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How Far Will the Seahawks Go in the Playoffs?

Dec 23, 2020, 12:32PM PST

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We are now entering Week 16 of the regular season and this question has yet to be answered: are the Seahawks serious contenders? Or will this season be another Divisional Round exit we’ve been so accustomed to in recent years? Seattle certainly has the potential for a deep playoff push but has difficulty playing to its fullest potential. After starting the season 5-0 against some, in retrospect, fairly mediocre teams, Seattle was near the top of a very short list of true Super Bowl contenders. Russell Wilson was the MVP frontrunner and the Seahawks offense could not be stopped. Oh, how times have changed. Long have Wilson’s MVP hopes been erased and long gone is the “let Russ cook” experiment.

In the first half of the season, Seattle’s offense was near perfect, but the defense’s atrocity nearly matched the offense’s grandeur. During the first eight games, the Seahawks offense produced a league-high 34.3 PPG, while the defense allowed 30.4 PPG and on average allowed 4.1 PPG MORE than their opponent’s season-long average. For reference, 4.1 PPG is enough to move any team roughly 10 spots higher in PPG ranking, making the Raiders offense look like the Packers’.

However, the past 6 games could not possibly be a larger juxtaposition. In the past six weeks, the Seattle offense has only produced 23.2 PPG, including the 40 point win over Seattle’s new best friend: the New York Jets. Excluding this game, the Seahawks have averaged just 19.8 PPG in five matchups. For reference, 19.8 PPG is only 0.1 PPG better than the Denver Broncos’ season-long average. On the other side of the ball, the defensive resurgence is certainly encouraging given that the defense was historically bad in the first half of the season. Over the past six games, the defense has only allowed 16.0 PPG and on average allowed 4.8 PPG LESS than their opponent’s season-long average. For reference, -4.8 PPG allowed would make Green Bay’s defense look similar to that of the Rams.

There’s no doubt that the Seahawks have the talent to make a deep playoff run. However, the question of whether or not Seattle can put together four quarters of excellent offensive AND defensive play remains unanswered. We’ve seen stretches of this team’s potential: the first three-quarters of the Niners and Washington games and the now-impressive win over the Dolphins. Common theme? First. Three. Quarters. The Seahawks maddeningly let teams crawl their way back into the game. The Seahawks led by 27-17 at the half in their first game against Arizona, including allowing Arizona to kick a late 49-yard FG after receiving the ball with just 0:43 left in the half, and were outscored 20-7 thereafter. Similarly, the Seahawks led 30-7 early in the 4th Quarter against the 49ers before allowing 3 late touchdown drives. If not for a late score of their own, the Seahawks could've lost to the 49ers. Most recently, the Seahawks led 20-3 going into the 4th Quarter against Washington. If not for a failed PAT attempt on Washington's first touchdown drive, the Football Team could have conceivably sent this game into overtime with a late FG. We need to see a complete game from the Seahawks before we can definitively say they are true contenders.

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