Hardly. Not when it comes to the Seahawks’ 2011 schedule the Scouts Inc.’s ranking of the Top 20 running backs in the NFL.
The Seahawks will face – or have faced, in the case of the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson – 12 of the backs in that Top 20 group.
It’s a long-running list that started with the top-ranked Peterson on Saturday night, continues with the Raiders’ Darren McFadden (No. 7) in the Sept. 2 preseason finale, and won’t conclude until Dec. 24 when they host No. 10 Frank Gore and the 49ers.
In between, here are the other Top 20 backs who are on a collision course with the Seahawks defense:
Gore, also in the Sept. 11 regular-season opener in San Francisco.
No. 8 Rashard Mendenhall in the Week 2 game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
No. 16 Michael Turner in the Week 4 game against the Falcons at CenturyLink Field.
No. 14 Ahmad Bradshaw the following week against the Giants in the Meadowlands.
No. 15 Payton Hillis is the Week 7 game against the Browns in Cleveland.
No. 17 Felix Jones in the Week 9 game against the Cowboys in Arlington.
No. 5 Ray Rice the following week against the Ravens at CenturyLink Field.
No. 12 Steven Jackson in the Week 11 game against the Rams in St. Louis, and again in the Week 14 game against the Rams at CenturyLink Field.
No. 9 LeSean McCoy in the Week 13 game against the Eagles at CenturyLink Field.
No. 13 Matt Forte in the Week 15 game against the Bears in Chicago.
Whew. Are the Seahawks up to the task? They were last year, until Red Bryant (for the season) and Colin Cole (for five games) went down in the Week 8 game against the Raiders in Oakland that Brandon Mebane also missed. The Seahawks entered that game ranked No. 2 in rushing defense. But McFadden ran for 111 of the Raiders’ 239 rushing yards. By the end of the season, the Seahawks had slipped to No. 21 in rushing defense.
Bryant is back at the five-technique end spot, and looking like he’s ready to pick up where he left off. Mebane has move to nose tackle and been replaced at the three-technique tackle by 6-6, 325-pound Alan Branch. Leroy Hill has returned at the weakside linebacker spot, with leading tackler David Hawthorne moving back into the middle. Aaron Curry has turned into a run-stuffing presence on the strongside and the secondary has gotten bigger with 6-3, 232-pound Kam Chancellor stepping in at strong safety and 6-4, 221-pound Brandon Browner playing his way into the picture at the right cornerback spot.
The Seahawks’ backs? They rank No. 24 (Leon Washington), No. 45 (Justin Forsett), No. 55 (Marshawn Lynch) and No. 88 (fullback Michael Robinson). Chris Henry is listed at No. 115, the final spot, but he left the team early in training camp.