons and another 23 in the playoffs.

And they’re so desperate for a running game that they brought in Eddie Lacy to become their Marshawn Lynch replacement. Good luck with that.

Look, Pete Carroll is an amazing coach who always gets the most out of his players. He has built a tremendous culture up there in the Pacific Northwest, and if any team is capable of overcoming its deficits because of pure gumption and mind-over-matter determination, it’s this one.

But there are some serious holes on Seattle’s roster. At some point the LOB is going to deteriorate into an average group of defenders. At some point Wilson won’t be able to tough out another injury. This year, the Seahawks are in danger of missing the playoffs altogether, even playing in the relatively easy NFC West.